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Hospitals Take Flight Lessons from Pilots to Avoid Government Penalties
Date:5/5/2013

er and healthier life. Have a strong dialogue that draws patients into the cause of better health and this will get better compliance.

6. Get a "read-back" from your patients. Explain the discharge instructions to the patient. Have them repeat back in their words what you told them. Go back and forth until you are confident the patient understands. This takes extra time but less time than a re-admit. Limit the discharge instructions to three "need to know" messages.

7. Use the phrase, "What questions do you have?" Don't ask, "Do you have any questions," as patients are likely to simply say "no," even if they don't understand. This is a technique used by professional pilots in the cockpit after their crew briefing. LifeWings also teaches surgeons to use this question after their WHO Safe Surgery Checklist briefing. They have discovered that using the phrase, "What questions do you have?" always generates more questions and discussion than "Do you have any questions?"

Steve Harden, Chairman and CEO of LifeWings, explains why hospitals are not doing these things already, “Health care staff are very well educated. Many of them think that writing at a lower grade reading level or using plain language is ‘dumbing down,’ and that using plain language that is easy to read is unprofessional and insulting. Actually, writing simply and clearly is very difficult.” Harden goes on to say, “Many healthcare professionals have the mistaken belief there is no need to do these things. They think that most patients understand what they’re saying to them or their patients would be asking more questions. In reality, patients often just nod their heads because they don’t want to appear uneducated.”

Harden says that training to use these seven steps will bust the myths and help hospitals provide safer, higher quality care to patients, while protecting the hospital's botto
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