EDCOM Emergency Communication Project

  • Herke, Maria (Partner Investigator)
  • Matthiessen, Christian (Chief Investigator)
  • Slade, Diana (Primary Chief Investigator)
  • McGregor, Jeannette (Associate Investigator)
  • Scheeres, Hermine (Associate Investigator)
  • Stein-Parbury, Jane (Associate Investigator)
  • Chandler, Eloise (Associate Investigator)
  • Stanton, Nicole (Research Assistant)
  • Manidis, Marie (Other)
  • Dunstan, Roger (Associate Investigator)

    Project: Research

    Project Details


    The Emergency Communication Project was conceived in response to the increasing realisation of the central role of communication in effective healthcare delivery, particularly in high stress contexts such as emergency departments.
    Over three years, this project investigated communication between patients and clinicians1 in five representative emergency departments. It involved 1093 hours of observations, 150 interviews with key staff and patients and 82 patients recorded from triage to disposition. Only patients in triage categories 3 to 5 (i.e. initially assessed as non life-threatening) were approached for participation. Researchers recorded, analysed and described spoken interactions between clinicians and patients and identified the features of both successful and unsuccessful interactions. The project therefore represents one of the most comprehensive studies internationally on clinician– patient communication in hospitals.
    The Emergency Communication Project was carried out with funding from:
    Australian Research Council (ARC Linkage Projects) ACT Health
    NSW Health: Northern Sydney and Central Coast Area Health Service and South Eastern Sydney and Illawarra Area Health Service (Health Service Partnership Fund)
    NSW Adult Migrant English Service

    Key findings

    The project presents a detailed picture of the critical importance of communication in the delivery of effective and patient-centred care, and provides a detailed analysis of the way in which communication occurs and, at times, fails. Failures in communication have consistently been identified as a major cause of critical incidents— that is, adverse events leading to avoidable patient harm.
    Short titleEmergency Communication Project
    Effective start/end date1/02/071/02/10