Communications is critical to the patient experience

by Molly True and Scott Yelton
June 06, 2018

It’s like the telephone game you played as a child, where the message is not the same message you started with. It is fun seeing how confused the message gets when it gets to the last person but not so amusing when poor communications puts patients at risk. Like the telephone game, communications between Healthcare providers can get garbled as the hand-offs and care transitions increase. 57% of high-severity or harm were provider-provider communications according to the CRICO Strategies National CBS Report. Provider-provider communications breakdowns were more likely to result in a malpractice payment than provider-patient communication failures. It is not surprising that 51% of physicians are burned out according to the Studer Group study with the burden that is put on them. Communications should be easier! To set them up for success doctors and all clinicians need better tools to facilitate improved communication and collaboration.

Where do you start? Here are three things that you can do to provide clinicians better tools to communicate and collaborate.

  1. Identify the Problem
    Identify that the collaboration between your clinicians could be better and they need tools to help facilitate that collaboration. First step to recovery is identifying you have a problem. When agreeing to a common definition of your communication challenges, you also need to involve physician partners in agreeing to that problem definition. When physicians are involved from the beginning, getting them to adopt those new tools will be less of a challenge.
  2. Standardize on Collaboration Tools
    Involve your physician and clinical partners in the solution as well. Ensure you have agreed on the types of collaboration tools you will use to improve communications and standardize across practices where possible.  This will drive a consistent approach and increase accessibility and ease of use.  Identify collaboration tools for clinicians that allows for mobility, ease of directory lookup by role, and ability to integrate to other systems to provide seamless integration into the clinical workflow.
  3. Ease the burden of Administration
    Your organization is most concerned with taking care of patients, consider leaving the administration, maintenance and ongoing operations of the communications infrastructure to a trusted partner. A cloud based provider is recommended to meet these objectives based on robust network, flexibility and management options.  You also need to consider your network infrastructure and ensure your network infrastructure is sized and optimized for cloud applications. Finally, ensure the provider you choose enables HIPAA compliance requirements and are willing to provide a BAA.

Ready for better clinical collaboration

We would welcome the opportunity to learn about your organization’s goals and discuss ways your organization can continue to improve communications between your clinicians.

Molly True and Scott Yelton

Molly True’s Bio: Molly True is Healthcare Marketing Specialist at Windstream focused on the Healthcare Industry. She has previous experience at Avaya as Senior Healthcare Marketing Manager. She holds a CAHIMS (Certified Associate in Health Information & Management Systems) from HIMSS and is a national member of HIMSS. Molly has her MBA from Meredith College and her BS in Computer Science from Appalachian State University. She also has product management, service product management, and product marketing experience.

Scott Yelton’s Bio: Scott Yelton is head of product management for OfficeSuite at Windstream, responsible for management of growth and lifecycle for the company’s leading UCaaS. He has over 21 years of experience in the telecommunications industry. Prior to Windstream, Scott was Director of Product Development and Strategy for both EarthLink and Deltacom, where he had also led Sales Engineering. He began his career in telecom in sales and sales management roles for Sprint and BTI Communications. Scott is a graduate of Appalachian State University with a degree in marketing & management.