Promoting system change for communication access in acute care hospitals

Rachel Santiago, Jessica Gormley, Tami Altschuler, Michelle Howard, Harvey Pressman, Sarah Blackstone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Improving communication access for patients is a vital step toward improving healthcare in the United States and worldwide. A growing body of research supports the use of communication strategies, including augmentative and alternative communication and assistive technology tools, as a fundamental aspect of quality patient care and recovery. Unfortunately, a number of barriers prevent the consistent implementation of these tools in acute care hospitals, and these barriers have been amplified since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper documents existing barriers to patient-provider communication within hospitals and presents recommendations, resources, and case studies to highlight the benefits and positive outcomes of communication interventions to guide clinical practice in this setting. Specifically, recommendations are presented across a number of systems that impact healthcare delivery including: (a) healthcare policies and regulations, (b) healthcare providers, (c) hospital units and departments, and (d) patients and families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-118
Number of pages19
JournalAssistive Technology Outcomes and Benefits
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Augmentative and alternative communication
  • Healthcare
  • Hospitals
  • Patient-provider communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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