- Care coordination and clinical collaboration are key to high quality care delivery
- Fragmented communication delays care and puts outcomes at risk
- The 5 W’s provide guidance for healthcare leaders to begin unifying clinical communication
As a nurse, I know the importance of care coordination first-hand. However, I’m also well aware of how easily care coordination can breakdown – and the main culprit is almost always miscommunication. It is important for care teams to unify clinical communication, so that collaboration and care coordination can be done efficiently and effectively – anything else puts patient care at risk.
That said, for most healthcare organizations “unify clinical communication” can mean different things, leading to various approaches to improving clinical communication, and various levels of success.
From our perspective, the 5 w’s you would use for general problem solving are also the backbone of unified clinical communication.
Unify clinical communication: The 5 W’s
Who, what, where, when, and why. The five w’s outline essential considerations of healthcare organizations to improve clinical communication and, ultimately, outcomes. We’ll cover the first two today:
Inefficiency in clinical communication is apparent when you consider time spent calling, paging, and waiting for responses. Simply put, a patient’s clinical outcome should not be put at risk because clinicians do not have the tools to do their jobs effectively.
An essential feature of unified clinical communication includes every care team member communicating through one application on one device, regardless of role or department. This includes:
- All employed and affiliated physicians
- All employed nurses
- All clinical support staff
- All transfer and call center staff
By all clinicians utilizing the same tool for communication and collaboration, care delivery is streamlined. But clinicians need more than the same tool – that tool needs to integrate with the key clinical systems that care team members interact with and monitor throughout their shifts.
At minimum, unified communication includes one platform integrating:
- Secure messaging
- On-call scheduling
- VoIP calling
- Nurse call
- Lab, radiology and sepsis alerts
- Alert and alarm management
- Critical care team activations
Explore the rest of the five w’s with our new eBook: The Clinical Collaboration Quick Course. With our framework, healthcare organizations are positioned to assess their current state communication infrastructures and consider the most effective ways to improve clinical collaboration.