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J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2000 Sep-Oct;7(5):453-61.

Improving clinical communication: a view from psychology.

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Hewlett-Packard Research Laboratories, Bristol, England (JSP).


Recent research has studied the communication behaviors of clinical hospital workers and observed a tendency for these workers to use communication behaviors that were often inefficient. Workers were observed to favor synchronous forms of communication, such as telephone calls and chance face-to-face meetings with colleagues, even when these channels were not effective. Synchronous communication also contributes to a highly interruptive working environment, increasing the potential for clinical errors to be made. This paper reviews these findings from a cognitive psychological perspective, focusing on current understandings of how human memory functions and on the potential consequences of interruptions on the ability to work effectively. It concludes by discussing possible communication technology interventions that could be introduced to improve the clinical communication environment and suggests directions for future research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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