Health Care Communication

HealthCare Communication

HealthCare Communication

Effectivecommunication determines the success of the process of servicedelivery in the health care sector. According to Suter, Arndt,Arthur, Parboosingh, Taylor, Deutschlander (2009) there is a positiveassociation between effective communication and health experiences,client’s satisfaction, and health care services outcome. Healthcare providers and the communication coordinators can use variousmethods to communicate with the health care stakeholders, includingthe patients, other health care providers, and the public. Thesemethods of communication can be grouped into three categories, namelytraditional, electronic, and social media. They all differ in termsof advantages and disadvantages. The communicators using any of thesemethods should consider the time orientation and health beliefs ofthe target audience (Houston, 2002). This paper will provide theanalyses of the advantages and disadvantages of using traditional,social media, and electronic methods of communication to address thenews reports and public regarding the negative side effects caused byone of the medications produced by a national drug manufacturer. Thepaper will also address the effects of different regulations(including HIPAA) on the use of the aforementioned media in thehealth care communication.

Traditionalmethods of communication

Althoughthe communication sector has undergone significant advancement overthe years, there are some traditional methods that can still be usedto address the issue of the negative effects of the mediation. First,face-to-face is a traditional method of communication that involvesmeeting physically with the audience. The use of face-to-facecommunication has two major benefits. First, face-to-facecommunication allows the communicator to clarify the message to thetargeted audience (Kokemuller, 2014). This means that thecommunication coordinator will be able to clarify about the issue ofthe negative effects of the medication to the public. Secondly,face-to-face communication allows the audience to seek forclarification, which in turn helps to clear all misunderstandings.The coordinator will have an opportunity address all potentialmisunderstandings held by the public about the company’smedications. Although face-to-face communication seems to be quiteeffective in addressing the medication issue, it has somelimitations. For example, face-to-face allows the communicator toaddress a limited number of audiences (Kokemuller, 2014). This willlimit the number of audiences that a communication coordinator caninform about the medication issue.

Theuse of newspapers and magazines to communicate about the negativeeffects of the medication will reach a larger population than whenusing face-to-face communication (Cheesebro, O’Connor &amp Rios,2010). In addition, issuing notices through the newspaper is cheaperthan other methods, such as radio and television. Study shows thatmost of the youths and young adults seek information throughelectronic and social media sources (Greene, 2013). This implies thatthe communication coordinator will only reach the aged populationwhen using the Newspaper or the magazine.

Electronicmethods of communication

Radioand television are some of the most common electronic methods thatthe communication coordinator can use to inform the target audienceabout the negative effects of the medication. Television is aneffective method of communication that will allow the communicationcoordinator to inform both the local and national audiences about thepressing issue of the negative effects of the medication. This isbecause television networks have a wider coverage and present messagein both visual and audio forms (Cathy, 2014). Radio is a costeffective method of communication that allows the communicator toreach the local audience that is interested in the local news. Byusing radio as a method of communication, the communicationcoordinator will be able to pass the message to the residents.

Electronicmethods of communication are cost effective and effective whencommunicating with the local audience, but they have somelimitations. The rate of message retention in the TV communication islow, which means that the target audience is likely to forget theinformation easily (Greene, 2013). The low message retention ratewill reduce the coordinator’s capacity to keep the consumers of thefirm’s medications informed about the negative effects in the longrun. The emotional strength associated with the radio as a method ofcommunication reduces the impact it has on the target audience(Cathy, 2014). Radio uses only the voice option, which limits thecommunicator’s capacity to demonstrate the message to the audience.


Socialmedia is one of the rapidly growing methods of communication, whichis common among the young generation. The social media sites(Including the Twitter and Facebook) facilitate open communication,which enhances the process of information delivery and discovery(Cheesebro, O’Connor &amp Rios, 2010). In addition, social mediais a responsive method of communication, which will allow the targetaudience to reply to the postings made by the communicationcoordinator. Giving the clients an opportunity to respond to themessages sent by the drug manufacturing firm will increase the clientbase and maintain the reputation of the company. However, thecommunication coordinator should be aware of potential limitations ofusing social media to inform its clients about the negative effectsof the firm’s medication. First, social media sites allow users topost negative comments that might tarnish the reputation of the drugmanufacturer. Secondly, the message posted on the social media siteswill only be reached by clients who have the internet connectivityand an interest in the use social media sites as sources ofinformation.

Theimpact of HIPAA on the use of electronic, traditional, and socialmedia

Manylaws and regulations set by the government and other regulatoryagencies aim at controlling the process of sharing the health carerecords, maintaining the client privacy, and securing the health carerecords from unauthorized access. Similarly, the Health InsurancePortability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) are based on thesepillars. The act prohibits firms operating in the health care sectorfrom sharing the client’s personal information (such as names,phone number, social security number, and birthday) with theobjective of the medical privacy of patients (Osborne, 2002). Thismeans that the communication coordinator can communicate with thepublic about the negative effects of the medication throughelectronic, social media and traditional methods, but avoid givingthe personal details of the public figure that have been affected.

Althoughthe drug manufacturer may not be in the direct contact with theconsumer of its medications, it is possible that it will collect someinformation from the affected clients. The personal details of theclients should be protected from unauthorized access. HIPAA requiresorganizations to identify the ways through which the clientinformation is communicated and ensure that all channels are secure(Osborne, 2002). For example, it would be unethical to communicatethe clients’ information through the social media, television, orthe newspaper.


Effectivecommunication is vital in the health care setting because it linksdifferent stakeholders, including the health care providers,administrators, and clients. The communication coordinator has anopportunity to select from a large number of communication methods.However, the communication coordinator should assess the availablemethods on the basis of their merits and demerits. Moreover, thecommunication coordinator should consider the regulations (such asHIPAA) that control the manner in which information should becommunicated in the health care sector. The coordinator shouldconsider different issues, such as the clients’ privacy and thesecurity of the communication media selected.


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Cheesebro,T., O’Connor, L. &amp Rios, F. (2010). Communicatingin the workplace.Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education Incorporation.

Greene,F. (2013). Thedisadvantages of advertising in the newspaper.Santa Monica: Demand Media.

Houston,H. (2002). Health care and the silent language of VietnameseImmigrants consumers. BusinessCommunication Quarterly,65 (1), 37-47.

Kokemuller,N. (2014). Advantagesand disadvantages of the different types of communication channels.Ames, IA: Iowa State University.

Osborne,H. (2002). Inother words: How the new HIPAA regulations affect health carecommunication.Natick, MA: Health Literacy Consulting.

Suter,E., Arndt, J., Arthur, N., Parboosingh, J., Taylor, E.,Deutschlander, S. (2009). Role understanding and effectivecommunication as core competencies for collaborative practice.Journalof Interpersonal Care,23 (1), 41-51. Doi: 10.1080/13561820802338579.