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Are You Listening...Are You Really Listening?

Denham, Charles R. MD*; Dingman, Jennifer MS, RN; Foley, Mary E. MS, RN; Ford, Dan MBA§; Martins, Becky; O'Regan, Patti ARNP, NP-C, BC, MS, LMHC; Salamendra, Arlene**

doi: 10.1097/PTS.0b013e318184db52
Original Articles

Objectives: This is the first of a series of articles addressing the concepts, tools, and resources that can be applied to an enormous performance gap in verbal communication among patients, families, frontline caregivers, physicians, and health care-organization administrative and governance leaders.

Methods: This first paper takes a "concept-centric" approach by laying the knowledge foundation necessary to improve communication. It references how such concepts may be applied to accelerate and improve adoption of best practices such as the National Quality Forum-Endorsed Safe Practices for Better Healthcare-2006 Update. The second article of the set takes a "safe practice-centric" approach to illustrate how listening concepts, tools, and resources may be leveraged to improve patient safety through the National Quality Forum (NQF) Safe Practices.

Results: This first article defines and supports recognition of key concepts including human factors performance, authority gradient factors, caregiver-to-caregiver barriers, health literacy factors, and the art and science of active listening.

Conclusions: Use of these concepts can have terrific impact on preventable patient harm and optimization of care.

From the *Texas Medical Institute of Technology, Austin, Texas; †Persons United Limiting Substandards and Errors in Healthcare (PULSE), Colorado Division, Pueblo, Colorado; ‡Center for Research and Nursing Innovation, The University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California; §AzHHA, APIPS, CHN, CHP, IHI, and the Joint Commission Nationally, Oro Valley, Arizona; ∥ Warren, Maine; ¶University of South Florida, College of Public Health. Port Richey, Florida; and **Families Advocating Injury Reduction (FAIR), La Grange, Illinois.

Funding support for this session was provided by Texas Medical Institute of Technology (TMIT).

Correspondence: Charles R. Denham, MD, TMIT, 3011 N Inter-regional Highway-35, Austin, TX 78722 (e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.