Health communication covers a wide range of topics, but a central focus is health care provider-patient communication, specifically, issues involving patient satisfaction and compliance. Patient compliance is defined as "the extent to which patients follow clinical prescriptions" (Burgoon, Bark, & Hall, 1991). Patient satisfaction is less easily defined, as it is highly dependent upon what the patient considers satisfying. Trying to understand the behaviours that lead to both patient compliance and patients satisfaction can help to gain positive outcomes for both patient and the health care provider.
There is evidence to indicate that patients view communication as an issue that is central to their care (Reading, A.E. 1981 & Reading, A.E. 1982). Communication seems to have an influence on patient's behaviour and well-being, for example satisfaction with care, compliance to treatment, recall and understanding, quality of life, and even state of health (Smith C.K. et al 1981).
Poor communication can lead to non-compliance.
The costs associated with non-compliance can be high not only to the patient, but also to the health care system. As suggested by Ley (1988) and Farberow (1986), "In economic terms, the expense of non-compliance is staggering ... in human terms, the expense is tragic." To avoid it happening communication should be seen as a key to a successful patient care.
While much is known about communication and satisfaction the actual experience of communication and satisfaction during barium enema examination has not been thoroughly documented. There is therefore little information to guide radiographers on how to communicate and satisfy patients undergoing barium enema. The following essay discusses how the radiographer or radiologist (a doctor specialising in the use and the interpretation of x-rays (www.radiologyinfo.org)) can enhance patient compliance and satisfaction by providing communication whilst carrying out barium enema procedure.
A barium enema, or lower gastrointestinal (GI) examination,