Today let’s look at communication between nurses and doctors. Communication is key when dealing with chronic care management. When communication is not key, disconnects can occur from simple misinterpretations, which can result in incorrect follow-through. Nurses and medical assistants follow through with chronic care services based on their interpretation of the doctors’ specifics.
One of the basics for providing accurate chronic care management is ensuring that our chronic care management nurses are in fact nurses. We generally do not hire medical assistants to do anything but enrollments. It is necessary that RNs and LVNs actually make the calls. Because of their advanced medical knowledge, they are equipped to make better determinations and decisions and to relay those decisions to the doctors. Medical assistants have limited medical knowledge. They may not pick up on important things that an RN or LVN would readily understand when listening to a patient’s story. Maybe there are circumstances in which an MA may have the proper licensure and knowledge. Within Rose Text’s chronic care management, however, our choice for care providers will always be a nurse.
It is pertinent that we provide that level of service for this reason: the exchange of medical information between patient, nurse, and doctor needs to be respected as a closed relational circle in which we guard the accurate exchange of information between them. We guard the patient’s right to be understood and the doctor’s trust that the need will be met. Therefore, with proper RNs and LVNs placed in this relationship, the patient can make better life decisions and the doctor can make better medical decisions, both of which are based on a proper understanding of information.
The Need to Communicate Well Between the Doctor, the Nurse, and the Patient
One of the biggest missteps that we sometimes see with various chronic care management programs is the absence of valuable or even critical information in the passing of communication to and from the patient, in that a patient is getting part of the information that the doctor intended to convey through the nurse. It is important within our program that information is accurately conveyed and understood on three levels:
(1) our doctors relay specifics for their clinics as well as specifics for their patients;
(2) our nurses take that information and relay it accurately in real ways that patients can understand; and
(3) the patients fully understand what is being relayed.
Let’s look at test results as an example of the need for accurate and complete understanding. A chronic care management program might receive some test results that came back “fine”. They might simply not relay them to the patient, or might give the simple quick response that “it came back fine”. At Rose Text, we have developed a dialogue of comparisons and analysis so the patient can fully understand the meaning of new information.
Perhaps a diabetic patient is monitoring his test results. The nurse gets from the doctor the specific information that he wants the patient to understand, such as those test results. Even if the test results are fine, was there anything the patient could do differently to ensure that he is doing the best that he can? If the patient’s lab results reveal that the patient is doing a good job, the nurse can encourage the patient to continue with what they are doing. The nurse can encourage them to maintain the lifestyle changes and wellness activities that have improved their lab results. The nurse can encourage them to continue to follow through with their medications, giving them healthy reminders that those things are the reasons that their results are better.
None of this is possible if we do not have clear communication with our physicians. It is important that our nurses train within the clinics for a week or so to familiarize themselves with the specifics of what the doctors are saying and what they are writing in the charts. We also have our nurses train with the other clinic nurses to develop more open and candid communication and to understand what the doctors’ expectations are of the nurses.
We would like to be a true extension of your office when it comes to medical management and chronic care management. We ensure that our nurses are top-notch to provide that extension. We want patients to know that we are not just an external company working with the office. We want patients to understand that their nurse is a part of the medical family within that physician’s office. We also want the doctors, nursing staff and office staff to understand that our nurses are also an extension of their family so that we can more accurately and more fully give both patients and doctors what they are needing.
At Rose-Text, we feel that this kind of interaction between our nurses, the doctors, and the patients completes that circle of healthcare within each office. By having a high level of management within chronic care management cases, it allows everybody to be able to work to the best of their abilities. The result is providing the patient with the best possible and highest level of care.
If you are looking to provide this same level of care to your patients, then let’s set up a time to talk about your clinic’s objectives and the obstacles in your way.
Like what you read? If you're looking for help implementing Chronic Care Management at your practice, reach out to our team of experts!