NYC E.R. Doctor Talks Removing Communication Barriers with Patients

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We are excited to be joined by Dr. Joshua Schwarzbaum as our guest once again this week on the Healthcare Experience Matters podcast. As a longtime emergency room physician in New York City, Dr. Schwarzbaum has plenty of experience breaking down communication barriers with patients.

He joins our show this week to talk about using a calming presence to defuse even the most distraught patients in this powerful episode.

As a board-certified emergency medicine physician at SBH Health System in the Bronx, Dr. Schwarzbaum brings extensive experience in tackling communication challenges in medicine to today’s podcast interview.

We welcome him back with open arms for this very important and timely discussion.

  • He previously joined our show, earlier this year for an engaging interview on dealing with difficult conversations with patients and their families. You can check that episode out here.
  • To listen to Dr. Schwarzbaum’s first podcast with us here on Healthcare Experience Matters about the “Code Breathe” initiative, you can find that here.
  • Dr. Schwarzbaum is also the founder of Healthy Inside, a website that aims to help individuals find wellness and positivity in the face of life’s challenges. You can learn more about the website here.

The interview centers on the importance of careful and calm communication in healthcare and overcoming the barriers, including severe mental health and addiction issues, providers may face in their journey to help patients.

Dr. Schwarzbaum emphasizes that communication is pivotal in healthcare, as it affects diagnosis, treatment, and overall patient experience. Effective communication involves not just words but also understanding patients’ perspectives and needs.

One significant barrier to communication is the disconnect between doctors and patients. Doctors often have multiple patients to attend to, while patients seek individualized care. Balancing these needs is crucial. Dr. Schwarzbaum shares his personal experience navigating the healthcare system, highlighting the gap in understanding between patients and providers.

He also touches on the complexity of healthcare processes, like medication orders and tests, and how patients may not fully comprehend the system’s complexities. Patients’ expectations for immediate results often clash with the reality of healthcare’s step-by-step nature.

Dr. Schwarzbaum advocates for healthcare providers and patients to empathize with each other’s perspectives. By recognizing that patients are doing their best given their circumstances and doctors are managing their workload, a more harmonious relationship can – and most likely will – develop.

This interview also touches on the impact of improved communication on reducing patient complaints and healthcare provider burnout. Dr. Schwarzbaum shares a personal transformation in his approach, realizing that changing himself, rather than trying to change patients, leads to better outcomes.

He emphasizes that positivity, compassion, and calm can influence the entire healthcare environment.

The podcast also touches on telehealth’s rise, and how it impacts this entire discussion. While it offers convenience, it often lacks the personal touch of in-person visits. While it extends healthcare’s reach, Dr. Schwarzbaum believes that the physical presence in a room remains irreplaceable for a comprehensive understanding of a patient’s condition.

This interview underscores a recurring theme of the importance of empathy in communication when it comes to patient care, urging both patients and providers to understand and empathize with each other’s perspectives for driving better healthcare experiences.

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