Five recommendations to improve clinical communication

Key moments in healthcare. For example, a patient experiencing a stroke has less chance of functional independence and an increased likelihood of death with delayed treatment. The same is true for heart attacks, sepsis, and many other conditions: time is of the essence.

“Faster response means better outcomes in terms of quality and cost of care,” said Will O’Connor, MD, Director of Health Information (CMIO), TigerConnect. The key to faster response times is an effective clinical communication system. “Real-time, contextual clinical communication is the gold standard,” he notes.

On the other hand, poor clinical communication leads to negative patient outcomes, inefficient workflow, and clinician burnout. “The root cause analysis showed that the majority of errors that harm patients are caused by communication errors,” says O’Connor.

For all of these reasons – impacting patient care, care collaboration, and physician experience – effective clinical communication is key to the success of healthcare organizations (HCOs). . O’Connor shared five recommendations to help HCOs improve clinical communication.

first. Do not use EHR for clinical communication. EHRs are essential to hospital operations and most include a communication feature. However, O’Connor said, it is wrong to rely on EHRs for clinical communication. EHRs are not designed to provide the real-time, contextual communication that clinicians need. In addition, the EHR system excludes care team members outside the hospital system, such as primary care physicians in private practice or family caregivers. Finally, EHR communication features are often difficult to access and use – which is why many clinicians offer alternatives. “The most successful implementations of clinical communication technology replicate the consumer communication experience,” said O’Connor. “That’s something the EHR can’t do.” However, a well-designed clinical communication system not only replicates the consumer’s communication experience in an easy-to-use manner, but also adds value with features that support privacy, security, and privacy. care collaboration.

2. Use one clinical communication platform across the organization. “When an organization decides which clinical communication system they will use, they need to roll it out across the organization and make it mandatory for everyone to use it,” he said. Once an effective clinical communication system is in place, “evidence of improvement rapidly becomes so overwhelming that no reasonable person can deny it is the right thing to do.” . In other words, the mandatory use of the app for communication between care teams gives the system an opportunity to demonstrate its benefits and indispensability to all stakeholders.

3. Get rid of the pager. “The healthcare industry is the only major industry that still relies on this outdated technology,” he points out. Pagers are expensive, inefficient, and disruptive to the patient and physician experience. Furthermore, they are an unreliable means of communication as there is no way to verify if the recipient has received the page or when they can reply. O’Connor recommends replacing pager-based communication with a clinical communication system that uses Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi-based systems may include default settings that indicate whether the recipient has received the notification, as well as whether they have seen the notification. This supports transparency in communication. This approach assumes that the organization will conduct Wi-Fi coverage assessments across all facilities to identify and remediate dead spots. This not only ensures the clinical communication system will work, but that all Wi-Fi-dependent tools – such as EHR – are also supported.

4. Summary of clinician’s on-call schedule. Most health systems have a variety of ways to document the calling clinician, from Excel spreadsheets to patient room whiteboards.

“The question, ‘Who is covering this patient?’ O’Connor said. “And it’s not just about the on-call doctor, it’s about who’s covering from a nursing perspective, who’s the nurse manager, who’s the physiotherapist, etc.” Consolidation and digitization of services Call scheduling and making them accessible through the clinical communication system can lead to greater efficiency and better and faster decision making. “This is an area of ​​opportunity for everyone,” he stressed.

5. Start now. “Nurse and doctor burnout is at an all-time high,” O’Connor pointed out. “Installing a clinical communication system that ensures the right information reaches the right people in real time has a profoundly positive impact on the caregiver experience and helps improve stress and burnout. “

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