Communication Errors and Consequences

David May, MD, PhD, FACC, and Patrick White explain how communication barriers between healthcare professionals and patients, as well as a lack of understanding about patients’ health behaviors following hospital discharge, can lead to unnecessary hospital readmissions, medication errors, and serious health complications.

Mr White discusses the significant costs and decreased quality of care that can result from a lack of oversight by physicians regarding their patients’ health behaviors. He explains that because only one-third of patients follow a physician’s prescription completely, physicians need to improve how they manage their patients.

Dr May discusses the consequences that can result when physicians fail to provide important information to patients and their caregivers to ensure good transitions of care. Unnecessary readmissions are likely to occur when patients or their loved ones do not know what to expect following a hospital discharge.

Dr May concludes that physicians should provide information to their patients during transitions between healthcare settings in order to reduce medication errors, unnecessary testing, health complications, and costs of care.

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