Written Communication
Chapter 17

Bell Work: Pretend you are sending a letter to Riley Children's Hospital   Correctly address the envelope. Fold the paper to mail and put in envelope. Turn in.

Written communication in my opinion would be the second most used communication as most people are contacting others by social networking sites and over text. Written communication has been developed and been used a lot more in the last 10 years due to the invention of new technology.

How are we writing these days?





You need a clear message from the sender to the receiver!

If its not clear we can run into problems!

Written communication-ALL healthcare professionals need good written communication skills.

2 equally important points:

1-Preparing accurate meaningful content

2-Grammatical detail - correctness

These are significant with written communication because there will be no face to face interaction between the sender and receiver to allow for nonverbal clues/communication

For example :   one test may be ordered -cbc w/diff     another - cbc w/o diff, 1 letter changes results, meds same way: one decimal point can kill someone. -- 1.0 mg  or 10 mg?

Bp reading 120/80 or 180/20 YIKES-Which one needs a cardiologist?

When someone is typing or writing and not verbally communicating you wouldn't get the response from the receiver saying "you want 10 mg every 5 min? Don't you mean 1 mg?

How many times has someone caught an error like this? If you had someone with no knowledge and came in they could give a lethal dose of medication.

Patient Education

How is your patient reading your written instructions? Check for understanding!

Did you clearly write out how to give yourself and injection? Would you know if there were missing steps?

Step 1.

Step 2.


Get out paper and write directions to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

You have 5 min.



Now lets have a sandwich!

Written communication to your patient should include who, what, when , where, how , and why answers.

Think of medication:

Who is it for?

What is it for?

When do they take it?

Where should they store it?

Where do they call of they have questions?

How is this taken?

Why are you taking it?

Why would you call the Dr.?

Patient Care Record

Health services need to keep good written records of the care given to patients/clients for three main reasons:

  1. To make sure the care and treatment can continue to be given safely no matter which staff are on duty, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  2. To record the care that has been given to the patient/client.
  3. To make sure there is an accurate record to be used as ‘evidence’ when there is a complaint from a patient/client about the care they’ve received.

the principles of written communication in healthcare are that you should:

  • write as near as possible to the time you’ve delivered the care.
  • write simply and clearly.
  • write legibly (if hand-written) and as error-free as possible if keyed into a computer
  • insert dates and times as accurately as possible when specific events and circumstances occurred.
  • avoid giving personal opinions.
  • avoid writing anything judgemental or which may seem personally abusive or insulting. Report factually what you’ve observed.
  • Prefer charting at bedside in real time.
  • Computer charting in healthcare has been life changing for people who had to try to read doctors handwriting

Writing a report

Article review together


1st Determine the purpose:


Ideas for the content or material:

In the beginning of any project, paper, planning something -how do people come up with such good ideas? YOU BRAINSTORM!

1. List everything with no judgment with out thinking it through, list every idea you can think of! The sky is the limit!

2. Gather facts

3. Talk to others

Consider the reader!

1. Prior knowledge of subject

2. Reading level (age, native lang., level of education)

3. Reason for needing info!

If in healthcare abbreviations used everyday in every conversation.

Organize your content

3 parts!!

INTRO-State topic and purpose

BODY- fully deliver message supported with facts and info

CONCLUSION- Summarize info in body and restate purpose

First draft- do kinda quick! This is your copy no one elses! Don't worry about spelling and grammar being perfect as long as you know what you want to say in final! You won't get overwhelmed by details and stop the flow of your writing/thinking.

Do final draft from an outline

Check for spellling errors! This can have serious consequences

Check GRAMMAR- capitolization, commas, periods, titles

Do you know how to write a sentence correctly? Capitols, commas, periods, quotation marks, contractions. If not you are responsible for test. Look in book.


Ex: Is it- Dr. Jeannine McMahon, DO


             Jeannine McMahon, DO

             Dr. Jeannine McMahon


Do you know how to address an envelope?

When writing percents, write out the word percent-"45-60 percent"

When abbreviating in healthcare make sure if it is just your facility or APPROVED by your professional organization

CPR           Cpr         cpr

EKG           Ekg          ekg

tx or txts ... this can be treatments, not texts, to hcp's!

Meetings and Minutes

Meetings at work, professional organizations, religious groups, teams have an agenda

What is an agenda? List of what meeting is going to cover. Helps attendees prepare in advance and keep group focused.

Why take minutes? What is that? 60 seconds?

Minutes are written documentation of what happened at meeting.

WHY? Let me tell you!

1 Inform those who could not attend

2 Create a record of business- maybe for official records for regulatory agencies reviews

3 Serve as guide for next meeting

4 Provide a resource for future ref.

WHAT DO THEY INCLUDE? Let me tell you!

Date/Time/Members present/Previous minutes/Announcements/Discussions and/or decisions made/Date & Time of next meeting/Time over/Signature of writer and Chairperson.

Confidentiality of Written Information

Can you keep a secret???

: private, secret <confidential information>3: entrusted with confidence: containing information whose unauthorized disclosure could be prejudicial to the national interest — compare secret, top secret

ALL of your patients info is confidential verbal or written!!!!!!! Your ignorance of leaving a screen or chart open is not a viable excuse in court or your bosses office! They know who last person who logged into computer or that chart is or was!!

Your job to protect that info!

80 Million people Thanks BC/BS!

This is headline from last week NY Times

Anthem, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, said late Wednesday that the personal information of tens of millions of its customers and employees, including its chief executive, was the subject of a “very sophisticated external cyberattack.”

The company, which is continuing its investigation into the exact scope of the attack, said hackers were able to breach a database that contained as many as 80 million records of current and former customers, as well as employees. The information accessed included names, Social Security numbers, birthdays, addresses, email and employment information, including income data.

Anthem said no credit card information had been stolen, and it emphasized that it did not believe medical information like insurance claims or test results were compromised. It said hospital and doctor information was also not believed to have been t

Related Coverage

  • New York Attorney General Seeks Expanded Reports on Data BreachesJAN. 14, 2015
  • Hacked vs. Hackers: Game OnDEC. 2, 2014

Still, the attack, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, could be the largest breach of a health care company to date, and one of the largest ever of customer information.

Top 10 HIPAA Data Breaches of 2013-USHHS ...US Health and Human Services report

way to go Indiana!-sarcasm..see you cant SEE my face or HEAR my tone to know that was NOT a real cheer for INDIANA!

#4: Indiana Family & Social Services Administration

People Affected: 187,533
Dates of Breach: 04/06/2013-05/21/2013

A computer programming error by a business associate wreaked havoc on Indiana FSSA’s client mailers. The program glitch caused extra pages from client notifications to be mixed into mailings to other clients, compromising medical and financial information for up to 187,533 clients, and Social Security numbers for almost 4,000 of them

This is what the offices used to look like....