Communication in Health Care and the impact of COVID-19

Skilled communication is critical for delivering safe, effective care. Yet perhaps at no other time in our living memories has communication in healthcare been so important yet so challenging. In this period of uncertainty due to an unprecedented global pandemic, consistent and effective public health communication is vital, for example messages about mask wearing, the need for lockdowns, social distancing and school closures— these important messages are constantly challenged by inconsistent social media campaigns and contradicting official advice.

Similarly, communication in healthcare interactions, whether in hospitals or in community settings, poses significant challenges that impact patient safety, patient experience, and the well-being and burnout of clinicians. Listening and conveying information both between patients and carers and between clinicians themselves is jeopardised. For example, PPE (personal protective equipment), can disrupt communication between clinicians, patients and their families. Clinicians may find it difficult to hear patients, to smile at them, or to show their empathy towards them. Communication between clinicians can also be disrupted. Infection control requirements mean patients are often left alone without families or carers who are essential to their well-being, while clinicians are left no choice but to have difficult conversations about end of life care over the phone

We invite you to join a panel of communication and medical experts from around the world – the directors of the partner organisations and affiliate members of the newly established ANU-led International Consortium for Communication in Health Care (IC4CH) – to speak about health communication and social media, vaccine hesitancy, mental health, and health care interactions in the COVID-19 era.

The webinar marks the official announcement of the International Consortium for Communication in Health Care and is hosted by the ANU Institute for Communication in Healthcare.