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Communication Challenges in Complex Medical Environments

Lee, Jessica D. MD, FAAN; Hohler, Anna MD, FAAN

doi: 10.1212/01.CON.0000450975.29817.c6
Practice Issues

ABSTRACT The provision of health care is becoming increasingly complex and can involve multiple providers and care setting transitions, particularly as the population is living longer, and often with chronic disease. The Electronic Health Record (EHR) was intended to provide a comprehensive documentation of a patient’s health-related information; however, health care systems often function in isolation with EHRs that are unique only to that system. The EHR may also limit face-to-face communication between treating physicians within the same system. It is only with diligent effort that changes in medical management plans are conveyed among providers. When multiple providers are involved in a patient’s care, physician-to-patient communication may also suffer, which can impact patient satisfaction and outcome. This article describes a scenario in which several lapses in communication occurred, and it outlines other common pitfalls while providing possible solutions for improving communication across the health care spectrum.

Address correspondence to Dr Jessica D. Lee, University of Kentucky Department of Neurology, 740 S Limestone St, Lexington, KY 40508,

Relationship Disclosure: Dr Lee has received grant support from the NIH, and her travel expenses were paid by the AAN for attending meetings of the Quality and Safety Subcommittee. Dr Hohler has received personal compensation for activities with Teva Neuroscience, and travel expenses were paid by the AAN for attending meetings of BrainPAC and the Quality and Safety Subcommittee.

Unlabeled Use of Products/Investigational Use Disclosure: Drs Lee and Hohler report no disclosures.

© 2014 American Academy of Neurology
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