Importance and Benefits of Collaboration in Healthcare

Modern healthcare works like a team sport, especially in healthcare provider organizations and hospitals. The typical inpatient experience involves several health professionals who have to work together to deliver quality care and strive for a stellar patient experience. Except, how much are they all actually working together? Unless all involved healthcare professionals have regular meetings or secure digital communication tools, the answer is probably ‘not much’.

Now that’s a problem because as medicine becomes more specialized with every passing year, care teams become more complex, and interprofessional collaboration in healthcare becomes more important and at the same time, more challenging than ever. Critical questions pop up from this such as what is interprofessional collaboration in healthcare? Why should it be a priority for an organization? What hospital communication technology can help a healthcare team stay connected across health professions, shifts and even locations?

Let’s explore these questions and find out how Hucu can become the much-needed bridge in the gap of healthcare communication. Hucu is a HIPAA compliant free text messaging application that makes communication and collaboration between healthcare professionals, patients, and families seamless.

What Is Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare?

The World Health Organization explains it as “multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds work[ing] together with patients, families, carers (caregivers), and communities to deliver the highest quality of care.”

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation talks about the inherent power struggles and necessary culture changes in its definition of interprofessional collaboration in healthcare:

“Effective interprofessional collaboration promotes the active participation of each discipline in patient care, where all disciplines are working together and fully engaging patients and those who support them, and leadership on the team adapts based on patient needs … It fosters respect for the disciplinary contributions of all professionals.” 

Interprofessional collaboration in healthcare is not a new concept. Back in 1972, the Institute of Medicine called for team-based patient care as a way to improve patient outcomes and safety. The idea became a trending topic in 2009 and since then the World Health Organization has stressed the need for interprofessional education as a way to improve the quality of care for patients and global health populations.

What Are The Benefits of Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare and Why Should It be a Priority for Organizations?

Interprofessional collaboration in healthcare is essential because when organizations create a collaborative culture and deploy communication strategies and technology like Hucu in place to support that culture, several benefits can be reaped.

Now Families Can Get Frequent and Instant Updates About Their Loved One From Healthcare Staff

Improved Patient Care and Outcomes

Let’s look at a hypothetical example. A patient walks into the emergency department with chest pains. An ED doctor takes a look at him followed by a cardiologist who asks for some tests and waits on them from the radiologist, who confirms what both doctors were suspecting: the patient is having a heart attack.

After the emergency surgery, the patient spends a day in the ICU, where a team of nurses cares for him in 12-hour shifts after which he is transferred into a cardiac unit. He meets with his new team of rotating nurses over there. Every morning throughout his stay, a primary doctor stops during the rounds. So does the cardiologist and if the patient has diabetes and COPD, an endocrinologist and pulmonologist also make rounds. Depending on the patient’s recovery and lifestyles, other healthcare professionals like physical therapists, dieticians, and social workers may get involved.

Each one of these professionals will have a unique perspective and valuable insights about the patient. All of them will notice different symptoms and consider various possibilities. Together, they can have a more comprehensive and coherent view of the patient. However, these people are rarely in the same room. They may share data via EHRbut they will lack a way to communicate in real-time.

However, in order to truly bring together all the healthcare professionals involved in a patient’s care, the hospital needs to have a hospital communication technology like Hucu in place. Hucu allows the care teams to communicate and collaborate seamlessly and securely on the go or at the point of care through text and even video. Healthcare professionals can collaborate about a specific patient in a channel in which only relevant staff members can be ‘invited to join in’. Care teams can share their observations at each round and update the whole channel so that the next doctor can have those perspectives in mind when checking out the patient. It will improve the quality of care immensely.

Reduce Medical Errors and Save Hospital Costs Through Better Communication Via Hucu

Reduce Medical Errors

It is a fact that in healthcare, communication gaps can create costly consequences – from missed symptoms to misdiagnoses to medication errors. According to Johns Hopkins, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S and such errors can cause 250,000 deaths each year.

EHR notes help but clinical communication becomes crucial. That means having a group conversation, looping in all-important staff members like pharmacists to ensure nurses have the information they need to treat patients safely. Studies have shown that interprofessional collaboration in healthcare can help reduce preventable adverse drug reactions and decrease death rates.   

Hucu is a single platform for interprofessional collaboration so that healthcare professionals can keep each other updated with patient’s developments so that chances of errors can be reduced. When a nurse knows that she can contact the primary doctor any time of the day in an urgent situation on Hucu, she is more likely to not make a decision on her own that could risk a patient’s life.

Start Treatment Faster

Much of healthcare can be a waiting game in which patients wait for physicians, while physicians wait for other healthcare professionals to provide consultations or f to send back lab results.

Communication delays can frustrate patients and waste valuable time in which a patient’s condition can worsen. This is the primary reason why the Joint Commission lists ‘improve staff communication” and ‘get important test results to the right staff person on time” as a National Patient Safety Goal.

Again, Hucu can bridge these interprofessional collaboration gaps with its communication technology and specific features. Hucu can keep care team members connected to that they can reach out to the physician who has not entered notes into the EHR. Hucu can allow healthcare professionals to tag urgent messages and notifications which means that care team members can receive a text as soon as lab results are in. 

Reduce Inefficiencies in Healthcare Costs

Interprofessional collaboration in healthcare helps to prevent medication errors, improve the patient experience, and deliver better outcomes. All of these can drastically reduce healthcare costs. Hospitals can save money by shoring up workflow redundancy and operational inefficiencies. By deploying the interprofessional collaboration model between nurses and physicians through telehealth technologies like Hucu, hospitals can cut their fall rate in half and decrease the average length of stay. It can also help to increase discharges before noon by 20% according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study of 20 hospitals. Interprofessional collaboration can also significantly improve surgical start times.

Improve Staff Relationships and Job Satisfaction

Every health profession has its own subculture, knowledge base, and philosophy. When organizations add power structures, some members’ voices can get prioritized over others. That does not work in favor of the patient or for the staff morale.

Interprofessional collaboration levels the playing field and acknowledges that everyone is playing a vital role on the care team. The sense of community and camaraderie can boost staff retention and recruitment. Hucu has an exclusive feature to highlight star performers and to recognize a team members’ effort through “Hucu Honor Points”. This helps highlight hard-working staff members and create transparency in their recognition.

Empowering Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare With a Mobile Solution

Workers in all industries are more connected than ever. Whether they need a face-to-face conversation with a colleague across the country through video conferencing or they want to text updates to a customer – all they need is a smartphone. Many healthcare professionals have this experience everywhere except work. Because their employers have not invested in a HIPAA compliant communication platform they are still dependent on outdated technology like landlines, pagers, and fax machines. Hucu is a FREE HIPAA Compliant text messaging application that hospitals can use to solve communication problems.

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