In the Netherlands, a great number of experiments with innovative ways of communication between care professionals and patients are being conducted. The aims are to improve the ability to meet the patient’s needs, but also to cope with the growing amount of health care demand. Communication in health care is no longer confined to interaction between a care professional and a patient at their bedside or in a surgery. Partially led by patients’ needs and demands, a range of types of care interaction is slowly developing.
Research will have to show which are more and which are less suitable for specific groups of patients, specific types of health care demand or specific therapeutic goals. ICT plays an important part in this. NIVEL is conducting research projects into the effects of tailored information over the Internet or sending feedback to patients via pocket computers, for example. These projects will be followed up in 2010. Online focus group discussions is another research method applied more and more. NIVEL is also researching the added value of new forms of communication – such as group consultations – when compared to traditional individual consultations and patients’ attitudes towards them.
The norms for ‘adequate’ communication are barely derived from the patient’s perspective in the research into health care communication. In the Spinoza programme this will be addressed explicitly. The study also focuses on specific groups of patients for whom communication needs to be adapted, such as (demented) elderly patients, children, patients whose complaints cannot be explained medically, patients with a life-threatening illness and people asking advice about genetic counselling.