- The impact of COVID-19 on clinical communication has been significant
- Research highlights key trends in clinical communication during the pandemic
- Continued utilization of communication technology can improve both clinical and financial outcomes
Strategic healthcare leaders are consistently assessing organizational performance, both in terms of clinical and financial outcomes. A key driver of both is strong clinical collaboration. Yet, the impact of COVID-19 on clinical communication has been significant.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for streamlined and reliable communication has been vital. Any breakdown in communication puts fragile patients at even greater risk.
To better understand the impact of COVID-19 on clinical communication and collaboration, Halo Health conducted a year-over-year analysis of clinical collaboration behavior during the pandemic.
The analysis identifies trends across acute, ambulatory and post-acute healthcare organizations.
Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 on Clinical Communication
The analysis compared 2020 clinical collaboration to the pre-COVID period of 2019. Both volume and mechanisms utilized for clinical communication were examined. Organizations included in the analysis were broad – covering hundreds of acute sites and thousands of non-acute organizations.
The analysis noted several trends regarding the impact of COVID-19 on clinical communication, including these three of note:
1. HIPAA-Compliant Messaging the Most Common Method of Communication
When considering clinical collaboration, there are a variety of methods through which care teams communicate – from voice calls to pages to messages. Analysis comparing pre-pandemic communication with clinical communication a year after surgency suggests HIPAA-compliant messaging is among the most the utilized clinical collaboration method.
2. Messaging Volume Increased 15% After the Start of the Pandemic
Not only was messaging the most utilized mechanism, but messaging volume increased significantly after the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. An immediate 15% increase in messaging behavior began at the start of the pandemic and has persisted as healthcare organizations continue to care for patients with and without active cases of COVID-19.
3. Clinical Messaging Increased Across Non-Primary Care Organizations
Analysis shows clinician messaging increased throughout the pandemic for non-primary care organizations. However, ambulatory primary care saw a decrease in clinician messaging.
Reasoning behind this decrease can be attributed to cancelled elective procedures and primary care visits at the beginning of the pandemic, as well as patient hesitation to seek out preventive care appointments.
Clinical Collaboration is More than Messaging
Messaging functionality is essential for clinical communication – there is no denying that. However, this functionality alone is insufficient.
In evaluating the impact of COVID-19 on clinical communication, healthcare leaders recognize clinicians require more than the ability to message colleagues. They need to juggle fewer outdated technologies and to collaborate seamlessly – within and outside of the four walls of the organization.
Clinicians need to rid themselves from fragmented solutions that make care delivery harder, not smarter.
Clinical collaboration platforms not only offer HIPAA-compliant messaging but also unify on-call scheduling, lab and radiology reports, physiological monitors and more. This enables clinicians to scale communication across organizations, and to utilize one platform for all of their clinical communication needs – drastically reducing the burnout that skyrocketed durig the pandemic.
Additionally, clinical collaboration platforms eliminate bloated IT infrastructures to streamline communication – saving lives and resources.