Phases-of-illness paradigm: better communication, better outcomes

Jeremy C. Pamplin*, Sarah J. Murray, Kevin K. Chung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Communication failures are a significant contributor to medical errors that harm patients. Critical care delivery is a complex system of inter-professional work that is distributed across time, space, and multiple disciplines. Because health-care education and delivery remain siloed by profession, we lack a shared framework within which we discuss and subsequently optimize patient care. Furthermore, our disparate professional perspectives and interests often interfere with our ability to effectively prioritize individual care. It is important, therefore, to develop a cognitively shared framework for understanding a patient's severity of illness and plan of care across multiple, traditionally poorly communicating disciplines. We suggest that the 'phases-of-illness paradigm' will facilitate communication about critically ill patients and create a shared mental model for interdisciplinary patient care. In so doing, this paradigm may reduce communication errors, complications, and costs while improving resource utilization and trainee education. Additional research applications are feasible.

Original languageEnglish
Article number309
JournalCritical Care
Issue number6
StatePublished - 28 Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


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