How Can Healthcare Organizations Implement Patient-Centered Care?

Implement Patient-Centered Care

 

Visiting hospitals can be an intimidating experience. As a result, virtually every hospital is giving priority to delivering quality patient-cared care and support today. By doing so, they go beyond paying attention to each individual’s unique health requirements. Physicians must set their minds and culture to thinking of their patients as people versus just as their diagnoses or complaints. 

 

They also consider the physical, mental, emotional, social, and mental health aspects of that person’s well-being to achieve optimal health outcomes. It is a holistic approach that calls for active participation and collaborative decision-making from both patients and care teams.

Hucu.ai facilitates effective team communication in Healthcare

So, how does it work? Practitioners begin with anticipating the fear, anxiety, or frustration that patients may experience when receiving care. They put their patients at the forefront of everything they do and reassure them at every stage to maximize comfort levels. Now, with smart technology and modern information delivery tools becoming increasingly accessible, the possibilities of providing end-to-end care as well as treatment are virtually endless. Examples include telehealth, digital appointment scheduling apps, virtual check-ins, and patient portals that are emerging as key technologies in the healthcare industry. These are all about delivering great experiences.

For instance, imagine a situation in which patients become worried when they cannot connect with anyone from a hospital from a phone. Or, what about having to wait for doctors in the exam room when they want immediate attention? This is where digital healthcare solutions streamline processes and expedite the amount of time it takes for physicians to see their patients or communicate with them. 

Here is the question: How can healthcare organizations implement patient-centered care to achieve higher rates of patient engagement and satisfaction? Let’s find out next. 

Develop Meaningful Relationships

Building and nurturing a patient-provider relationship is an important part of patient-centered care. Clinicians must gain their patients’ trust and utilize a shared-decision making model so that everyone can work together to achieve the desired outcomes. This includes practicing empathy and active listening, being mindful of past medical history (PMH), treating patients with respect and dignity, and demonstrating sensitivity to their cultural values. Simply encouraging patients to share their feelings and talk about their families, hobbies, or interests helps them feel at ease. Doing so communicates your desire to know more about them as a person and not only a patient. Also, let’s not forget the importance of keeping one’s word and meeting expectations to build rapport with patients.

Alleviate Fear & Anxiety

Medical practices often involve patients who are fearful of the unknown, of being humiliated, and of being helpless or vulnerable. Caregivers should focus on patient anxiety over physical disability, prognosis, the emotional impact of illness on themselves and their family, as well as the financial impact of their treatment. This means exploring a patient’s fear of being unable to pay high medical fees, dealing with a disappointing clinical outcome, and having to stay in a hospital environment. 

To address all these, health specialists should promote a culture of collaboration and open communication where patients participate in the care delivery process. This will enable practitioners to personalize care plans and strategies that align with patient needs, preferences, as well as lifestyles. For instance, traditionally, nurses specializing in treating overweight patients with diabetes would simply hand over meal plans and exercise regimen without consulting first. 

They would then tell their patients the changes they must make and why. In a patient-centered approach, both sides brainstorm and identify activities that match patient lifestyles. This builds a positive relationship, enables more informed decision-making, and better supports health goals as patients are more likely to follow their healthcare provider’s recommendations.

Offer End-To-End Services

Successful healthcare institutions adopt several approaches to delivering patient-centered care that works in the best interests of both parties. Doctors and nurses should make hourly rounds to conduct a range of duties. These include checking on patients, administering pain medicines, performing therapies, addressing bathroom needs, positioning them comfortably in bed, and ensuring that personal belongings are within reach. 

 

On admission, patients must receive a file with important information that will be of use when they leave, such as symptoms to look out for, duration of medications, etc. Nurses should make post-discharge phone calls to check on the status of patients and offer self-care instructions. 

 

It is also necessary to implement bedside shift reports in the presence of the patient and their family so they can ask questions, verify information, and clarify any concerns. Care boards in patient rooms must list data including new and existing medications, tests, and methods of contacting practitioners. Last but not least, hospitals have to benchmark standards of performance for staff to follow. These consist of responding proactively to patients and understanding how to address complaints or concerns as well as emergency situations. 



Offer End-To-End Services

Technological advancements contribute to the success of patient-clinician relationships. Younger patients, in particular, are open to embracing technology as an integral part of their medical care. Tools to improve patient-centered communication include mobile apps, online portals, and dictation software that reduces the time physicians spend on documenting and communicating, freeing them up for face-to-face interactions with patients. 

With remote monitoring tools, patients can monitor their health at home and minimize unnecessary visits to the doctor’s office. This is a convenient alternative for patients with chronic illnesses as systems can monitor their health from a safe distance while remote health centers receive all the data. Telehealth is another effective method of progressing in healthcare through the use of digital communication and information technology. It is especially helpful for patients requiring timely access to health-related services in remote locations. They can easily use their PCs or smartphones to meet virtually with doctors and save the money they would otherwise spend on commuting. This is where Hucu.ai comes in as a leading, easy-to-use, and intuitive healthcare solution. 

Essentially, Hucu.ai is a free, secure, and encrypted HIPAA compliant texting app designed to deliver communications to patients, their families, and approved collaborators in a given moment remotely. It eliminates the red-tape associated with managing phone tags, voicemails, texts, and missed connections, allowing healthcare practitioners to focus on what they do best: provide care. Hucu.ai also integrates features that help healthcare organizations and patients coordinate for COVID-related services, including automating test results notifications, coordinating patient-care remotely, and more. 

To learn more about what Hucu.ai can do for you and how it tackles healthcare-related communication challenges, get in touch with our team. Or, sign up now to get started immediately!

 

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Benefits of Secure Communication in Healthcare

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From the debate over smartphones to ongoing concerns about corporate data breaches, information security is something that touches every entity from government officials to corporate CEOs to consumers. However, it is of utmost concern when it comes to healthcare. 

The very sensitive nature of personal health information along with the imperative for constant, easy and mobile communication among healthcare professionals and organizations is presenting a unique challenge for the entire industry. Add in healthcare information privacy laws and other regulations, and it all gets even more complex.

In today’s healthcare industry, outdated and low-security methods of communication are not cutting it anymore. Hospitals, physicians and insurance facilities are adopting different secure messaging apps for healthcare internal needs. Such applications are modeled after the simplicity of consumer instant messaging solutions and are built to be HIPAA compliant. This means that the medical staff can share important, sensitive patient information without the risk of data theft, security breaches and regulatory noncompliance.

Many healthcare professionals and organizations are using HIPAA-compliant text messaging solutions. These applications are a great help for doctors, nurses and other hospital staff in streamlining the efficiency of their patient care. The apps also help them improve workflows; minimize interruptions and many other benefits. In addition, a single dedicated communications platform can help the staff communicate with each other more effectively, and quickly outside of work while still being HIPAA compliant and avoiding steep fines.

To avoid data breaches, companies are employing strategies for keeping data as secure as possible and a top priority. Healthcare data breaches have been steadily increasing in frequency and severity since 2010, according to HealthITSecurity. Breaches can be damaging in many ways, impacting patient care as well as the bottom line. An annual study by the Ponemon Institute and ID Experts found that the average cost of a data breach for a healthcare provider is around $2.2 million and $1 million for a business associate. Overall, healthcare data breaches have cost the industry about $6.2 billion.

Those surveyed for the study attributed the rise in healthcare data breaches to “the sensitivity of health-related information and the large number of ‘data touch’ points, such as different healthcare employees or third parties accessing patient information.” The study revealed that almost 70 percent of providers believe that the healthcare industry is at a greater risk for data security incidents than any other industry.

So how can sensitive patient data be protected in such an environment? A key aspect of data security is encryption. Used in concert with administrative policies addressing authentication, data retention and HIPAA business associate agreements, encryption can be a powerful tool for shielding data. But what exactly is it, and how can it be implemented?

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, encryption is the “conversion of plaintext to ciphertext through the use of a cryptographic algorithm. The process involves “combining the contents of a message (‘plaintext’) with a secret password (the encryption ‘key’) in such a way that scrambles the content into a totally new form (‘ciphertext’) that is unintelligible to unauthorized users.

Hucu.ai is a HIPAA compliant, free text messaging application for the healthcare industry that uses encryption technology for secure communication. We at Hucu know that hospitals, physician practices and healthcare organizations need to manage tasks swiftly and efficiently. So we created an entirely HIPAA-compliant, secure, user-friendly messaging solution that enhances internal communications.

In a nutshell, our enterprise-grade platform allows you to send attachments and multimedia files to colleagues so you can share whatever you need, when you need it. Our secure messaging app is BYOD-enabled, saving your organization thousands in equipment and hardware costs.

Three Reasons To Make the Switch to a Secure Messaging App like Hucu.ai

Healthcare organizations thrive on efficiency. With thousands of patients to serve, an organization can’t afford to have a lax communication strategy that would slow down processes. So why slow things down with antiquated pages and PA systems? The best Secure Messaging App in Healthcare like Hucu allows your hospital, practice or healthcare office to run at its maximum efficiency, while simultaneously delivering tangible benefits to your organization:

Increase the Security and Efficiency of Internal Communication With Hucu

Total Compliance: HIPAA mandates were amended to include the use of instant messaging technology. Hospitals and healthcare organizations that don’t comply face a $50,000 fine for a single infraction, and up to $1.5 million for repeated violations. A secure messaging app like Hucu is built with HIPAA compliance in mind, saving your organization lofty non-compliance fees.

Increased Productivity: It’s impossible to share patient information efficiently when relying on slow computers and pagers. Secure instant messaging apps like Hucu allows doctors, nurses and office personnel, even across organizations with different EHRs, to share sensitive information like patient X-rays, prescribed medications, chart and more. Hucu is a solution that deploys high-grade encryption that safely guards electronic protected health information (ePHI) during transmission.

Cost-Efficiency: Outfitting your organization with multiple devices can get expensive fast. When you implement a secure messaging app like Hucu, employees can download it directly to their personal mobile device. To guarantee everyone on staff has unhindered access to the messaging platform, Hucu is the perfect solution that is Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) enabled, and is compatible with both iOS and Android operating systems.

Three Ways a Secure Messaging App Can Help Medical Staff Improve Patient Outcomes

Apart from the three reasons why you should switch to a secure messaging application right away, there are three more ways that secure messaging can actually help you improve patient outcomes. These are the three most important benefits of secure messaging

 Increased efficiency for better patient care: a 2014 study by the Ponemon Institute showed that a lack of real-time, asynchronous communication methods had a dramatic impact on the efficiency of hospital workforces. Time was wasted during 3 of the most critical patient workflows – emergency response, admissions, and transfers. It was found that this inefficiency cost the hospital more than $1.7 million yearly.

But by applying real-time messaging services, this hospital reduced the amount of time spent on their 3 critical workflows by 57% – thereby saving money and more importantly saving time, thus allowing providers to spend more time caring for patients and driving better patient outcomes.

Fewer errors: many hospital communication structures can lead to interruptions – and errors. Pages and phone conversations often require a task to be interrupted, and errors caused by interruptions are one of the leading causes of death in clinical settings. A dedicated messaging app like Hucu provides clear, focused, real-time communication – but eliminates the need for an immediate response by giving an option. This allows doctors, nurses, and staff to communicate more effectively, but avoid interruptions that could lead to potentially life-threatening errors.

Shorter hospital stays: a study conducted in Philadelphia showed that secure messaging applications allowed hospitals to treat patients more effectively, and reduce the overall time they stayed in the hospital by around 14%. This means that hospitals can provide better patient outcomes, save money on their bottom line, and free up more beds for patients who are in need.

These 3 benefits alone can result in huge cost-savings, massively increased hospital capacity, and a better overall level of patient care.

If you’re interested in the benefits of a secure, HIPAA compliant secure messaging system, Hucu.ai is a perfect choice. We provide rapid, secure, documented text-based communication to hospitals, and our cloud-based technology ensures that you always have access to our services when you need them the most. We help you gain all the benefits of secure communication in healthcare while increasing your processes efficiency. 

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Importance and Benefits of Collaboration in Healthcare

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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.ai can become the much-needed bridge in the gap of healthcare communication. Hucu.ai 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.ai 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.ai in place. Hucu.ai 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.ai

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.ai 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.ai, 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.ai can bridge these interprofessional collaboration gaps with its communication technology and specific features. Hucu.ai can keep care team members connected to that they can reach out to the physician who has not entered notes into the EHR. Hucu.ai 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.ai, 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.ai 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.ai is a FREE HIPAA Compliant text messaging application that hospitals can use to solve communication problems.

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Hucu is Solving Healthcare Communication Problems On Three Fronts

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Technology is playing an important role in delivering quality healthcare today. Healthcare professionals including doctors, consultants, and nurses are fully engaged in a radical action plan for improving healthcare all around the world through telehealth especially after COVID-19 pandemic.

While hospitals and healthcare organizations are jam-packed with coronavirus patients, other patients with chronic illnesses suffer from the lack of availability of doctors and safe spots in the hospitals to see them or care for them. 

Telehealth brings a solution to solve these glaring problems very easily. One of the greatest benefits of telehealth is how it makes communication easy in a remote setting. Patients can connect with their doctors being in the safety of their homes. Doctors can also protect themselves from getting exposed to coronavirus by monitoring patients remotely through telehealth. Furthermore, it increases convenience for both parties by saving travel costs and wait time. Appointments can be scheduled online and through video conference, patients can speak with their doctors. 

There are a lot of telehealth applications and solutions that help with the patient-doctor connection to choose from. Hucu is an exceptional simple HIPAA compliant text messaging application that not only helps with patient-doctor communication, it also allows families to get in touch with doctors instantly, and lastly but most importantly, it creates channels of communication within the healthcare organization for staff members. 

Hucu’s major focus is to empower doctors, patients, and families in the cycle of communication and provide them with easy to access patient-centered information from health needs to care protocols to logistical issues. 

Hucu is solving communication problems on three different fronts and has the potential to effectively manage the complexities involved in any communication:

  • Between healthcare providers and patients or patient families.
  • Among healthcare providers and in their organizations.
  • Among healthcare providers across multiple organizations and locations.

Solving Communication Problems Between Healthcare Providers and their Patients and Families

Hucu has launched a new feature in its application to make communication easy between healthcare providers and the patient’s family. Since healthcare teams can be busy, Hucu lets them efficiently communicate with the patients and families to keep everybody updated without needing phone tags, voicemails, texts, and missed connections. Hucu understands that communications can drive better care which in turn drives better patient/family satisfaction. When healthcare providers send important notifications to families on time via Hucu, it helps reduce patient/family anxiety and creates peace of mind for them. 

Hucu allows focused and organized messages as opposed to disjointed personal messages in the device app and this helps provide patients/families with the best in class experience. With Hucu, healthcare providers can assure all questions are answered in easy to field messages which promptly reduces family concerns about care. When patients/families can have more frequent updates and transparent dialogues with the healthcare providers via Hucu, it reduces potential liability by establishing trustful relationships. 

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

Several surveys have shown that patient/family satisfaction plays an important role in recommending a hospital to other people. Through Hucu, healthcare providers can ensure seamless communication across all involved care teams and this can triple patient/family satisfaction. 

How is Hucu able to do all this? Hucu replaces the need for phone calls, voicemails, and texts. ‘channel’ feature in which patients and family members can be sent a message by the healthcare provider all at once. Healthcare teams are empowered to invite or restrict specific family members to reduce noise and improve peace of mind for approved family members. Hucu helps enable easy information sharing to communicate patient history, medicine lists, advanced directive, and other important information.There are exceptional benefits for families to use Hucu. It helps them communicate with all healthcare providers that are taking care of their loved one, all at once. No need to place multiple phone calls every single time they want an update. 

Patients and families can share key patient updates like temperature, pulse, Bp, etc. with relevant care team members involved so that proper and timely decisions can be made for improved patient care. One of the greatest benefits of Hucu is its centralization of all patient communications in one place. Such sensitive data is secured on HUCU’s cloud storage so patients, families, and healthcare providers don’t have to worry about storing data on their devices or about losing it for various reasons. It can be accessed anytime, anywhere in Hucu’s HIPAA compliant environment. 

Solving Communication Problems Among Healthcare Providers And Within Their Organizations

Holding telehealth sessions between doctors and patients really helps break down all barriers of communication. Deploying telehealth solutions like Hucu is that a healthcare organization can improve its workflows and communication cycles within its hierarchy. Hucu can help healthcare organizations communicate and coordinate patient care remotely by facilitating internal communication channels. 

In a traditional setting, healthcare team members have to find each other through broadcast announcements in a hospital or contact each other through pagers in emergencies. 

Hucu Organizes Communication Among Healthcare Team Members

Hucu can help the entire healthcare organization get ‘organized’ at its workflow level. When doctors are setting up a telehealth session with their remote patients, they need updated information about the patient’s case from the staff or patient’s family members. This is especially true in a Senior Care Setting. Now gathering such information through phone calls requires time. Verbal communication over phone calls can prove erroneous as well. 

In such situations, a communication tool like Hucu can allow the doctor to gather information from the relevant staff members and family members in a specific channel in a very organized and coordinated way.

Solving Communication Problems Among Healthcare Providers Across Multiple Organizations and Locations

With Hucu, the doctor can easily gather the relevant consultants in one channel, share the patient status, and communicate a care plan. The plan can then be shared with the healthcare team on the application in which they can post notifications and updates as well. Hucu truly organizes all the steps in telehealth so that communication both within the organization and to specialists and collaborators outside the organization can be improved and quality care can be provided. 

Hucu can streamline communication between providers and facility staff by allowing them to communicate in context within each Patient-Channel, with each other in one-to-one direct messaging and within internal and/or external groups through Collaboration Channels. Another amazing feature of “distinctive notifications” helps providers tag each other or tag the entire group. 

Hospitals face open shift challenges very often and Hucu resolves this issue by allowing staff members to quickly message shift availability and get immediate response from the staff. 

In the world of healthcare, patient communication is still too sparse and often lacks transparency and the personal touch that builds trust in the care team. Telehealth solutions like Hucu are here to change that with distinctive powerful features that can optimize any healthcare provider’s practice.  

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Hucu.ai Participates in Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium, Impresses Judges

Wisconsin early stage symposium Hipaa, hucu.ai

The Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium was held virtually from 9th November to 11th November 2020. The event created an amazing opportunity for companies to interact with angel and venture investors from Wisconsin over the three-day duration of the conference. Apart from Tech Council Investor Network’s presentation tracks, the conference also hosted the popular Elevator Pitch Olympics and “Investor Intros” which offered a wonderful opportunity for entrepreneurs to introduce themselves and their innovative ideas to investors. 

It was an honor for Hucu.ai to be selected to pitch among the other early stage companies. The judges Sarah Bain, Erin Henry and Michael Thorson provided great feedback” 

– Asif Khan, CEO and Co-Founder, Hucu.ai.

Out of many young companies participating, thirty-seven companies were offered meetings with potential investors, 20 companies were given an opportunity to give recorded-five minute pitches, while only 17 were picked for the fast-moving Elevator Pitch Olympics on November 11th. Did you know that scores of companies from across the Midwest applied to present at the annual conference? Hucu is proud to be one of the selected few. Hucu and 16 others selected for the Elevator Pitch Olympics delivered 90-second pitches that were scored by a panel of investor judges. In addition to the judges’ feedback, participants also got scored by members of the audience for the selection of a second “People’s Choice” award.  Here are the participants apart from Hucu that took part in the Elevator Pitch Olympics. 

“Both Asif and I got a lot out of the conference. It sometimes seems iffy for a virtual event to deliver value, but the speakers were great and we had some encouraging conversations with venture investors.” 

– Laura McKee, COO and Co-Founder, Hucu.ai.

This virtual conference featured informative and inspiring speakers including digital media influencer Jon Jaques as well as healthcare entrepreneurs Dr. Nichole Quick and Kristi Ebong.  The Early Stage Symposium also featured panel discussions, networking, and exciting virtual opportunities to make presentations both formal and informal while allowing entrepreneurs to meet with investors, business leaders, and other like-minded entrepreneurs. 

This year’s virtual symposium built on the foundation Wisconsin Technology Council has established in recent years. Many organizations have cited participation in the conference as a key factor for impactful business growth. More than 1,000 companies have successfully presented during the conference in one way or another over recent years. Participants include entrepreneurs and investors from throughout the Midwest, particularly those hailing from the Badger state. 

The conference was organized by the Wisconsin Technology Council which is a science and technology advisor to the Governor and the Legislature. It was launched back in 2001 and was created by a bipartisan act of the governor and the Legislature. The Council is an independent, non-profit, and non-partisan board with members from tech organizations, venture capital firms, research bodies, higher education institutes, government, and law. 

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Four Stages of Healthcare Transformation to Prepare for Covid-19 Wave 2

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The coronavirus has truly upended U.S. healthcare. However, some healthcare providers, like Geisinger Health System, quickly activated emergency response plans and canceled all non-urgent procedures and clinic visits. Such healthcare systems also shifted the non-clinical workforce to work from home and saw that virtual communication with patients exploded. Because of the pandemic and the emergency created with an influx of an unexpected number of patients, healthcare systems dealt with shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and important medical equipment for the first time.

All healthcare systems have and continue to experience negative financial impacts from the coronavirus that will total to hundreds of millions of dollars. Just as healthcare systems adapt to their new reality, WHO is predicting Covid-19’s second wave in the near future.

Many aspects of how U.S. healthcare has previously worked including fee-for-service business model – were exactly the elements that left the healthcare systems vulnerable to the crippling impact of the pandemic. It is difficult for healthcare systems to get back to business as usual so they need to instead focus on creating a new normal post-pandemic. Creating the new reality means speeding up the positive transformation that is underway towards value based care, and determining which of the activities healthcare systems have stopped and should not resume.

Now is an excellent time to mobilize your team in order to boldly transform the healthcare systems for the better from learned experience in ways that previously were not possible. Healthcare systems need to take this opportunity to fix what has not worked and direct full attention to new and better goals that are centered on delivering better outcomes and creating true value for patients.

How Can Healthcare Systems Create Better Value for Patients?

Many healthcare systems are directing their focus on mitigating the impact of the coronavirus on their staff, business, and patients. Some are also paying attention to what comes next – like Geisinger – while some have formally initiated post-crisis planning just days into the pandemic by organizing a group of leaders from all parts of the organization. It is important to realize that this critical task should be viewed and executed as a strategic and operational innovation initiative, not as some damage mitigation exercise – or for the sake of restoring revenues.

Healthcare systems can create a steering group for this initiative that defines core areas of business such as HR, finance, IT, clinical enterprise, the health insurance representatives, pharmacy, and others. Workgroups can be created across each of these that are tasked with defining new approaches. Each workgroup can include leaders from outside of the workgroups’ focus. This is vital because some activities may have to be stopped to develop transformation but may be resisted by those closest to them. Outsiders can bring a neutral perspective in the discussion.

This framework presents 4 stages in the transformation.

  1. Resuming non-urgent work
  2. Beginning of the New Normal
  3. Post-crisis Activity and preparing for the second wave of Covid-19
  4. Operational and economic recovery in a transformed system

Members of the group will have to carefully consider the impact at each stage on patients and front line employees by focusing on their needs and what changes for them, and what will make them feel safe. Each activity in these different functions can be categorized as work to ‘start’, ‘continue’ or ‘stop’. The groups will have to use a scenario planning approach for the work as it cannot be assumed that the future will look like the world we knew before Covid-19. When planning exercises, the groups  develop plausible scenarios (e.g., higher reimbursement for telehealth visits) and determine the impact on patient care and the business. This way, the groups can establish common assumptions about the ‘new normal’ and how the healthcare system/organization should respond.

remote care during Covid

Stage 1: Resuming Non-Urgent Work

Most healthcare organizations are resuming their systems. Stages 2 to 4 where innovation and transformation are crucial are the main focus of this blog. In each stage, we will discuss a few examples of the scores of topics that each of the workgroups can tackle on the road to transformation.

Of course, the patients’ and employees’ safety comes first and has been the center of attention during the crisis for most healthcare organizations. It will continue to be so when they will resume non-urgent clinical work. Covid-19 testing is crucial in preventing transmission and healthcare organizations need to validate and continue to perform in-house testing. Contact tracing is also important for containing any epidemic around the country. While this task has traditionally been given to the local and state health departments, many of those resources were spread thin during the national emergency.

Healthcare systems with resources should support the public health departments’ contact tracing as a public-private partnership. Did you know that the U.S. is falling short of the estimated 300,000 contact tracers needed? Many hospitals have the expertise to manage testing, communicating the results, and treating those who test positive. If these capabilities can include contact tracing, it would be a natural extension for many systems. It will definitely contribute to the public good and will also help reduce their own Covid-19 caseloads. Healthcare organizations that begin to perform this will also find the experience valuable if and when the second wave of Covid-19 hits. Contact testing will benefit providers, patients, and communities.

Telehealth Solutions Like Hucu Can Reduce Operational Cost for Healthcare Organizations

Stage 2: Beginning of the New Normal

During the pandemic, healthcare organizations have seen an acceleration of strategies that were previously slow to get acceptance. For example, before the coronavirus, healthcare had 50-80 telehealth visits per day. Many constraints like patient and provider reluctance and reimbursement issues in hospitals prevented the wide adoption of telehealth. However, because of the crisis now, hospitals are seeing almost 4000-5000 telehealth visits daily, half of which are video visits). Most private and government health coverage plans are now reimbursing telehealth visits at the same rate as in-person visits apart from waiving co-payments associated with these visits. What really helped in the increased adoption of telehealth visits? It is the change in the patients’ perception from ‘this provider does not think my problem is important so they are scheduling a telehealth visit for me” to “this provider cares for my safety and therefore, is seeing me via telehealth”.

Many healthcare providers saw the benefits of telehealth visits including that patients who have chronic conditions can now avoid coming to hospitals. Also, providers have a valuable view of patients’ home environments which can provide insight related to their conditions. Healthcare organizations need to plan and build this momentum and continue to expand the use of telehealth and all forms of virtual encounters even after the pandemic ends.

Telehealth solutions like Hucu are a great example of how communication and operations can be sorted out smoothly around patients, doctors, and staff of a healthcare organization. Hucu is a HIPAA compliant text messaging application that offers a platform to patients, doctors, staff, and families to stay connected remotely in a very systematic way. Doctors can check in on their patients virtually and also communicate about the patient with the care team in separate channels. The care team provides real-time updates to families of nursing home residents through Hucu. The healthcare organization can use Hucu to create operational plans following an emergency in minutes via groups. Hucu eliminates the traditional task of contacting individuals and relaying important information every time. Hucu is a complete communication solution that can save staff time up to 50%, increase work efficiency, and reduce costs for the hospitals.

Another program that can empower healthcare organizations to remotely promote and maintain patients’ health is a pharmacy organization. Organizations need to launch mail-order pharmacy which can benefit the patients. Healthcare organizations can deliver prescriptions to patients in a more efficient way and save costs. When these are passed along to the patients, they will be keener to adhere to their medication regimens. Patients can save money and avoid travel, and physical contact which can protect them and others from the spread of the virus. This will also help in wave 2 of Covid-19.

Stage 3: Post-Crisis Activity And Preparing For The Second Wave Of Covid-19

Some of the critical changes that healthcare systems have made in response to the coronavirus are likely to stay with them. For example, many allowed a great chunk of their workforce to work from home. The benefits of this shift included increased employee safety and access to an expanded talent pool since work from home employees can live and work from literally anywhere around the world. As long as the staff can effectively work from a remote location after the pandemic, healthcare organizations can anticipate potential cost savings from the elimination of leases, sale of real estate, and conversion of current administrative space to clinical space. Perhaps the healthcare organizations can work out a WFH model in which part of the workforce can WFH completely which a part can work in hybrid WFH and office-based roles.

A large part of the clinical activity will likely continue as telehealth, so healthcare organizations will have to revise a facility plan for the years ahead. Healthcare systems that had success with WFH during the pandemic can determine what proportion of their workforce could WFH permanently. This will result in decreased operational costs too.

Stage 4: Operational And Economic Recovery In A Transformed System

The fee-for-service business model of the U.S, designed with misaligned incentives that stunted care innovation before Covid-19, was destined to fail under pressure and it did. Covid-19 compounded the already present shortcomings of such an approach – particularly its reliance on maximizing elective procedures and volume in general. The crisis necessitated the quick acceleration of virtual care and care at home as hospital systems and patients deliberately reduced inpatient hospital admissions and avoided ER utilization. Virtual care and home care can reduce costs and improve patient engagement. However, these same efforts also lead to significant reductions in revenue under the present fee-for-service reimbursement scheme in healthcare.

Consequential payment reform should create funding systems that make prevention and population health – rather than maximizing reimbursement – the true focus of patient care. This will need a significant financial incentive to create alignment between value (better health outcomes at lower cost) and reimbursement. Such incentives have to be sufficient to encourage investments needed to transform the care delivery model in the healthcare industry.

Such a model will lead to improved quality of healthcare and reduce costs as more patients will get the right care in the appropriate settings. Without such a shift, U.S. healthcare systems will continue to suffer from the effects of prioritizing volume over value and will be financially exposed and vulnerable in the upcoming second wave of the pandemic just like they were in the first one.

What We Conclude

Covid-19 has caused morbidity, health complications, and devastating economic burden. It has placed a lot of strain on a national healthcare system.

There is a need to leverage the lessons learned throughout this pandemic to transform the way healthcare organizations care for patients. There is a need for private and public payers to work with healthcare systems to continue implementation of  value-based care models.

If healthcare organizations can transform the care delivery and payment systems in ways that will improve healthcare for patients, providers, and communities then we would have found the silver lining of Covid-19.

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Physicians’ Love – Hate Relationship With the EHRs

ehr alternatives

Medical practitioners and physicians are using electronic health records (EHRs) and other such technology more than ever now. However, many physicians find EHRs far from perfect. A similar concern is shared by patients and families, even those who are becoming more tech-savvy.

A report from Stanford Medicine and aHarris Poll tells us that two-thirds (63%) of primary care practitioners (PCPs) think that EHRs have paved the way to improved care but they are only somewhat satisfied with their current system. About 70% believe that EHRs have improved over the past half a decade while 40% agree that there are way more challenges with EHRs than benefits.

Other interesting findings from the study show that 49% of office-based PCPs think that using an EHR reduces their clinical effectiveness because they are distracted. About 70% said that EHRs are one of the factors that contribute to physician burnout. Only 8% believe that the primary value of their EHR is clinically related. More than half of the practitioners are of the view that EHRs require an overhaul. 72% claimed that improving the user interface of EHRs could address the challenges of EHR in the near future. About 67% of respondents think that solving interoperability deficiencies should be the top priority for EHRs in the next ten years. Staggering 90% of physicians want the EHRs to be more intuitive and responsive.

It is clear that about 3% of PCPs don’t see their EHR as a valuable system. However, they do agree that this technology can put constraints on their time, add more to their administrative burdens, and can possibly hurt their relationship with the patients.

ehr systems

It is a Thin Line Between Love and Hate

As shown in the statistics above, a love-hate relationship with EHRs is not uncommon for practitioners but there are many who love their information technology. What kind of systems could win practitioners’ approval? It is one that could involve them and other physicians in its design, one which could easily gel in or integrate into their workflow and enable access to information without multiple steps, clicks, or searches, and finally, one that frees them for direct patient care. For example, features like a voice-to-text interface could be very useful. This can enable the practitioners to focus on their conversation with the patient while the system records all the necessary information. If medical libraries are built into the application to help ensure accuracy, that could be a game-changer.

Cyber Security Concerns

Physicians now frequently read about security breaches that have affected others or they have gone through personal experience. As practice managers, one of the most important decisions they have to make is to protect patient information as well as the organizations. Therefore, one appeal of a good EHR is a two-step verification process which ensures that if a laptop or another device is stolen or lost, the practitioners do not have to worry about patient information being accessed.

Addressing HIPAA and cybersecurity should be a part of orientation for new providers. As the stories about the health system and organization cyber breaches make headlines, patients and families are becoming more aware of the security issues. At the same time, patient-generated health data from remote or wearable devices also present new opportunities for security problems.

A study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public health demonstrated that a third of patients were very concerned about a data breach or that an unauthorized individual or entity will be able to access their private data. Only 26% said they were somewhat concerned. Some patients even expressed their concern that data from their health records may be used wrongly to deny them health insurance, benefits, or job opportunities.

As this awareness grows and more family members or patients ask providers about the security of information, the need to answer them satisfactorily has arisen. Physicians need to be prepared to have these conversations. One way to do that is to bring a device to meetings with a quick run-through of how the practice’s EHR works. This can put patients, family members, team leaders, and the facility’s new members at ease.

medcial security

Other Concerns with EHRs

A survey by iHealth Beat found that physicians have identified the following EHR-related concerns which lead to their dissatisfaction:

  • Increased electronic alerts and messages
  • Interference with clinical workflows
  • Interruption of face-to-face patient care
  • Time-consuming data entry
  • Lack of interoperability with outside providers

Hucu Facilitates Telehealth Consultation Sessions

But what is interoperability? It simply means sharing patient data amongst health systems. It has become the foundation in creating an effective plan for patient care delivery. Information like referrals, lab results, precautions etc. are needed right away to understand the patient and their needs better thus impacting the value of care.

Right now most EHRs lack interoperability which the healthcare providers are not happy with. Of course, it is challenging. However, there are solutions available that take care of all the issues that the physicians have with current EHRs. These solutions offer HIPAA compliance as well as fantastic interoperability for effective patient care. Hucu.ai is one such solution. 

To improve interoperability in healthcare, Hucu.ai provides a platform of easy messaging to seamlessly exchange information among the patient’s healthcare teams so that everyone is on the same page, at the same time, accessing the same information. 

What Hucu.ai Offers

Hucu’s motto is to simplify healthcare communication by offering a patient-centered secure messaging network for providers and payers. Hucu.ai not only offers HIPAA compliant messaging for just the organization but also allows practitioners to expand this capability to their partners in a patient-centered manner. It also can be integrated into the EHR to further improve staff’s efficiencies. It comes with built-in capability that streamlines communication across different staff working in different organizations but caring for the same patients. Hucu.ai can be integrated with any technology, for example:

  • Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) Devices and Solutions
  • Chronic Care Management (CCM) Solutions
  • Transitional Care Management (TCM) Solutions
  • EHR solutions
  • ADT/Bed Management
  • Laboratory Solutions
  • Radiology/Imaging Solutions
  • Scheduling Solutions
  • Practice Management Solutions
  • Billing Solutions
  • Alarm Notification Solutions
  • EMT Solutions
  • Nurse Call Solutions
  • Paging Services and Solutions
  • Answering Services and Solutions
  • Transportation Solutions
  • GPS / Geofencing Solutions
  • Active Directory/LDAP
  • Single Sign-On (SSO) 
  • Any other solutions using FHIR, HL-7 or API based integrations

To ensure that medical practitioners and physicians are not bombarded with alerts and messages, Hucu enables them to set their status as “available” or “busy” along with custom status messages.

 

Conclusion

It may take some time before EHR systems address the concerns shared by physicians and medical practitioners. However, until then, solutions like Hucu.ai are a stepping stone towards that ultimate goal. Fully scalable, this HIPAA-compliant telehealth marvel has already increased the operational efficiency of many medical facilities. Learn more about Hucu and how it can help your organization, here.

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Healthcare: Lessons Learned from the Pandemic

covid19-remote-care

The crisis that the world is going through is total: sanitary, political, social, geopolitical, and economic. Faced with Covid-19, each country chose its strategy, reacted more or less quickly, and with more or less clarity to unparalleled health danger. The political decisions about the population containment and border closures play a vital role in the fight against the pandemic, but beyond these measures, there are some healthcare systems that appear to be better prepared than others to face Covid-19.

There are three assets which seem to predict an appropriate response to the crisis:

  • Knowing how to use health data and carry our mass screening
  • The capacity to control personal protective equipment stocks.
  • Avoiding Hospital Overcrowding by Relying on Telemedicine and Primary Care

Using Health Data to Carry Out Mass Screening

Faced with such a pandemic, targeted and rapid containment measures are very effective. This has been shown by some countries that have achieved the stratification of their populations in terms of risk levels, while other countries have made no distinction in the measures adopted. Take Taiwan for instance. It was able to effectively control the spread of the virus by cross-checking health databases with customs data from January onwards. By quickly identifying and confining those people who had traveled to high-risk areas, as well as those at higher risk from the virus, the Taiwanese authorities were able to avoid many deaths and protected the most vulnerable citizens. By mid-March, only 100 people were infected and one person died from Covid-19 in Taiwan.

To concentrate efforts, prevent the epidemic from spreading rapidly through the population and protect those most at risk of death – the elderly and the frail – health data is definitely an invaluable asset. The use of data should be accompanied by a policy of systematic screening to enable rapid and appropriate management. If countries can’t know who is sick how can they target their efforts? How can they know how many people are infected and monitor the evolution of the epidemic? How can the countries ensure that those most vulnerable are effectively protected? It is important to have enough test kits available and is a necessity to screen the entire population at a higher risk of infection or with major health risks.

The World Health Organization recommends countries to massively test the population so that they can identify clusters of sick people, in order to follow the evolution of the virus and to quarantine people who are contaminated. Comprehensive testing is critical to avoid the epidemic spread and further contamination.

The biggest challenge lies in the ability to respond quickly by concentrating resources on the populations that need it the most and to avoid hospital overcrowding and non-targeted measures that generate a great loss of energy without being effective.

Using Health Data to Carry Out Mass Screening

The Capacity To Control Personal Protective Equipment

Comprehensive use of basic personal protective equipment is important to effectively combat the spread of the virus. The Covid-19 epidemic has tragically shown how difficult it is for Europeans to access sufficient protective equipment for preventing the spread of the virus.

Masks are in short supply in pharmacies around the world and within different health facilities. Many primary care doctors around the world are not equipped despite the demonstrated usefulness of masks in preventing contaminations. It is essential to enable all healthcare professionals and vulnerable people to be equipped with masks, protective personal equipment, and hydro-alcoholic solutions to protect themselves from the virus.

The government also needs to control groups of people who are stealing stocks of personal protective equipment from healthcare facilities and selling them in black market. 

Avoiding Hospital Overcrowding By Relying On Telemedicine And Primary Care

Many countries that are hospital oriented were still not able to sufficiently use primary care in the pandemic crisis. While it is known that hospital capacity must be preserved so that it can provide care for patients most severely affected by the virus (amounting to 20% of those contaminated), primary care medicine is an essential asset for carrying out an initial selection, enabling continuity of care and preventing hospital overcrowding. Problems will arise if countries don’t quickly and clearly inform their healthcare practitioners about their role and what to do. If they don’t have the personal protective equipment like masks to deal with the epidemic, they will put themselves at risk. Such difficulties also reveal a real weakness in the public health systems of the world that generally focus on hospitals.

The use of telemedicine – a corollary of well structured ambulatory care – is also an essential asset in limiting hospital overcrowding. Telemedicine platforms exploded in China with the spread of the coronavirus. They enabled remote monitoring of contaminated patients and continuity of care for confined patients. Teleconsultations allow caregivers to protect themselves and carry out initial detections virtually by asking about the symptoms. However, low penetration of telemedicine and rapid mobilization of teleconsultation platforms constitutes a major barrier.

Hucu is a free messaging application that’s HIPAA compliant. When deployed in hospitals, it helps the staff to coordinate amongst themselves and better plan and prepare for daily activities at the hospital. It facilitates communication not just between the hospital staff but also between the doctors and the patients/family. So in cases where tele sessions are possible, Hucu can be used to monitor patients remotely and securely. It helps with lowering the number of patients visiting the hospitals and overcrowding so that hospital capacity can be reserved for severe or critical patients.

It is important to have enough acute care beds as well as ventilators to care for the most critical people in the pandemic. Countries need to look at their health systems, correlate the health data with predictive technology, and calculate the number of beds they would need in the future if they want to continue caring for incoming patients.

Hucu Facilitates Telehealth Consultation Sessions

The concept of telehealth has indeed existed for decades but it was slow to catch on. Getting patients to feel comfortable with the idea of online care and to find medical professionals who feel confident about conducting their work in a remote setting is a difficult job. But necessity is the mother of invention. With social distancing due to COVID-19, many non-urgent healthcare providers were forced to close their doors and push patients to seek care remotely. The federal government in the U.S. also empowered doctors to use telehealth to treat Medicare patients. 

Many state governments and private insurers followed by issuing policies favorable to telemedicine. The pandemic has highlighted three key lessons that provide an optimistic picture of the future of telehealth.

Telehealth Adoption IS Feasible

With barriers to entry reduced and circumstances forcing providers and patients to check out alternate ways to use healthcare services, telehealth services are scaling quickly. For example, the Cleveland Clinic logged more than 60,000 telemedicine visits in March 2020 alone. This is an average increase of 1700%. 

Healthcare experts agree that this trend will continue. After all, remote healthcare allows patients to be cared for much more efficiently. It also takes off the strain on healthcare facilities while reducing the operating costs and common healthcare-related infections. IT vendor Sykes surveyed around 2000 American adults about their perceptions of telehealth in Covid-19 and how it can affect their approach to telehealth in the future. More than half the respondents said that the pandemic has increased their willingness to try telehealth. Many of them tried telehealth services and they were satisfied with their experience and would want to schedule another telehealth visit in the future.

 

Doctors, Patients & Families Can Stay Connected Remotely & Securely With Hucu

This means that telehealth is here to stay even post Covid-19 and we will see its broader implementation in the healthcare system. There is a lot that Covid-19 changed in the healthcare system and we will probably see some of these changes to stay in future as we learn the lessons taught in the era of the pandemic.

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Strategies to Improve Nurse Physician Communication

nurse physician communication

Communication is the key to  collaborative and efficient workflow in any industry. Collaboration is a critical task in healthcare since a single patient is cared for by multiple people including technicians, nurses, physicians, and doctors. Clear, efficient communication is imperative in healthcare because a single error can lead to serious consequences for the patient.

Physician Communication

Nurse and Physician Communication

Communication between a nurse and a physician is an extremely important link in the chain of patient care. However, there are still many challenges in this era of technological advancement. The dilemma is aptly summarized by Cassandra Lee Flicek in MEDSURG Nursing:

“The lack of co-educational experiences involving the two professions possibly leads to a lack of understanding of what each profession contributes to the interdisciplinary team, and complicates communication between nurses and physicians.”

Common Challenges in Nurse-Physician Communication

Several factors affect nurse-physical communication. A study by Dr. Jennifer Tjia et al in the Journal of Patient Safety found that the most common impediments to communication between nurses and physicians are:

  • Language barriers
  • Nurse preparedness
  • Logistical problems
  • Frustration with a lack of professional respect
  • Lack of collaboration and openness

 

Learn more about improving communication using hucu.ai

Language Barriers

Nurses reported difficulty in understanding physicians due to language difficulties or accents. Jargon is also an issue. These problems prevent effective communication.

Nurse Preparedness

Some nurses felt uncomfortable in deciding what to report to the physician and almost 1/3rd of respondents said they were afraid of bothering the physician with their observations. Since nurses spend a lot of time with the patients, their observations are critical to patient care and should be communicated.

Logistical Problems

Finding a quiet place to communicate without distractions has been proven difficult for 1/3rd of the respondents of the study. Nurses also claimed to not having time to communicate. 1/5th of the respondents claimed they were not able to get in touch with the physician when they needed to.

Lack of Professional Respect

In the study, around 17% of nurse respondents and their answers indicated a perceived lack of respect from physicians. 16% also reported being interrupted before they finish imparting information. Both physicians and nurses are important links in patient care and a breakdown of respect between these two can cause a breakdown of trust which adversely affects patient care.

Lack of Collaboration and Openness

In Dr. Tija’s study, the communication problem that nurses most frequently report was feeling hurried by the physicians or feel unheard by the physician when he/she tried to convey information. Such perceptions indicate that information is not being given or received effectively and that nurses feel active discouragement about their views, assessments, and opinion in patient care. This can drastically lower the chances of critical observations and information being voiced out.

Impact of Nurse-Physician Communication on Patient Outcomes

The impact of poor communication on organizations around the world is well documented. This study found out that poor communication is one of the main reasons why a project fails one-third of the time and has a major negative impact on project success more than 50% of the time. In a business environment this can be devastating for the profits. In a medical environment, it can cost precious lives. According to a study in The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing both safety and quality of care patients receive depend upon the quality of the practice environment where care is provided. The study also found that 55% of nurses surveyed indicated that physician behavior impacted patient care decisions and that less experienced nurses were affected more than the more experienced ones.

If nurse-physician communication is improved, it can have several benefits. Patient satisfaction also improved as patients see medical staff being competent and professional. This impacts the quality of the patient care. Medical team satisfaction also improves leading to job satisfaction which reduces turnover. All of these factors have an impact on patient care.

Lack of Collaboration and Openness

Improving communication between nurses and physicians has lots of obvious benefits but implementing this change is difficult. According to Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare (PSQH) there are three important tools for improving communication. These are:

  • Culture Change
  • Structured Communication Tools
  • Supportive Technology

Culture Change

PSQH calls this factor as the most fundamental intervention for improving nurse-physician communication. Culture change begins from the top: leaders need to create an environment of open communication by displaying approachable behaviors, setting expectations, and investing in support systems in the organizational structure. If patient families and nurses are both included in bedside rounds, it emphasizes that physicians and nurses are a team and fosters an environment of mutual respect that goes a long way to create a culture of open communication.

Structured Communication Tools

Using a structured communication tool like SBAR can remove any doubt of guesswork from nurse-physician communication. SBAR stands for Situation, Background, Assessment, and Recommendation. It gives a framework that facilitates the easy organization and giving of information between nurses and physicians. By following an established procedure that everyone needs to follow and respect, expectations can be set for communication. Nurses can quickly and effectively prepare for an impromptu conversation with physicians and will be able to communicate important information in an organized method. A structured communication tool can also aid in overcoming some language barriers, when it comes to medical jargon.

Supported Technology

Secure communication technology like electronic health records (EHRs) and telehealth can facilitate efficient, quick, and effective communication. Writing a nurse-physician communication can eliminate accent based and linguistic barriers while also easing time constraints by making communication asynchronous. EHRs are important communication tools as these ensure all parties have updated information about patients. It creates a shared foundation of knowledge for effective communication.

Telehealth provides multiple channels to improve nurse-physician communication. Hucu is a free texting application that is HIPAA compliant. It can work wonders to ease communication among the medical staff and impact patient care positively. Nurses and physicians can update each other in real-time about any important incident or share health records instantly. They can also communicate about the next steps in critical situations instantly which can save a life. Different channels can be created for different patients for updating their health information and this can save time for both the nurse and the physician. Hucu is an excellent choice of telehealth technology for eliminating communication challenges in a healthcare organization.

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The Dramatic Impact of Increased Telemedicine in the Covid 19 Era: WHAT’S NEXT

Family Communication with Nursing Home

As the world was hit by COVID-19 which seems here to stay without a vaccine, there has been one question reverberating throughout the healthcare industry: what is the future for the temporary healthcare expansion in Medicare once the coronavirus public health emergency is over? 

This is also the same question discussed in the Senate Committee hearing a few weeks ago, “Telehealth: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Members listened to four candidates on this topic including Karen Rheuban, M.D From University of Virginia, Joseph Kvedar, M.D from the American Telemedicine Association, Sanjeev Arora, M.D from the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and Andrea Willis, M.D. from the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. 

nurse practitioners, hucu.ai

These experts had a great deal to say about how telehealth is so important throughout the pandemic and has the ability to truly deliver healthcare in an effective and efficient way before and after the public health emergency. Discussion also touched on how patients showed acceptance of virtual visits and remote patient monitoring. The witnesses also warned how patients are at a risk of losing access to healthcare if the telehealth expansions are not made permanent in future. 

Since the PHE was declared, there have been more than 30 temporary federal policy changes that took place related to telehealth. The Center of Connected Health Policy (CCHP) prepared a chart detailing temporary actions taken in reaction to COVID-19, basis of those actions, expiration date and what action could be taken to preserve such policy change after the public health emergency (PHE) is over. 

The Senate hearing witnessed  great interest in favor of making the telehealth expansion permanent forthe originating sites and to include all locations, including the patient’s house.  It was also discussed whether it is a good idea to allow a healthcare provider that’s eligible to bill Medicare for their professional services to maintain that eligibility for telehealth reimbursement – and most people agree. Right now, certain statutes restrict eligible telehealth distant site providers to set list of 8 different providers – physicians, nurse practitioners, psychologists and others.  

But since there is a digital divide and lack of technology coupled with digital literacy and access to high speed internet in some low-income communities and areas, concerns were shared and discussed in relation to the possibility of making audio-only telephone reimbursement permanent.  BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee fielded questions about their permanent expansion of parity pay for telehealth delivered primary, specialty and behavioral health care services for all in-network providers. 

This hearing was a great start to answer questions and discuss telehealth’s future as many policymakers try to grapple with whether they should approve several telehealth bills that are being presented to congress and are asking to make the current telehealth reimbursement policies permanent in Medicare or in private insurance plans. You can check out the complete list of proposed telehealth bills here including these highlights:

  • S 3988 – Amends the Public Health Service Act with respect to telehealth enhancements for emergency response.
  • HR 7187 – Provides for permanent payments for telehealth services furnished by federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics under the Medicare program.
  • HR 7078 – A study to determine the effects of changes to telehealth under the Medicare and Medicaid programs during the COVID-19 emergency.
  • S 3792 – Requires parity in the coverage of mental health and substance use disorder services provided to enrollees in private insurance plans, whether such services are provided in-person or through telehealth.
  • HR 6792/S 3998 – Simplifies payments for telehealth services furnished by federally qualified health centers or rural health clinics under the Medicare program, and for other purposes.
  • HR 7233 – Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Controller General of the United States to conduct studies and prepare a report to Congress on actions taken to expand access to telehealth services under the Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance programs during the COVID-19 emergency.
  • HR 3741:  Requires ERISA plans to cover telehealth services at parity for the duration of the PHE.

What’s Next?

It cannot be denied that the world has seen a dramatic impact of increased telemedicine because of the Pandemic. Whether or not we can channel that impact to positively change the outlook of healthcare is still a question. Telehealth is a world in its own right and if the pandemic has taught us anything, we know for sure that everything is connected.

Everything is Connected

It is known that people who live in densely populated cities are exposed to air pollution and have a negative impact on their health in the longer run. Covid-19 also alleviated environmental stressors. We know that a healthy environment makes for healthier people. This also illustrated an important aspect of healthcare which is not acknowledged: it does not exist in a bubble. Just as healthcare represents an essential set of services that exist as part of a larger ecosystem, telehealth also represents one type of service that is part of a connectivity ecosystem known as Smart Cities.

Smart Cities use connected devices, lights, sensors, and meters to collect and analyze data that is used to improve infrastructure, essentials services, and public utilities. A report from the McKinsey Global Institute found that smart city technologies can improve key quality-of-life indicators by 30%.

healthcare communication app, hucu.ai

Doctors, Patients and Families Can Stay Connected Remotely and Securely With Hucu

For example, many senior citizens say they would prefer to live the rest of their lives at home rather than move into residential care according to Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. But there are gaps in technology right now which makes aging in place riskier. However, imagine an elderly person who lives alone but is being monitored remotely by a wearable sensor that sends out automated data to the healthcare team and alerts them about irregularities that could indicate an underlying condition. Moreover, the patient can use telehealth applications like Hucu to stay connected to his doctor and regularly check-in via video conferencing. In case of an emergency, the sensors can detect if the person falls or is not able to call for help. The device could contact emergency services to send an ambulance. After EMTs determine the patient has to be transported to a healthcare facility, Smart City infrastructure can manage the stoplights on the way to the hospital, give a fast and unimpeded drive to the closest ER with the shortest wait time, and availability of staff to handle the person’s medical needs.

The reality is that today’s telehealth services have only begun to scratch the surface of what is possible in terms of connectivity and healthcare. It is very exciting and has a lot of potential. Though the scenario is fabricated, it is possible that in the near future, we would see something like this being facilitated by telehealth connectivity.

Connectivity Is Everything

To move forward with a true Smart City ecosystem, we need to consider the underlying infrastructure it will take to support it. The biggest factor which can damage the establishment of Smart Cities is a lack of connectivity as discussed in the senate hearing. Without a strong connection between devices, Smart Cities technologies would not be possible to implement.

 

Smart Cities will be most impactful when they operate across sectors to connect healthcare, public safety, human services, and the environment. Technology can reinvent healthcare as we know it. The pandemic may have been the catalyst for change but hopefully, telehealth’s benefits will inspire more lasting transformation.



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