Message sent: healthcare organizations need new, secure communication platforms

Jun 12, 2017

In today’s healthcare environment, care providers struggle with outdated and inefficient communication technologies that slow down workflows and jeopardize the safety of patients. A new report, titled, “High-value, complex clinical workflows require enhanced communications capabilities,” issued by Imprivata, in collaboration with the Spyglass Consulting Group, revealed that 95% of hospitals believe clinical communication is inefficient during the patient discharge process. Survey respondents, 20 clinical informatics thought leaders at leading hospitals and health organizations across the U.S., expressed concerns about care coordination, team collaboration, provider productivity, and patient safety.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Coordinating external resources: Eighty-five percent of hospitals surveyed expressed concerns about the communication challenges with coordinating external community-based resources required to support patients, family members, and caregivers post discharge.
  • Reconciling patient medications: Forty-five percent of hospitals surveyed expressed concerns about the communication and coordination complexities required to accurately identify and resolve potential conflicts for all patient medications prescribed or taken before, during, and after hospitalization.
  • Collaborating with care team members: Eighty percent of hospitals surveyed expressed concerns about the difficulties communicating and collaborating with members of multi-disciplinary teams.

Last week, we sat down with Claire Reilly, Clinical Workflow Specialist at Imprivata and previous Charge Nurse at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), to discuss her experiences with outdated communication technologies and how they can negatively impact clinical workflows and patient satisfaction.

What communication methods have you seen clinicians use?

“A pager is the number one method that I have seen. I have also used Vocera, Motorola phones, and overhead speakers.”

How have you seen these burden providers and affect clinical workflows?

“With pagers, I am not sure if another clinician has received my message or if they are going to answer it. They are very inconsistent as there is no confirmation of whether or not the message is sent and received. There is a huge anticipation there. With Vocera, the problem is the unprotected and overheard communication. The messages are intrusive and interrupting to other patients and clinicians. With Motorola phones, there are connectivity issues and batteries can die. They also do not have a log detail that shows a record of a conversation between two clinicians. That turns into a “he said, she said” type of conversation. Lastly, overhead systems negatively affect patient satisfaction, especially during a night shift, because the noise can be heard by everyone trying to sleep.”

How have these affected team collaboration?

“Clinicians do not want to feel that they are interrupting another clinician’s time with a patient, which is most important during the care process. Consistent communication is key, but is not always guaranteed with these outdated methods.”

How can this jeopardize the safety and security of patients?

“Pagers are inconsistent and delay the patient care process. They also do not have a security lock so if a clinician puts their pager down, we don’t know who is picking that pager up next. With Vocera, patients can hear other patients’ personal health information. Similarly to overhead, there is no confidentiality and no guarantee that someone else is not listening in on the calls.”

What should healthcare organizations be looking for when implementing a new communications platform to address these issues?

“Clinicians need efficiency, security of patient health information (PHI), convenience, confirmation of sent and received messages, and the ability to securely send pictures whether it be of a wound or an X-ray. Organizations should be looking for a secure messaging application that is easy to adopt and can work across multiple devices.”

Imprivata Cortext® is the secure communications platform that enables healthcare organizations to improve care coordination, inside and outside the hospital. More specifically, Imprivata Cortext allows healthcare delivery organizations to:

  • Replace pagers and improve provider productivity with a secure messaging platform that enables communication across any desktop, tablet or mobile device
  • Easily coordinate care across employed and affiliated providers, and across multiple healthcare organizations, reducing readmissions and maximizing reimbursements
  • Improve patient safety and satisfaction with more time by patients’ bedsides, enabled by easy, real-time access to patient information

For more information on the adverse effects of inefficient communication technologies, register for Imprivata’s live webinar that will provide more details on the findings of the report on June 21, 2017. Details and sign-up information can be found here