In healthcare, there is so much information, so little time and so many channels to choose from. Today, communications in healthcare organizations is often a confusing mixture of legacy phone systems, web-based programs, personal devices and ordinary desktop computers.
Simplifying these systems so that essential information flows easily to the appropriate person – regardless of whether they’re a healthcare professional, patient or staff member – is crucial to positive clinical outcomes.
In the past, care was focused on acute illness, but today it increasingly targets preventative and maintenance health. To achieve this, medical colleagues need to work closely and collaborate across the care continuum. With healthcare systems under more and more pressure, you can’t afford to waste time or resources.
Seamless collaboration between healthcare professionals
Yet, communication failures inhibit collaboration and hurt both clinical outcomes and productivity.
- Between 2009 and 2013, more than 30 percent of malpractices cases were believed to result directly from communication problems.
- Healthcare teams spend at least 25 percent of their time on communications-based activities, yet traditional voice-only call attempts fail 85 percent of the time.
- Care teams lose an average of 19 minutes per hour due to patient transfer delays caused by communications bottlenecks.
- Critical care nurses are interrupted 15 times an hour due to a lack of control over how and when they can be reached
- Communications issues are the most common root cause of serious and preventable patient harm events.
It’s all too clear that our healthcare communications and collaboration systems are in need of some significant healing.
With cloud communications, staff members across the system, from the hospital to a physician’s office to a rehab facility, can collaborate more efficiently. All devices connect via a single, web-based interface. Reducing workflow drag between clinicians results in better patient outcomes, which in turn leads to higher reimbursement rates. Here are some of the ways cloud communications support clinical collaboration:
- Clinical staff communicate via virtual rooms and individual dashboards using HIPAA-compliant messaging, video, task management and file-sharing tools. Holding a conference call is as simple as sitting down at a computer or looking at a smartphone.
- Presence technology enables staff to locate clinicians and determine their availability. No more phone tag – messages get to the right person. Customized voice and SMS capabilities improve communications latency between clinicians.
- When physicians can easily access all patient records, collaboration is more informed and productive. The result is fewer repeated tests, better information and quicker care for the patient.
- Medical IoT devices can transmit health data to a patient’s entire medical team, which can then initiate a video conference in order to collaborate and determine the best treatment options.
Want To Learn More About Improving Health Outcomes? Check Out Our Healthier Communications For Healthier Patients Infographic. >
Access data more easily for better productivity
When patients and healthcare staff use a variety of communications channels to access data – like web portals, IVR phone systems, personal health devices and smartphones – interactions are more efficient.
Think of it this way: What if your contact center agents could securely view information from a patient’s EHR database, including their history, their physician and other pertinent data? What if they could then quickly dial out to the appropriate professional or department to help the patient? With a cloud communications system, representatives can connect with anyone in the system simply by clicking their phone number and making the call.
When HealthEast, a large healthcare system in St. Paul, Minn., upgraded to a cloud communications solution, it saw a 20 percent increase in agent productivity and a 6 percent downtick in abandon rates. Its contact center call volume decreased because of a more intuitive design and more self-service usage.
The new system allows agents to communicate via multiple channels, including voice, web and chat. It supports blended agents, and also provides more advanced IVR, data-directed routing, screen pop, call backs and end-to-end reporting. In fact, HealthEast saw a 30 to 40 percent increase in accounts receivable productivity from patients using the new IVR system. In addition, nurse scheduling and staffing improved when HealthEast began sending out SMS notifications whenever it needed professionals to fill in on short notice.
Technology strengthens clinical collaboration
Clinicians have more tools to improve clinical outcomes than ever before. The challenge is making those technological tools work seamlessly. Cloud communications enables healthcare professionals to collaborate no matter the device or location on a single, intuitive interface.