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How Role-Based Communication Improves Care Team Coordination

How Role-Based Communication Improves Care Team Coordination

Communication is critical to the success of patient care outcomes as well as the overall healthcare industry. If a care team has bad communication, it can lead to uneven patient care, waste care team member’s valuable time, and negatively affect a health system’s bottom line.

In fact, studies show that hospitals waste $12 billion per year, or about 2 percent of revenue, as a result of poor communication. Around 80 percent of medical errors also result from poor communication, further highlighting what is at stake if things do not improve.

A lot of this can be tied back to the way that care teams communicate with each other.  Relying on outdated paging systems and waiting for specific clinicians to become available slows everything down and prevents care team members from doing their best work. However, innovative technologies and strategies cna vastly improve care team communication.  By using cloud-based clinical communication platforms and focusing on role-based communication, clinicians can enable:

  • Increased care team efficiency and productivity
  • Lower overall costs
  • Better patient outcomes

The Problems with Individual-Based Communications

Typically, when a nurse needs to contact a specialist for help or medical advice for a patient, he or she has to page a specific provider and wait for a reply. The nurse could have no idea when they’ll get a response back, if the provider is busy or not, or even if the provider is best fitted to handle their request.

This method of communication is slow and unreliable, leading to hospital-wide inefficiencies. Patient care also suffers as nurses are forced to wait for critical patient information. Since a nurse’s time is associated with improved patient outcomes, reduced medical errors and higher patient satisfaction, health systems can’t afford to have nurses tied up inside these old, fragmented processes.

To see the negative impact of this old school method of communication, look no further than admitted patients waiting for their medications. If a patient needs pain medication or a treatment for new onset respiratory symptoms, a nurse’s scope of practice requires orders placed in the EMR from a provider to resolve these patient concerns. Not only is this detrimental to patient care, but it can also severely affect a patient’s happiness and trust in his or her care team.

The Importance of Role-Based Communication

The need for a nurse to reach out to a specific provider is often unnecessary in modern healthcare. Rather, nurses usually just need a response from whomever is currently filling a role in a specific specialty in order to make medical decisions and continue patient care.

This idea of role-based communication is critical to transforming care team efficiency and coordination. By driving their inquiries to a role instead of a specific person, nurses can reach out to whoever is scheduled for a specialty (i.e Cardiologist on call) for their clinical questions.

Since nurses can receive patient information in a real-time capacity, role-based communication can improve patient outcomes and literally save lives. Nurses then can spend more time with their patients and gain a better understanding of the patient and their needs.

With better patient outcomes, role-based communication strategies can also:

  • Increase patient satisfaction which can directly impact the health system’s HCAHPS
  • Improve provider ratings
  • Decrease length of stay

Beyond enabling better nurse-to-provider workflows, role-based communication is also important to establishing quick care teams. In traumatic, time-sensitive situations, like a heart attack, it is often necessary to mobilize critical care teams quickly. By taking a role-based approach, hospitals can create teams quickly based on availability and filling the roles of the team.

Powering Role-Based Communication

In order for role-based communication to succeed, hospitals need to move beyond outdated paging systems and static EHRs. Instead, hospitals that are looking to implement role-based communication strategies must adopt cloud-based clinical communication platforms across their care teams.

Cloud-based clinical communication platforms, like Halo’s Clinical Collaboration Platform, provide the technology and infrastructure for clinicians to send and receive information in real-time. They also show the real-time status and availability of every nurse and provider within the system. This is far more efficient than looking at a standard print-out.  These can quickly become outdated and inaccurate almost as soon as they’re posted.

Cloud-based clinical communication platforms can use this real-time information to connect a nurse with an available provider automatically. Without requiring any additional work on the nurse’s or specialist’s end, inquiries arrive in the hands of an available and appropriate provider quicker than a pager ever could. Responses to inquiries move just as fast.

This leads to better role-based workflows, which can look something like this:

  1. A nurse reaches out via the cloud-based clinical communication platform to the hospitalist on-call
  2. The platform’s system automatically finds the right hospitalist without needing any human interaction
  3. The provider receives the nurse’s inquiry
  4. The hospitalist can respond back quickly, working with the nurse to find a solution in real-time

The superior role-based capabilities of cloud-based clinical collaboration platforms make them perfect for making sure patients have follow-up appointments planned. Case managers can better coordinate a patient’s discharge by having easy, up-to-date access to their entire care team. This allows them to keep track that the patient is progressing through their treatment. That forward momentum helps to keep their stay as short as possible.  This is ideal for both the patient and the provider.

The Future of Communication

At Halo Health, we know that our industry is always evolving. With years of healthcare experience at both the clinical and technical level, Halo works closely with hospitals and providers to help them achieve better care team communication workflows.

Halo’s Clinical Collaboration Platform enhances care team coordination, protects provider’s bottom lines, and improves patient outcomes through streamlined critical communications.

Learn more about the Halo Platform or request a demo to see if it works for your enterprise.