Lack of Communication in Healthcare Settings

Since communication occupies a significant role in healthcare settings, the lack thereof can adversely impact all the involved stakeholders. That is why numerous researchers focus on the issue and try to identify the current state of communication, existing barriers, effective interventions, and others. Consequently, the following paragraphs will present the synthesized findings of authors from different countries who focused on various settings to identify the current knowledge on the topic.

It is impossible to ignore the significance of communication, primarily when it refers to decision-making about life-sustaining technology. Evidence from three Canadian hospitals demonstrated that understanding communication’s importance contributed to more productive relationships between healthcare professionals, patients, and their families (Kryworuchko et al., 2016). In addition to that, a qualitative systematic review by Anderson et al. (2019) demonstrates that it is necessary to draw sufficient attention to the connection between medical workers and relatives of patients. In particular, the researchers admit that end-of-life choices are better if all these stakeholders are involved in decision-making processes (Anderson et al., 2019). These findings demonstrate that one cannot undervalue the role of communication in medical settings.

In the modern world, it is not surprising that social networks are significant when it comes to communication. On the one hand, many articles focus on the issue and conclude that the use of social media is predominant in the healthcare industry (Surani et al., 2017). However, quantitative research indicates that a potential issue refers to the fact that not all medical professionals are aware of the fact that their organizations have specific social media use regulations (Surani et al., 2017). On the other hand, a laboratory experiment in Boston revealed that medical professionals’ communication in social media affected professional behavior and decisions (Saran et al., 2018). In particular, participants’ decisions to invest in prevention technologies, which were mentioned in their social media posts, were considered a significant motivational aspect for other healthcare professionals to do the same (Saran et al., 2018). Consequently, social networks are an important phenomenon when it comes to researching healthcare communication.

A particular part of research is also devoted to numerous factors that compromise communication. Firstly, a focus on the Nigerian context reveals that many phenomena affect the issue under analysis. In particular, peer communication suffers from the lack of joint training, different communication styles, various discipline levels, unproductive working environments, and others (Lukong et al., 2020). All these examples demonstrate that multiple issues can contribute to worsened communication among healthcare professionals. Secondly, one can suppose that other factors impact communication between medical workers and patients, and the study by Norouzinia et al. (2016) focuses on this aspect. In particular, the most influential elements are those specific for nurses. They include being overworked and working against the background of nurse shortage (Norouzinia et al., 2016). Simultaneously, language, cultural, and gender differences between nurses and patients failed to affect communication effectiveness significantly (Norouzinia et al., 2016). Since versatile aspects have different impacts on the issue, one can suggest that it is impossible to find a single intervention that can promote effective communication in healthcare settings.

The final theme in the given literature review refers to particular interventions that can be used to improve communication. Frampton et al. (2017) utilized qualitative methodology to identify how one could increase staff engagement in professional processes. The researchers found out that real-time feedback from leaders was accompanied with healthcare professionals’ increased motivation and workplace satisfaction (Frampton et al., 2017). It is worth admitting that regular real-time feedback is possible using appropriate software, and the scholars commented on the effectiveness of a specific mobile application (Frampton et al., 2017). In addition to that, a qualitative literature review by Wang et al. (2018) focused on ways to improve communication in intensive care units. The researchers identified that multiple interventions were effective, including team training, communication tools and checklists, multidisciplinary work shift evaluation, and others (Wang et al., 2018). Even though these scholars did not try to determine which strategies were more effective, it is still helpful to understand that the mentioned efforts can notably improve communication quality in the selected setting. It is suitable to rely on this data to address the problem under analysis.

The literature review has demonstrated that communication in the healthcare industry is a requested topic among multiple researchers. Different scholars from all over the world focus on the issue and investigate how it is presented in the medical sphere. The findings were obtained using different methodologies and came from versatile settings and countries. That is why one can claim that these results represent an international state of affairs. The current findings have demonstrated that medical professionals should draw sufficient attention to establishing productive communication, and social networks are a practical way to cope with the task. Furthermore, some researchers determined that specific processes and phenomena could lead to communication problems, while others highlighted particular interventions that could contribute to significant improvement. Consequently, all this information demonstrates that it is still reasonable to do research to find how to improve healthcare communication in specific medical settings.


Anderson, R. J., Bloch, S., Armstrong, M., Stone, P. C., & Low, J. T. (2019). Communication between healthcare professionals and relatives of patients approaching the end-of-life: A systematic review of qualitative evidence. Palliative Medicine, 33(8), 926-941. Web.

Frampton, A., Fox, F., Hollowood, A., Northstone, K., Margelyte, R., Smith-Clarke, S., & Redwood, S. (2017). Using real-time, anonymous staff feedback to improve staff experience and engagement. BMJ Quality Improvement Reports, 6(1), u220946.w7041. Web.

Kryworuchko, J., Strachan, P. H., Nouvet, E., Downar, J., & You, J. J. (2016). Factors influencing communication and decision-making about life-sustaining technology during serious illness: A qualitative study. BMJ Open, 6(5), e010451. Web.

Lukong, M. A. Y., Ekaete, E. P., Aliyu, D., & Omoniyi, S. O. (2020). Factors affecting communication and teamwork in the operating theatre towards improving quality care for patients in Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Shika Zaria. Bayero Journal of Nursing and Health Care, 2(1), 348-409.

Norouzinia, R., Aghabarari, M., Shiri, M., Karimi, M., & Samami, E. (2016). Communication barriers perceived by nurses and patients. Global Journal of Health Science, 8(6), 65-74. Web.

Saran, I., Fink, G., & McConnell, M. (2018). How does anonymous online peer communication affect prevention behavior? Evidence from a laboratory experiment. PLoS ONE, 13(11), e0207679. Web.

Surani, Z., Hirani, R., Elias, A., Quisenberry, L., Varon, J., Surani, S., & Surani, S. (2017). Social media usage among health care providers. BMC Research Notes, 10(1). Web.

Wang, Y.-Y., Wan, Q.-Q., Lin, F., Zhou, W.-J., & Shang, S.-M. (2018). Interventions to improve communication between nurses and physicians in the intensive care unit: An integrative literature review. International Journal of Nursing Sciences, 5(1), 81-88. Web.

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NursingBird. "Lack of Communication in Healthcare Settings." December 2, 2022.