- What is clinical communication and collaboration?
- How can technology help to improve both?
- How do you implement a clinical communication and collaboration platform?
We see it all the time… My organization needs to improve clinical communication. We need help with collaboration. What’s the difference? And how can technology help improve clinical communication and collaboration? Let’s get back to basics.
What is Clinical Communication?
In order to deliver the greatest patient care possible, with the highest efficiency, healthcare organizations need a robust clinical communication and collaboration solution. Clinical communication encompasses the way in which physicians transfer patient information, give updates to care teams, manage patient handoffs, or collaborate with any other hospital staff – including administrators and department heads. The National Center for Biotechnology Information estimates that roughly 400,000 patients suffer preventable harm each year, and that those mistakes “cost approximately $40 billion each year.” Some healthcare systems require communication between facilities in order to include the best specialists, adding an additional layer of required security.
For convenience and efficiency, many healthcare professionals use smartphone applications to contact other physicians. These applications make clinical collaboration more convenient, and some healthcare organizations even have a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy. With intuitive applications and familiar devices, physicians and nurses are enabled to communicate smoothly and naturally, all while remote. These applications conserve hospitals’ time and money, by decreasing the time spent on clerical functions and the probability of miscommunication.
Miscommunication in a healthcare setting is detrimental to clinical and financial outcomes for hospitals and other care facilities. Fragmented and disorganized clinical communication systems can lead to information overload, which can lead to burnout and severe inefficiencies. It’s crucial that leadership in health systems understand how important clinical communication is for their organizations. Especially after the COVID-19 epidemic, it’s essential that hospitals and other care facilities maximize their efficiency and collaborate with the medical community to deliver the best patient care possible.
What is Clinical Collaboration?
Clinical collaboration is the due diligence of physicians to share ideas and work with one another to arrive at the best solution or plan of action for a particular patient. When healthcare professionals can build off of one another’s ideas, it’s more likely they arrive at a correct conclusion. When communicating with other clinicians is a challenge, doctors are less likely to do so – occasionally resulting in poor patient care. Collaboration is truly essential for the highest quality patient care, and should incorporate multiple medical disciplines to make informed decisions on a patient’s health.
Throughout this collaboration, patient information must be exchanged for physicians to make informed decisions. With this transfer of information, HIPAA compliance is essential to ensure sensitive information is staying with the right people. With a clinical collaboration platform, this security is baked-in and will ensure the compliance and security of this information.
What is a Clinical Communication and Collaboration Platform?
A clinical collaboration platform (CCP) is a system that integrates into an existing communication network and unifies splintered channels for a streamlined communication workflow. A CCP can also serve as a database for patient records – by aggregating this information in one place, collaboration is much simpler, and far more efficient. With this added efficiency, hospitals can allow physicians to do what they care about most – help patients regain their health.
A clinical communication and collaboration platform will make providing quality patient care easier and faster than ever before. CCPs benefit each level of your healthcare organization by aggregating electronic health records (EHRs), on-call scheduling, role-based messaging, and streamlined workflows. From multi-facility health systems, to individual acute care organizations, a clinical communication and collaboration Platform can improve processes and help clinicians provide higher-quality care.
Technology in Action: Improved Outcomes
Even with a large health system such as Asante, with three hospitals serving 600,000+ patients, a clinical collaboration platform enabled the organization to collaborate and communicate more efficiently and accurately. The system now supports 6,500 users and sees an average of 1 million mobile messages every month.
Similarly, Great River Health, a large health system in Southeast Iowa, was faced with the challenge of securely connecting physicians, regardless of physical distance. After implementing a clinical collaboration platform, Great River Health was able to drastically improve their communication, scheduling and patient-care.
Additionally, the Thomas Hospital, in Fairhope, Alabama, was facing the challenge of mandating certain security protocols to keep patient information secure while improving collaboration among nurses and other physicians. Thomas Hospital saw huge improvements to the organization’s efficiency – including an “83% reduction in time to coordinate admissions from the emergency room to the hospital.”
How do you implement a clinical communication platform?
For leaders in healthcare, the beginning stages of implementing a clinical collaboration platform (CCP) for their organization can be intimidating. A CCP should be robust, and needs to scale across an entire organization – which can be quite a feat. Understanding your foundational communication infrastructure is a key component to beginning such a project. That’s why it’s important for CCP providers to partner with clients, and offer consultation to ensure that the solution being placed will fit the organization’s needs.
After the beginning stages of implementation, it’s time to consider your organization’s readiness for clinical communications. There are many aspects of the physical space, network capability, and the added load of a CCP to consider before spending any money to improve clinical communication and collaboration.