Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Communication in healthcare: a narrative review of the literature and practical recommendations
Authors: Vermeir, P.
VANDIJCK, Dominique 
Degroote, S.
Peleman, R.
Verhaeghe, R.
Mortier, E.
Hallaert, G.
Van Daele, S.
Buylaert, W.
Vogelaers, D.
Issue Date: 2015
Abstract: Objectives: Effective and efficient communication is crucial in healthcare. Written communication remains the most prevalent form of communication between specialised and primary care. We aimed at reviewing the literature on the quality of written communication, the impact of communication inefficiencies and recommendations to improve written communication in healthcare. Design: Narrative literature review. Methods: A search was carried out on the databases PubMed, Web of Science and The Cochrane Library by means of the (MeSH) terms 'communication', 'primary health care', 'correspondence', 'patient safety', 'patient handoff' and 'continuity of patient care'. Reviewers screened 4609 records and 462 full texts were checked according following inclusion criteria: (1) publication between January 1985 and March 2014, (2) availability as full text in English, (3) categorisation as original research, reviews, meta-analyses or letters to the editor. Results: A total of 69 articles were included in this review. It was found that poor communication can lead to various negative outcomes: discontinuity of care, compromise of patient safety, patient dissatisfaction and inefficient use of valuable resources, both in unnecessary investigations and physician worktime as well as economic consequences. Conclusion: There is room for improvement of both content and timeliness of written communication. The delineation of ownership of the communication process should be clear. Peer review, process indicators and follow-up tools are required to measure the impact of quality improvement initiatives. Communication between caregivers should feature more prominently in graduate and postgraduate training, to become engraved as an essential skill and quality characteristic of each caregiver.
Notes: [Vermeir, P.; Vandijck, D.; Degroote, S.; Vogelaers, D.] Ghent Univ Hosp, Dept Gen Internal Med, Ghent, Belgium. [Vermeir, P.; Peleman, R.; Vogelaers, D.] Ghent Univ Hosp, Dept Internal Med, Ghent, Belgium. [Vandijck, D.; Degroote, S.; Verhaeghe, R.] Ghent Univ Hosp, Dept Publ Hlth, Ghent, Belgium. [Vandijck, D.] Hasselt Univ, Dept Business Econ, Diepenbeek, Belgium. [Peleman, R.; Verhaeghe, R.; Mortier, E.; Hallaert, G.; Van Daele, S.; Buylaert, W.; Vogelaers, D.] Ghent Univ Hosp, Fac Med & Hlth Sci, Ghent, Belgium. [Buylaert, W.] Ghent Univ Hosp, Dept Emergency Med, Ghent, Belgium.
Document URI:
ISSN: 1368-5031
e-ISSN: 1742-1241
DOI: 10.1111/ijcp.12686
ISI #: 000365407000005
Rights: © 2015 The Authors. International Journal of Clinical Practice Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Int J Clin Pract, November 2015, 69, 11, 1257–1267. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.12686 This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Category: A1
Type: Journal Contribution
Validations: ecoom 2016
Appears in Collections:Research publications

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
vermeir 1.pdfpublished version414.43 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
Show full item record


checked on Sep 3, 2020


checked on May 21, 2022

Page view(s)

checked on May 20, 2022


checked on May 20, 2022

Google ScholarTM



Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.