Communicating in hospital emergency departments

Communicating in hospital emergency departments

About the project

This project investigated communication between patients and clinicians in five representative emergency departments (EDs). It recorded, analysed and described spoken interactions between healthcare practitioners and patients, focusing on the causes of misunderstandings and breakdowns in hospital emergency departments.

It involved 1093 hours of observations, 150 interviews with key staff and patients and 82 patients recorded from triage to disposition. The project therefore represents one of the most comprehensive studies internationally on clinician–patient communication in hospitals (see Slade et al, 2015).

This was a three-year Australian Research Council Linkage grant with funding from the ARC and the Linkage partners.

Project team

  • Diana Slade (lead CI)
  • Marie Manidis
  • Jeannette McGregor
  • Hermine Scheeres
  • Eloise Chandler
  • Jane Stein-Parbury
  • Roger Dunston
  • Christian Matthiessen

Communication in Australian Health Care: A Framework for Higher Education Institutions to Develop Communication Capabilities of Future Health Graduates

Following the completion of the ARC project on Communicating in Hospital Emergency Departments, Diana Slade led a cross-university grant (Australian Learning and Teaching Council) that produced a suite of multimedia, online, pre-service medical education modules on Communication in Emergency Departments.

This module has since been implemented at Melbourne University and other university medical programs for training future doctors. This is the only evidenced-based communication module that builds on an analysis of what actually occurs in hospital emergency contexts.

Project team

  • Diana Slade (lead CI)
  • Robyn Woodward-Kron
  • Susy Macqueen
  • Eleanor Flynn
  • Hermine Scheeres
  • Jane Stein-Parbury


  • Slade, D, Manidis, M, McGregor, J, Scheeres, H, Chandler, E, Stein-Parbury, J, Dunston, R and Matthiessen, CMIM (2015). Communicating in Hospital Emergency Departments, Springer, Germany, USA, China.
  • Pun, J, Chan, EA, Wang, S & Slade, D (2018). Health professional-patient communication practices in East Asia: An integrative review of an emerging field of research and practice in Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Mainland China. Patient Education and Counseling. 101(7), 1193-1206.
  • Macqueen, S, Woodward-Kron, R, Flynn, E, Reid, K, Elliott, K and Slade, D (2016). A resource for teaching emergency care communication. The Clinical Teacher, 13:3, pp. 192–196, DOI: 10.1111/tct.12423.
  • Joyce, H, Slade, D, Bateson, D, Scheeres, H, McGregor, J and Weisberg, E (2015). Patient-centred discourse in sexual and reproductive health consultations. Discourse and Communication, 9(3).
  • Slade, D, Scheeres, H, Manidis, M, Matthiessen, C.M.I.M., Iedema, R, Dunstan, R, Stein-Parbury, J, Herke, M, McGregor, J (2008). Emergency Communication: the discursive challenges facing emergency clinicians and patients in hospital Emergency Departments. Discourse and Communication, Vol 2/3, pp. 289-316
  • Scheeres, H, Slade, D, Manidis, M, McGregor, J, Matthiessen, CMIM (2008). Communicating in Hospital Emergency Departments. Prospect, 23(2).
  • Wong, HT, Yin, Q, Guo, YQ, Murray, K, Zhou, DH, Slade, D (2015). Big data as a new approach in emergency medicine research. Journal of Acute Disease. 3:169-17

Project contact

Professor Diana Slade

Updated:  14 June 2022/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications