Avoiding medication errors through effective communication in a healthcare environment

Zayyanu Shitu, Isyaku Hassan, Myat Moe Thwe Aung, Tuan Hairulnizam Tuan Kamaruzaman, Rabiu Muazu Musa


One of the major problems causing medication errors is ineffective communication between patients and health personnel. This paper discusses the communication issues in the healthcare environment and how medication errors can be avoided through effective communication. An internet-based search was conducted to locate relevant articles published between 2004 and 2017. Only articles that touch upon communication and health-related issues were selected. Online sources such as PubMed, ScienceDirect, and Google Scholar were utilized. The importance of good communication practices for effective health and improved patient safety in hospital settings has been highlighted. It is evident from this review that poor communication most frequent causes adverse effects, delay in treatment, medication errors, and wrong-site surgery. The major communication issues in healthcare environment include language barriers, the medium of communication, physical setting, and social setting. Healthcare workers tend to use technical language in the workplace because they consider the tone of communication to be always professional. It has been established that knowledge on professional-patient communication is essential and valuable in improving therapeutic outcomes. Patients need knowledge and support in order to be able and motivated to undergo medicine therapy. Health practitioners need to take responsibility for demanding and creating an environment where high-quality healthcare counselling is routinely practiced. To promote safe and effective practice in hospitals and avoid medication errors, clinicians should adhere to teamwork and effective communication with the patients. There is a need for designing strategies such as effective communication and teamwork amongst healthcare pro­fessionals, which can consequently influence the quality of healthcare services and patient outcomes. 


Communication, medication error, healthcare delivery

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15282/mohe.v7i1.202