Success Story: Scottsville Counseling Loves Connecting With People

Amanda Patrick is the owner of Scottsville Counseling Center and the facility’s mission is to provide quality, affordable mental health services for the communities it serves. Amanda shared how thankful she is for finding Hucu.ai not just for the product it is but for the great team behind it that is always thereto support her.
We asked her some questions about some of the TOP ways she uses Hucu.ai in her facility.

Top Ways Amanda and Her Team Uses Hucu.ai As Part of their Daily Workflows

  • They use is for scheduling clients and for client-based communication
  • They use it for being accessible to clients 24 hours
  • Hucu.ai is a ‘lifeline’ for her and her team to share details in a HIPAA secure platform
  • They use it to extend a very curated experience of communication to their clients

Her Vision for Her Organization and Top Ways Hucu.ai Supports it

  • They consider themselves to be a boutique private practice that offers a tailored experience to clients and Hucu.ai helps provide seamless communication to achieve that
  • They really want to get to know all their clients and Hucu.ai helps them communicate freely in a secure HIPAA compliant platform
  • It is easy to connect with outside providers and have real-time communication especially in rural areas where communication challenges exist
  • We want to be affordable to our clients and yet have up-to-date technology and Hucu.ai fulfills that vision

Top Ways Amanda and her Team Use Hucu.ai on Daily Basis

  • They love the new Hucu.ai features like thumbs up and emoji buttons
  • Hucu.ai helps us stay connected remotely so they are not ‘tethered’ to their laptops
  • They can be offline or on the road and still get updates and notifications related to workflows or clients
  • Top challenges that Hucu.ai Solved for Amanda and her team

Top Challenges that Hucu.ai Solved for Amanda and her team

  • Before Hucu.ai they communicated via phone calls and had to use a creative ‘encrypted language’ which was a huge problem.
  • They had to go back and dig through emails or messages to find the needed information which took a lot of time. With hucu.ai, it is all organized and saves time

Top Ways Hucu.ai Has Impacted the Team Collaboration and Staff Development

  • They were able to relocate their facility in less than 3 months and did all that without losing a single client call thanks toHucu.ai
  • Communicating with the team in real-time has helped stay organized with workflows and boosted the team’s confidence.

Top Ways Hucu.ai Has Helped Her Clients

  • Covid-19 expanded the use of telehealth and via Hucu.ai they are able to reach clients in rural areas who didn’t know that affordable therapy existed
  • They are able to offer one on one meditation and yoga sessions to their clients remotely using Hucu.ai to clients beyond the state of Kentucky
  • They can reach out to a client in crisis via the app instantly knowing it’s a secure HIPAA platform

What’s Amanda’s favorite thing about Hucu.ai?

“My favorite thing about Hucu.ai is the people. I believe energy finds energy. I can go find a product, that is not a problem but finding the right people and understanding what drove them to build the product and how are they going to be there to mutually support me if that product isn’t functioning or if I have questions about the product ..or really when you think about connecting people to people, you want to know the people that build the product. That is going to be your hub for connection because products have power and energy behind them. I’ve found my technology folks that help us stay connected anywhere, so thank you for allowing us in the boat with you.
The biggest gift of finding Hucu.ai is finding like-minded business owners behind it who have that energy and care and that sells to me. And it sets it apart so much from other products. With Hucu.ai we feel like it is a real collaboration.”

Success Story: Mt Rose Health Centre Responds To Patient Needs Without Delay

Mt Rose Health Center Palliative Care and Hospice is a locally based team of professionals with the goal to provide personal, evidence-based medical care to patients. The organization is committed to improving the quality of life and providing support for those facing life-limiting illness and end-of-life issues.
Kathy and Jeff (administrative directors of MT Rose) recently shared with Hucu.ai how Hucu.ai has resolved many problems for them.

Problems Faced Before Hucu.ai

  • It was very difficult to reach out to all individual team members for daily reminders and information about educational sessions for the week.
  • Communicating messages or about reports and next visits via phone calls to doctors, team members, and nurses took energy and time.
  • Lots of time spent chasing communication reduces time spent in patient care.
  • Previous apps had a horrible notification sound which discouraged the staff from using it and thus created gaps in communication. Nobody wanted to use them.
  • Previous apps were invasive and staff did not like the lack of privacy. These apps did not offer any control.
  • Delay in communication about overnight changes with the patient health status, level of care required, nurse shifts, new orders, and new assignments.
  • A 24-hour delay in meeting patient needs because the communication was through emails or phone calls which did not get checked or connected to in time.
  • No way of incentivizing staff members to use previous communication apps and thus, no way for staff encouragement and development.
  • Previous apps were difficult to use especially by less tech-savvy staff members.
  • Previous apps felt outdated.
  • Delay in communication about patient status and deaths led to embarrassing visits from family and friends.

How Hucu.ai Has Helped Resolve Issues

  • Admins don’t have to reach out to team members separately. Daily reminders and check-ins are done via the app and everyone gets the notification right away.
  • Hucu.ai connects all team members, doctors, and nurses so they are informed about messages, reports, next visits, and action plans in one go.
  • Hucu.ai has helped increase patient care because there is a quicker response time from team members related to patient needs.
  • Hucu.ai is pleasant to use and to look at. The soft notification sound, “ding”, does not put off staff members so they are happy and willing to use the app for communication.
  • Hucu.ai notifications are easily managed when staff members are ‘off’. It is not invasive and staff members love that.
  • Hucu.ai allows all team members to be informed about important information related to the patient or changes in care at night in real-time so they are updated quickly
  • Meeting patient needs the same day and more quickly now because of real-time communication.
  • Hucu.ai has ‘honor’ rewards for great performing staff members, which have been incentivized with gifts, candy bars, and recognition by the administration.
  • Hucu.ai’s onboarding time is quick and it is super user-friendly.
  • Hucu.ai is a modern app with numerous features like thumbs up, recognition, emojis. This makes staff members participate in conversations more actively.
  • Family members are notified quickly so it saves them from embarrassing visits and enables them to arrive in time when possible.

What is your most favorite thing about Hucu.ai?

“Our favorite thing is that Hucu.ai is easy to access and use. The quick response we can get for support when needed. That is huge in our field. When you’re doing home care in rural areas, the ease of it is huge, the ability to use it in rural areas like we are, is great. I haven’t had problems with connectivity. We are used to being not connected wherever we go. In areas where there is no great internet access, we are still able to use this app. We are happy. We can take care of patient needs and supplies a lot quicker. It has helped improve our patient care.”

Part 2: Living the Platinum Rule for Person-Centered Long Term Care

Part 2: Living the Platinum Rule for Person-Centered Long Term Care
In part 1 of this article, we discussed the key elements of person-centered care and what its benefits are. Let’s look at some more examples of person-centered services and how these can be implemented in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

Examples of Person-Centered Services

Person-centered services can vary but they share common themes of offering patients power over decision making, acknowledging their personal preferences and wants as well as adhering to them where possible. Here are some specific examples of person-centered care services.

Online Platforms

Instead of giving the same medications and treatment paths to all patients who have a common issue, a person-centered care approach calls for a curated care plan for each patient which documents their preferences and lifestyles. For example, if a patient has back pain and loves gardening, then the care plan goal would be to water plants without pain. A particularly attentive plan would include how the patient would get help with weeding while they are recovering to avoid exacerbating an injury.
Hucu.ai is a messaging platform that a patient can use to get in touch with their doctors, nurses and care team instantly. With the ability to share pictures, videos or have a video conference with the care team via hucu.ai, the patient will feel empowered and taken care of at all times, remotely.

Custom Care Plans

Patients appreciate on-demand access to their health information, updates, schedules, and the opporutnity to be in touch with the doctors or nurses. Research by NEJM Group of the Massachusetts Medical Society found that technology-based tools such as wearable technology or online portals can empower patients and give them control of their healthcare outside of care facilities.

Family Rooms

Particularly in hospice situations, having these inside hospitals or care facilities for patients to remain connected with their loved ones can bring immense comfort to them. This can also be done virtually using Hucu.ai. Hucu.ai has a feature called “Family Chat” which is a virtual room including the patient’s doctor, care team members, friends, or family that they wish to update about the treatment or everyday care plan. Hucu.ai channels are private to each patient and an excellent way to stay connected and up to date with the patient’s health status.

Why Is Person-Centered Care So Important in Long-Term Care Facilities?

While person-centered care is important in all healthcare including hospitals, primary physician clinics, and specialist interactions, patients living in long-term care facilities are often at their most vulnerable. For example, they may have a physical disability, they may be experiencing cognitive decline or they may have been taken away from their homes and placed in a new environment full of unfamiliar faces. Therefore, nursing homes must have person-centered practices to ensure that residents feel comfortable, at home, and appreciated.

How a Person-Centered Care Approach Can Improve a Healthcare Facility

There are many problems related to long-term care such as staffing issues, elder neglect, or lack of quality for which person-centered care is an essential part of the answer. By using person-centered care, a facility can:
Create More Wellness Among Patients – Person-centered care can improve residents’ health (physical and mental) in a long-term facility. If residents can engage in activities of their choice, they will feel more motivated, connected, and less isolated or at risk of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Keeping residents engaged with their peers and caretakers through person-centered care is essential to mental health. The more mobility and energy residents have, the healthier they are.
Increases Good Reputation – While it seems obvious if residents are feeling great and their quality of life increases, the reputation of the long-term facility will too. When family members are deciding on where a parent should live, demonstrating that a nursing facility gives preference to their opinions and preferences is a key factor.
Decreases Burnout in Staff – Person-centered care can be very effective in increasing job satisfaction among staff members, particularly in demand nursing roles. This will cause the burnout rate to decrease as caregivers enjoy their jobs more and feel less fatigued. As compared to other settings, skilled nursing facilities have a higher nurse burnout rate at 37%. Less burnout among nurses means that facilities will have fewer staffing issues and it will also protect the residents from elder abuse or neglect.

Hucu.ai facilitates the implementation of a person-centered care approach.

How to Implement Person-Centered Care In Long Term Care Facilities

While implementing person-centered care involves extensive staff training, cultural focus, and scrupulously following facility practices and rules. It can be difficult to fully implement a high-quality program, so here are some ideas that can help.

Have Periodic Tailored Activities

Instead of holding a rigid unchanging schedule of activities every week, perhaps getting feedback from the residents and then creating new events according to that feedback can prove fruitful. This allows the residents to socialize, have mental stimulation and practice physical exercise while feeling empowered and in charge of their care.

Innovative Meal Services

Food is naturally a focus of resident attention and satisfaction. Attention to menu innovation can drastically increase the quality of care for residents. Instead of giving them limited food options and repeating the menu over and over again, a facility can learn about each resident’s food preferences and have dishes occasionally curated according to those preferences. If preferences are too wide and it is difficult to curate so many dishes, perhaps going with one new dish per resident per week can be practiced. Dishes that no residents enjoy can be eliminated. This will give residents more control over their food intake and give them a sense of independence.

Noticeably Adjust Policies and Be Flexible

The voice of the resident and their family is more important for person-centered care. Policies can be adjusted now and then based on family and resident feedback. For example, let them suggest how much TV time and which programs are on or the way their furniture is placed in the rooms. By announcing that the policy change is in response to feedback, families, and residents see how much they matter.

Meetings with Patients and Families

When living in a nursing home, residents may begin to see their caregivers more than their family members. To compensate for this feeling of loneliness, support regular meetings with the residents and their family members, whether in person or virtual. Taking the time to know them and asking them about their life experiences or making conversation can make them feel valued and less lonely. Long-term care facilities can also get to know about the cultural nuances and incorporate those in the resident’s care routine.
Meetings with Patients and Families

Summary

Person-centered care is an approach to patient care that places the patient’s needs and preferences first as understood directly from the patient as well as their family and caregivers. It focuses on understanding each person and tailoring their treatment plan around that. This type of care can be very useful in nursing homes because it is shown to improve the quality of life of residents as well as staff experience. Focusing your organization on person-centered care requires significant attention to person-centered care, as well as the communication and culture you are fostering. Truly living the Platinum Rule and delivering person-centered care will result in better patient outcomes as well as increased satisfaction among residents and staff – and that is a sound investment.
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Part 1: Easy to Say, Important to Do: The Platinum Rule for Person-Centered Care

Part 1: Easy to Say, Important to Do: The Platinum Rule for Person-Centered Care
Person-centered care means putting the patient and their needs first. Many senior service providers talk about it. Let’s commit to taking the time to provide truly person-centered care. First, we will understand why person-centered care services are essential for nursing homes and how you can best implement them in a care facility to improve the quality of care.
What is meant by “Person-centered Care”? Person-centered care focuses on the patient’s needs while paying attention to their abilities, environment, experiences, desires, and feelings. Healthcare providers who follow a patient-centered care approach provide a much more positive patient experience by including the patient and the family members in making medical choices. Person-centered care calls for healthcare providers to go above and beyond the patient’s illnesses and to make decisions with an empathetic lens and to respect patients’ values, rights, and preferences.
To provide person-centered care, you must follow the Golden Rule: treat people as you wish to be treated. In fact, outstanding healthcare providers follow what might be called the “Platinum Rule:” treat people as THEY wish to be treated, even if it is NOT what you would wish for yourself. The Platinum Rule assures that as a provider you are asking what is in the best interest of the patient and their family at all times and truly listening for their needs.
Person-centered services can be provided well only after you get to know the patients and residents because only after knowing them can one figure out what matters most to them. Geriatricians can collaborate with long-term care administrators to implement a person-centered approach in nursing homes.

Person-Centered Care in Nursing Homes and Geriatrics

In a person-centered care approach to geriatrics, providers focus on the patients’/residents’ quality of life instead of just diagnosis and treatments. For example, instead of just asking a patient with heart issues to cut off high sodium foods, a geriatrician would look at how this requirement will affect the patient’s emotional wellness. This means that if a patient’s favorite food is corned beef sandwiches and not being able to eat this anymore can drastically reduce his quality of life, then a geriatrician would let him eat it with maybe an extra dose of diuretics.
Nursing homes that want to follow a person-centered approach can collaborate with geriatricians for patient-specific cases using Hucu.ai. Hucu.ai’s free HIPAA compliant messaging platform is built for the healthcare industry. It makes interprofessional collaboration in healthcare possible by bringing geriatricians and skilled nurses together to better care for their residents and patients.

Four C's of Person-Centered Care

The most important elements of person-centered care can be recalled as the 4 C’s:
Culture: in person-centered care, it is essential to take into account a patient’s values, culture, and lifestyle preferences. For example, nurses may have to engage with the patient in his native language or allow them to choose their daily outfits. The more patients feel that they have control over their care decisions like what time they want to eat or go to bed, the more they feel respected and empowered.
Care: person-centered care is more than just looking for treatment for an illness. When caring for a patient, his needs and wants have to be prioritized. It requires the healthcare staff members to understand what makes the patient unique and tailor their care according to those traits. For example, if a patient suffers from neuropathy, finding a skin cream with a pleasing scent can bring joy and relief to the patient.
Communication: Person-centered care calls for having regular communication with the patient. This can be in the form of quick meetings with the patients and updating them about how they’re doing. Feedback can also be obtained from the patient so that care can be improved. Communication is needed to allow patients to know about their treatment options so that they can make choices. Even when a patient has cognitive decline, offering very simple choices can be an excellent form of communication. For example: “Would you like to sit near the window or near the TV?”
Hucu.ai is an all-in-one messaging platform that’s HIPAA compliant and built for healthcare. It can be a great tool to communicate with the patient and his/her loved ones everyday. Keeping them updated with the patient’s healthcare status can increase patient satisfaction.
Collaboration: person-centered care can only happen if healthcare professionals collaborate with the patient and his family. Recognizing the right to determine the type of care needed for a patient’s health is an essential part of the person-centered care approach. Healthcare professionals can have collaborative meetings with the patient and their families to make mutual decisions on the patient’s care treatments and next steps.

Benefits of Person-Centered Care

Person-centered care takes the focus away from a medical condition to focus on a patient’s preferences and experiences- thus making the patient feel empowered during the care process. Providing this level of agency improves patient interactions, reduces depression, and results in higher patient satisfaction. Moreover, person-centered care has been proven to change the culture of a facility/hospital which increases the well-being of the staff and patients.
More Patient Satisfaction – since person-centered care recognizes the patient’s desires, values, and preferences – it makes them feel more valued. With greater say in treatment plans, patients will be more willing to follow and accept the care they receive. By giving the patient control over their environment, schedule and daily activities, their quality of life also improves.

Hucu.ai supports interprofessional collaboration in healthcare for nursing homes

Better Job Satisfaction Among Staff – when healthcare providers feel that their patients are happy with the care they are receiving, they feel they are making a difference in someone’s life for the better and will have a greater sense of pride in their job.
Better Healthcare OutcomesResearch by the AMA Journal of Ethics shows that practicing person-centered care can result in shorter recovery times, fewer ER visits, and less use of healthcare resources.
For more examples of person-centered services and how to implement them in long-term facilities, check out part 2 of this article here.
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8 Tips for Managing Holiday Stressors as a Healthcare Professional

This time of the year is commonly referred to as the ‘most wonderful time’ of the year. But it can be far from that for many healthcare professionals, especially in a pandemic year. The holiday season is usually an excellent opportunity to have some downtime, spend it with family and friends, and just recharge. However, the healthcare industry is excused from such downtime because holiday months are often the busiest of the year.
Given the past two years of the pandemic, healthcare workers are already taxed and overworked. With the holiday time coming up, the distress will feel compounded, bringing with it a surge of stress which will be further elevated between finances, trying to look for gifts for loved ones, and managing celebrations with different sides of families and various friends all the while dealing with the most challenging work environment ever. This year is gearing up to be even worse than last year with regard to demands on healthcare workers.
Here are common holiday stressors healthcare professionals can go through and our top eight recommendations on how best to manage them.

The Feeling of Loneliness and Sadness

In a typical year, it is difficult to be alone during the holidays, especially if friends and family are together while you’re working day in and day out to serve your community. Whensomeone has experienced the death of a loved one, and the prevalence of that is even higher during the pandemic, the holiday season can retrigger the trauma and bring up strong feelings.
There are many healthcare professionals who feel that their family, friends, and the general public have shunned them because they fear that they may have contracted COVID-19 through their work. Or they have strong feelings of anger at all of the people who have refused to be vaccinated, which is driving even greater stress in the healthcare system. All of these reasons can elevate the feeling of disconnection and loneliness.
It is essential to recognize that such feelings are normal and it is okay to express how you feel. Keeping it all inside can be harmful to your mental health. Spending some time in the sun or fresh air, moving your body, and engaging with your coworkers and the community can help make you feel better. You can also schedule Zoom calls with family and friends to participate in holiday celebrations.

Feelings of Anger, Defeat, and Exhaustion

Seeing so many people travel, or celebrate in large groups can feel discouraging especially when healthcare workers are trying so hard to keep COVID-19 under control. Anger and defeat are other understandable emotions to feel in this situation when people don’t want to get vaccinated, wear masks or keep a social distance – which will exacerbate the COVID-19 situation and make healthcare workers bear the brunt of it.
Having to deal with the pandemic crisis head-on without a break has been exhausting for healthcare workers. Working under pressure, witnessing so much sickness and death has emotionally drained healthcare professionals. Such emotional exhaustion combined with the physical exhaustion of working long hours and busy shifts can lead to disrupted nights of sleep and loss of energy even during the holidays.
It is important to focus on self-care and get rest as much as you can during the holiday season by planning your shift schedules ahead of time. Talking to mental health professionals can help you cope with stress and feel better as well and help you find strategies that work for you.

Feeling Overwhelmed By Social Pressures

As a healthcare professional, feeling overwhelmed with so much to do non-stop can be daunting. The feeling can become intense if you feel you’re not getting enough support or you feel that your to-do list continues to grow. On top of this, maybe you are expected to pay a visit to friends and family. Social pressure can cause anxiety.
This can be managed by sorting out your calendar ahead of time and communicating expectations clearly to avoid conflicts in social engagements and your work. Many times, family and friends just need to understand what is manageable for you in order to support you in your time management. Taking the time to ask about others’ expectations and to clarify your own expectations can head off social conflicts among friends and family. Dealing with emotional overload is difficult but communicating with those you interact with can help to process it productively.Different healthcare workers will experience different holiday stressors, so it’s important to know that your co-workers may also be feeling different stressors. Try some of these 8 simple strategies to help your co-workers and yourself keep from spiraling into worse stress.

1. Staying Honest and Realistic

Everyone can feel pressured to feel extra happy or cheerful during the holiday season but it is important to keep a realistic approach and manage expectations. Winter blues and depression tend to increase during the holiday season. Being honest with yourself and identifying red flags can help you take care of yourself especially as a caregiver.

2. Looking at the Bigger Picture

It can help to keep in mind that the holiday season with all its stress, is really a matter of weeks. When you’re feeling overwhelmed by its hustle and bustle, take a deep breath and remember that it will pass. The days start to get longer, the next season beckons and new opportunities appear.

3. Planning and Organizing Ahead of Time

Planning ahead can come in very handy during the holiday season. With so much to do at work, you may not find time to call family members and friends, purchase gifts, and engage in other activities all at once. Planning ahead and organizing a calendar can help you create an outline of the obligations you have and keep the ones you truly want to participate in.

4. Spending With Care

Giving gifts in the holiday spirit can be very enticing. Many healthcare professionals who want to give expensive gifts to family and friends could sign up for multiple overtime or shifts only to become fatigued and overburdened at the last moment. It is important to remember that your health, well-being, and that the gift of your time and presence will be cherished more by your friends and family.

5. Prioritizing Your Health

The holiday season comes with many stressors, and combined with the annual peak of cold and flu, not to mention surging Covid, caregivers must take extra measures to keep themselves physically and mentally healthy. Staying active, hydrated, and satiated with healthy food and rest can help you stay focused.

6. Taking Quiet Time

Make sure you make time for yourself to simply be at ease for at least 10 minutes every day. Surprisingly, simply resting and focusing on your breathing can improve your perspective and overall well being. Try listening to calming music or using a meditation app. Practice breathing slowly using the 4-7-8 method or other calming breathing practice.

7. Communicating!

Finding time to talk to co-workers and coordinating your schedules is essential to manage holiday stressors. Leaders can promote employee engagement to help caregivers have a greater sense of belonging which will benefit the entire organization. Sharing the load both in words and action can bring a team together.

8. Having the Right Communication Tools

Real-time, HIPAA-compliant messaging platforms such as Hucu.ai can help healthcare workers and leaders manage holiday stress. Healthcare workers can stay connected and plan schedules remotely to stay organized ahead of time. If anyone gets sick or another unpredictable engagement presents itself, finding a shift replacement by connecting with co-workers in real-time via Hucu.ai is super easy.
Healthcare workers can also find additional support from their co-workers and seniors through the application for patients who require extra care. Hucu.ai facilitates a team’s quick decision making which takes away the stress of resolving ‘what’, ‘how’, ‘when’ alone.
Leaders can stay connected with the entire team over holidays, plan Zoom calls via Hucu.ai, and exchange holiday greetings to cheer everyone up. Appreciating hard-working team members can boost their morale and lead them to have a sense of purpose and belonging.
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A Quick HIPAA Compliance Guide for Nurses

Every nurse’s professional duty includes HIPAA compliance. However, in today’s digital world, protecting sensitive patient data and information can become a challenge. While most nursing programs include information about the legal issues affecting nurses today in their coursework, it is not a bad idea to continue reading more about HIPAA compliance and how it affects nurses. By increasing one’s knowledge in the area, a nurse can better uphold every patient’s right to privacy and help protect herself/himself, and the employer as well. It is a win-win.

Definition of HIPAA

HIPAA is the short form of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act passed into Federal Law in August 1996. It contains the national standards and rules to protect and safeguard a patient’s privacy. It helps healthcare professionals determine who is eligible to access a patients’ healthcare information and how individuals can access their medical records. The standards also help classify what data is protected health information (PHI) and how such information should be stored or shared for a legitimatepurpose like for treatments, healthcare operations, and payments.

Common HIPAA Violations by Nurses

If nurses and healthcare providers are not careful, they may commit HIPAA violations. Common HIPAA violations include an unintended comment to a colleague or an acquaintance about a patient. This may sound like it is nothing but this is a breach of confidentiality because that person is not supposed to have access to such sensitive information. Another common way is to leave one’s computer screen open and unattended for a few minutes without the protection of username and password. Information can be copied, hacked, or stolen within a few minutes or any passerby can read through it. If a nurse improperly discards documents instead of shredding them, they can get into the hands of an authorized person, causing a HIPAA violation. Similarly, sharing information or pictures on social media can also be a cause of HIPAA violations.

Consequences of HIPAA Violations

If a HIPAA violation has occurred, the nurse’s supervisor has to be informed right away. Minor violations can have minor consequences by addressing them with internal disciplinary actions or further training. However, failure to report major violations can result in major consequences. A healthcare organization can have severe fines for inappropriate hiring, training, and supervision practices. It is also important to keep in mind that HIPAA penalties have four tiers and are based on the level of negligence which is in turn determined by the Department of Health and Human Services. These four categories include unintentional violations as well as intentional violations of HIPAA rules. The smallest fine is $100 and goes up to $50,000 for violations of Category 1. The minimum fine for a Category 4 violation is $50,000 and if the violation is anywhere near criminal, it will be handled by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Save Yourself from HIPAA Violation.

Tips Nurses Can Follow to Avoid HIPAA Violation

Understanding What Patient Health Information Is

Any health information that can identify an individual is categorized as PHI and will fall under HIPAA protection. This can include almost everything we see in a medical record regardless of it being stored digitally, on paper, or shared verbally, such as a patient’s past health record/history, test diagnosis, billing information, insurance. While individual health identifiers are protected data, usually demographic information is not a part of HIPAA regulation – except when it is related to health information. These common individual identifiers are names of patients, email addresses, contact information, telephone numbers, social security numbers, account numbers, medical records, photographs, and Driver’s license numbers.
Once the nurses truly understand what constitutes PHI, they are less likely to commit a HIPAA violation unknowingly.

Making Sure All Electronic Devices are Secure

It is easy to get lost in the sea of digital data and lose your grip. As medical records become more digitally stored, several electronic devices may be used every day at different points in caregiving to access them. Cell phones, laptops, computers, and tablets may contain very sensitive data that has to be protected under HIPAA regulation. Nurses and the medical staff have to make sure they take all precautions when they are accessing patients’ information on any such device. One way to do that is to use password protection.  

Since all nurses have cell phones, it is easy to mix up patient information with personal information and that can create a HIPAA violation. Hucu.ai is the most convenient free messaging HIPAA compliant application that is built for the healthcare industry and solves all these pain points. Simply download the application on any phone and you’re ready to use it in under 10 minutes. The application allows you to password protect it including an option of biometric protection so that only the authorized person can access the messaging app. The app itself can connect the medical staff at an individual, group, and organizational level. The app also has different channels that can be used by the staff for sharing status updates and important information about a specific patient. It allows the nurses to receive instant, real-time support virtually 24/7. Hucu.ai has really helpful features that save time from chasing communication and letting the staff care for patients better. Find out how Hucu.ai works.

Hucu.ai Is a Password Protected Healthcare Messaging App.

Never Share Password and Login Credentials

While these digital devices have a great protection system through passwords and biometric identification, they will come in handy very little if the password is shared with another person. Nurses have to have their own passwords and logic for devices that contain PHI. These credentials have to be kept secret and protected. If they become compromised, it is important to immediately report the security breach to an appropriate department.
HIPAA compliance can be a little complicated but nurses must follow the guidelines as closely as possible to protect PHI and avoid HIPAA violations. HIPAA best practices can be learned through experience and continuous practice which allow the nurses to care for patients confidently.
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Case Study: About Nest In Place

CASE STUDY

Nest-in-Place

About Nest In Place

Nest In Place is an innovative, solution based provider of home care. Nest In Place provides support for families across a spectrum of needs. They work collaboratively with clients AND their families to design solutions that offer more than just hours in the home. Their unique approach assures that their clients are as independent as possible and families have the help they need from light housework, to advocating for clients in the hospital and everywhere in between.

At a glance

Challenges

  • Eliminating confusing and convoluted texts messages
  • Building a strong patient centered culture across a large geographically dispersed team
  • Assuring secure communications of confidential documents and information

Benefits

  • Hucu.ai enables real time communication
  • Messages, forms, and patient information can be shared instantly
  • Team communication is easy with channels to keep all the right people in the loop
“Hucu has become an indispensable tool for sharing confidential information quickly with the folks who need to know.”
Karen, DPT, Owner
“We have been able to get complicated families on the same page with better supports than ever.”
Susan, Owner

Challenges

Eliminating confusing and convoluted text messages

With the frequency and intensity of communication required to assure the very best services for their clients, Nest In Place was not happy with their texting solution. Care team members had to play the “initials game” with patients and strings were very difficult to maintain

Building a strong patient centered culture across a geographically dispersed team

Nest In Place’s strong culture depends on solid communication when their team members are constantly on the road and in their clients’ homes. To provide the level of guidance and support that keeps their team engaged required a communication solution that worked on any device in real time and flexibly managed access as required.

Assuring secure communications of confidential documents and information

Nest In Place’s team members are highly trusted partners to their clients. They need to have the ability to share sensitive information with other team members to assure seamless service and continuity of care. The ability to easily and securely share pictures, care plans, and other information was critical to high quality care.

Solution

PATIENT-CENTERED MESSAGING

Rather than sorting through streams of 1-1 silo messages (phone calls, texts, emails, etc.), Hucu.ai provides easy to access patient centered messaging channels. Now instead of sending or making 5 communication attempts with 5 different media, the entire team communicates with timely information in the context of each patient. Each patient’s collaborating team can coordinate in real time.

EASY TO IMPLEMENT

After a brief demo with the Hucu.ai team, Nest In Place was able to implement the app across their entire team right away. Hucu.ai is available via browser on any internet device as well as in an easy to use app (IOS or Android). No IT support required!

EASY TEXTING AND MORE - PRACTICAL SHARING

Nest In Place Team members back each other up to assure that clients always have the support they need. Hucu.ai gives them the ability to share care plans, provide necessary updates and share photos securely without using any phone storage. Everything is securely saved in the cloud in organized channels.

AFFORDABLE, RESPONSIVE AND EASY TO WORK WITH

Nest In Place needed a solution that fit their business model so they can meet the increasing needs of seniors who want to age in place They are growing quickly and Hucu.ai provides a platform that scales with them as they grow

POWERFUL ANALYTICS TRACK HUCU HONORS FOR EACH TEAM MEMBER

Team communication leaderboards give visibility to who is the most collaborative on the team. This enables the team to recognize each other for doing the right thing and supporting their team.

Results

Saved Time

Better client information sharing improves communication and enables continuity of care.

Teams On The Same Page

The right team members are now included in every communication. This improves collaboration and keeps the teams focused.

Ability To Grow

Insightful analytics across their organization help them scale faster.

MPAC and Hucu.ai Celebrate Anniversaries

MPAC and Hucu.ai Celebrate Anniversaries
This month marks a one-year successful telehealth collaboration of Hucu.ai with MPAC Healthcare. MPAC Healthcare is an industry leader that works exclusively in post-acute settings. MPAC’s role is as a trusted provider of nurse practitioner services to the most fragile population: skilled nursing residents. Their objective is to provide proactive, patient-centered care with services like transition care, physician services, preventive care, and more. MPAC has built a practice around providing reliable, flexible, leading-edge Nurse Practitioners and their customers are forward-thinking skilled nursing providers who know they need better resources for the patients with acute care needs.
In the summer of 2019, Hucu.ai founders Asif Khan and Laura McKee met MPAC’s CEO, Timothy Martinez to discuss communication methods within their facility. At the time, MPAC was using Group.me for internal communication but they required a scalable solution that addressed their needs. Several months later, they contacted Hucu.ai to become a strategic customer. We’re now celebrating 2 years of partnership as well as a year of seamless telehealth services.
MPAC needed a turnkey solution to keep their team communicating and supported. In addition, they realized the need to communicate in patient centered channels would improve care coordination and communication with their partners. Eventually, they started using Hucu.ai to provide easy access to virtual visits. In order to support customers and teams during intensive infection control measures, virtual visits became essential and not just “nice to have”. MPAC was looking for a flexible and simple way to connect their Nurse Practitioners with Directors of Nursing and Floor Nurses that they interact with daily as well as with Medical Directors – before, during, and after a telehealth visit. They also wanted a single communication platform that was HIPAA compliant, so that they could communicate with the teams openly and transparently. Hucu.ai helped them do exactly that and so much more.
Within one year, MPAC drastically improved their internal communication via Hucu.ai and as a result, patient outcomes improved as well. With Hucu.ai as an instant collaborator/patient communication, part-time nurses who work in the evening can immediately get in touch with the MPAC team about a patient’s critical condition and get the right support. This in turn reduces the chances of unnecessary hospitalization which saves MPAC and skilled nursing communities their time, effort, and costs. The nurses can organize patients using various “flags” (admissions, discharges, readmissions, and more ) and manage higher patient turnover as well.
“The communication within the app is actually centered around the patients, something I have not found with any other HIPAA compliant texting software.”
Tim M. – CEO
“Hucu has allowed me to keep my patient related messages organized. My team can reach me instantly and stay in touch all day, and when I’m on call, all evening.”
Fran W, -NP
“I love being able to follow up on each patient’s care quickly and keep the team in the loop.”
Ashley Y, -NP
Over the past year, MPAC’s team has become much more confident in taking care of their residents. Since Hucu.ai implements AI-Enabled, automatically prioritized patient hotlists based on patients’ risk profiles, the MPAC team knows exactly which patients to prioritize their care for. Patient data reporting shows which patients are experiencing increased risk in real-time. Hucu.ai analytics include Telehealth Program performance visibility. For example, which team members are conducting how many telehealth sessions, how fast such sessions are being held, which sessions result into reimbursable encounters, proactive care and more. The boost in the team’s morale has created a happier, positive work environment that’s dedicated to patient-centered care with amazing patient outcomes day in day out.
To watch Timothy Martinez’s full interview, click here.
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Communication in Patient Centered Healthcare: Importance and Best Practices

Communication is the keystone of patient-centered healthcare. Effective communication is vital to meeting patient expectations and needs. Healthcare can be positively transformed only if it is facilitated by effective communication both vertically (top-down, bottom-up) and horizontally (across the field of care delivery).
It calls for more than having an open-door policy among operational leadership. It requires encouraging caregivers, managers and patients to make good use of communication. It also requires a continuous and intentional effort to intertwine communication best practices into the organization’s culture, consistently appraise the effectiveness of these practices using workforce and patient surveys, and hold teams/individuals in the organization accountable for their roles in communication excellence.
To accomplish this, it is important to acknowledge that the way in which information is passed on is as critical as the information itself.. That is because care delivery includes numerous encounters with providers, departments, facilities and interactions with numerous administrative and care professionals of different backgrounds with different training. Each contact involves an exchange of information whether it is between or among caregivers or between caregivers and the patient. In order to be really effective from administrative, clinical and professional perspectives, the information shared has to be accurate, clear, and thorough. And it has to be shared with an open, honest and compassionate technique.
Multiple evidence-based studies support the fact that good communications are a crucial competency skill for effective value-based patient-centered care. These studies also link improved communication to safer work ambiance, better patient outcomes, fewer undesirable events, shortened patient stays, and reduced transfer delays (Disch, 2012). One study (King & Hope, 2013) shows continuous positive associations between caregiver communication attitudes and patient outcomes including better patient understanding, recall and adherence to therapy.
The quality and extent of caregiver’s communication with their patients and with one another has also proven to affect care experiences. For example, good and effective communication among care team members as well as with their patients and families is more likely to result in those patients recommending the organization to others and rating their own care experience very good. (Fulton, Malott, & Ayala, 2010)
Another research study (Press Ganey, 2013) highlights the fact that nurse communication is of critical importance. When hospitals and care facilities improve nurse communications with the patients, they find better outcomes in patient experience metrics such as receptiveness of hospital staff, pain management, medication communication and overall patient experience.
Furthermore, communication is also a keystone of workforce engagement. Effective and strong communication between healthcare teams has been proven to positively influence the quality of professional relationships, employee morale and job satisfaction (AHRQ, 2017). Another study (DiMeglio et al., 2005) shows reduced nursing staff turnover when there is clear communication about work responsibilities and task division.
Putting all of this evidence together, we recognize the importance of communication and that when healthcare professionals communicate effectively – passing on important information in a timely manner that is easily understandable, clearly giving out instructions and answering questions in depth and thoughtfully – they deliver high quality patient-centered care. Moreover efficient and effective communication improves cost of care..
Why is effective communication so important in patient-centered care? Because when there is poor communication among care teams, with patients, families and post-acute care facilities at discharge, there can be confusion in follow-up care and medication which can lead to needless readmissions and avoidable litigation. One study (Senot, Chandrasekaran, Ward, Tucker, & Moffatt-Bruce, 2015) used six years of data from almost 2,800 acute care hospitals and found that communication between caregivers and patients has the biggest influence on decreasing readmissions.
By educating patients at discharge plus giving specific and clear discharge instructions to post-acute care facilities, hospitals can reduce preventable readmissions and increase patient satisfaction as well as their operational bottom line. In addition, using these evidence-based best practices can also increase the effectiveness of communication and improve outcomes:
  • Having a comprehensive provider/team communication strategy including a standardized communication tool like SBAR (Situation, Background, Assessment, and Recommendation) technique to facilitate effective communication about patients.
  • Providing communication skills training to the staff. Good communication is not natural, it needs to be taught and practiced because the ability to explain, listen and empathize can affect relationships with patients and colleagues.
  • Having a leadership that is open about communication and supports it within the organization’s structure.
The fact that communication influences the quality, safety and experience of care, aligns with the research that links these areas of performance to the patient-centered care. It is also consistent with the research that shows that the successes of these elements are interrelated and affect the financial outcomes of an organization. But is there a specific communication tool which brings together all elements involved in providing high-quality patient-centered healthcare in one place and facilitates their communication? Is there a tool which enables one to many, multi-directional communication (top-down, bottom-up, across divisions and within the organization) to achieve the optimal level of effective communication?
Yes.
This is where Hucu.ai steps in. It is the single, most powerful communication tool that was built specifically for patient-centered healthcare to achieve the most effective HIPAA compliant communication. From getting hospital referrals to discharging patients into homes and everything in between – Hucu.ai is one patient-centered messaging solution that connects care teams internally and externally with outside partners, and helps avoid unnecessary hospitalizations.
Hucu.ai on a mobile device, can replace all traditional silo communication tools: faxes, email, text, phone, voicemail). It centralizes all communication – 1 to 1, many to many and patient-centered direct. Hucu.ai streamlines communication between providers and facility staff by allowing them to communicate in the context of each Patient-Channel, with each other in 1-1 Direct Messages & within internal and/or external Groups through Collaboration Channels.
Hucu.ai is great for identifying, engaging and retaining employees. Staff turnover can be improved by supporting team members through continuous communication and recognition. It allows for recognition of high performers by delivering honor points from peers and colleagues. It enables easy communication virtually so the staff is always updated, supported and empowered with real-time information.
Here is one of the many success stories of facilities that implemented Hucu.ai and increased the effectiveness in their communication overnight.

Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging (CCAAA)

Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging is a non-profit in central Pennsylvania that supports the maximum independence of older adults . Their comprehensive array of services enhances the quality of life of older adults through coordinated community partnerships and initiatives that support and educate members in the community.
Here are the challenges faced by CCAAA in their communication and improvements from implementing Hucu.ai in their facility.
Problems Faced before Hucu.ai
Solutions Achieved after Hucu.ai
There were numerous rehospitalizations and negative consumer outcomes
Availability of analytics and real-time communication resulted in reduced hospitalizations
Only 10 case managers keeping track of 1,000 older adults and spending too much time
The consumer journey map tracks the history of each individual. Real time acuity scores are built from custom acuity scores from evidence-based assessments. Agency now better manages intensive caseload and develop person-centered interventions
Prioritization of cases was very difficult and time consuming.
Hucu.ai pinpoints older adults most in need of service through data driven solutions.
CCAAA needed better communication with multiple contracted service partners and to provide the level of transparency and oversight within their teams to keep the staff engaged.
Hucu.ai features multiple channels for internal and external communication. It also provides reports that track partner performance level, effectively keeping all partners accountable.
CCAAA needed a solution that fit their service model so they can meet the challenges of managing numerous older adults
Hucu.ai has been responsive to their needs to support their business goals by developing new features such as real time acuity scores and risk stratification flags.
CCAAA was using phones, text messages, emails and faxes for internal and external communication. It was unorganized and hard to keep a track of.
Hucu.ai replaced all silo messaging tools. Downloaded on a mobile device, it gives access to patient centered messaging channels virtually and in real-time. Entire team communicates with timely information. Separate patient family channels keep family members in different geographic locations on the same page.
CCAAA needed to have the ability to share sensitive information with other team members to assure seamless service and continuity of care.
Hucu.ai gave CCAAA the ability to share care plans, provide necessary updates and share photos securely without using any phone storage. Everything is securely saved in the cloud in organized channels.
There was no system of evaluating the efficiency and quality of services CCAAA network was providing to older adults.
Hucu.ai’s flag reporting enhances data collection letting CCAAA capture SDOH factors for performance evaluation. Availability of reports that track partner performance level.
“Hucu.ai is providing us with data to support our funding requests and to identify those at greatest risk.” – Kathy, CEO CCAAA
“We have better access to consumer experience data and are able to manage our team more proactively.” – Ethen, COO CCAAA
Interested in knowing more on how Hucu.ai has transformed communication in patient-centered healthcare that significantly affected the bottom lines for care providers? Check out these success stories.
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Four Ways Hospitals can Reduce Hospital Readmissions and Save Costs

Reducing readmissions is still a challenge in the healthcare industry and this is clear from the $18 billion Medicare has to spend every year on readmissions which can be ‘avoided’.
Avoidable hospital readmissions are not just hard on the patient, but also on hospital staff. A patient who is discharged home but has to leave again for a process that was not needed in the first place becomes frustrated. It is also difficult for the medical staff who need to dedicate their time and effort when they could have better utilized than on caring for patients who truly needed them. Most avoidable hospital readmissions happen because of miscommunication or a gap in communication when the patient is transitioning from hospital to home.
Therefore, it is necessary for the patients to follow up with their care doctors and staff within the first week of discharge to avoid rehospitalization. High-risk patients who did that have lower readmission rates than those who did not follow up with their primary care physician (PCP) – even when both groups have similar LACE index scores (LACE index highlights patients who are at risk of readmission within 30 days of discharge).

Reduce hospital readmissions by half

It is critical for patients and care teams to have clear communication and understanding of the needs and expectations after a discharge. Uncoordinated care and miscommunication can be huge barriers in a patient’s journey to improved health. PCP’s follow-up after discharge is an incredibly important way to bring all parts of the care process together. It allows the PCP to connect the missing pieces and identify any potential health issues which are easily overlooked otherwise. Similarly, following up with the PCP allows the patient to know who he has to turn to if there is a problem. This is one of the four strategies that help reduce readmissions. Let’s talk about three more.

Using Patient Data to the Fullest

Hospitals can be successful at reducing readmissions if they collect patient data and really take a closer look at it. Sure, this sensitive data has to be protected but it is also a critical tool that should be shared with care teams in the hospitals to understand the patient’s history and health trends. Hospitals can look at readmissions from various data points, for example, from the perspective of age, discharge type, diagnosis, physician, payer, health history, etc. This way they can get to the root cause of readmissions quickly and fix that.

Understanding from a Human Perspective

Once the data has been thoroughly analyzed and the root cause has been identified, it makes sense for the hospitals to make a person-to-person connection with the patient to really understand what is happening post-discharge. PCPs can talk to patients themselves to find out the details. This kind of real-life insight can be gathered through active discussion and is less likely to be found through chart reviews and what is written in the reports. Contacting the patients on time after they have left the hospital is necessary to understand the total picture and take precautions for potential risks.

Using Technology for Better Patient Care

Hospitals and staff are using a myriad of technologies for effective patient care. They are using notification systems, tracking systems, developing performance measurement dashboards, and multiple other tools to understand and reduce readmissions and to drive high levels of performance. What if we told you that all of these amazing tools can be combined in one communication app that is built for the healthcare industry? Hucu.ai is a free HIPAA-compliant communication app that has proven to reduce communication gaps and significantly influenced the number of readmissions in hospitals and nursing homes.

Hucu.ai Solves All Communication Problems in Healthcare

How does it work?

Hucu.ai can bring in all staff members, PCPs, and transition care teams in one place virtually. Using ‘channels’ for a specific patient, care team members can discuss important points about the patient in real-time so that everyone is on the same page and updated about the patient’s status. As the patient gets discharged, live updates can be shared so that quick actions can be taken by the care team members in case of emergencies at home. When teams are able to share and diagnose a problem in real-time remotely, the issue can be resolved at home and thus reduce the chance of unnecessary readmission. This can save the patient from the hassle and the hospital from added costs associated with the readmissions.
Through Hucu.ai, it is easy to include patient/family in planning for patient’s admissions and discharge plans whether hospital, SNF, AL, IL, or their homes. Hucu.a helps to:
  • Simplify transitions by bringing in discharge & admissions staff in both organizations.
  • Eliminate surprises by sharing up-to-the-minute transition plans.
  • Speed up patient-centered communication between different organizations with easily simplified secure messaging.
  • Replace 5 old silo communication tools (fax, email, text, phone, voicemail, etc.) with one powerful tool – hucu.ai.
  • Make availability easy by showing custom user statuses, with simple one-touch status updates – available, busy, and away along with reading receipts.
  • Coordinate care seamlessly by updating staff on medication, dme, ppe, nutrition or other interventions.
Hucu.ai is the answer to all communication problems in healthcare. Hospitals can build a seamless care process facilitated by Hucu.ai. It is easy to install and can be implemented and ready to use within 10 minutes. You can schedule a quick demo for free by contacting us.
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Types of Healthcare Communication Systems and How HIPAA Applies to Them

There are many kinds of communications systems in healthcare but we can generalize them into three distinct categories such as provider to provider communication, internal communication, and provider to patient communication. Internal communications refer to different forms of staff messaging such asrequests to cover vacant shifts, policies and procedures and emergency messages.
Dr. Enrico Coiera published an article in the Clinical Biochemist Review in 2006 named “Communication Systems in Healthcare”. In this article, he very aptly wrote that if the information is the lifeblood of healthcare then communication systems are the heart that pumps it. The article was visionary and ahead of its time and correctly assumed that communication systems in the hospitals would evolve quickly.
It was just three years after this article that Congress passed the HITECH Act which “incentivized the use of EHRs (electronic health records). As a result of the “meaningful use” incentive, the use of EHRs increased 14.2% per year. Later in 2013, HIPAA Omnibus Rule made sure that communications systems were implemented with security and integrity of ePHI.
Patient satisfaction and patient-centered care are two goals of any healthcare provider and system. To achieve those, communication systems in healthcare are continuing to evolve to improve healthcare delivery and productivity.
Let’s look more closely at the three categories of communications in healthcare.

Provider-to-Provider Communication System

Provider to Provider communication systems is used for external clinical procedures, patient transfers, and insurance transactions, in healthcare that falls under the administrative and physical guidelines of the HIPAA Security Rule. This means that entities are responsible for protecting data integrity and for securing ePHI when it is received or sent in an electronic format. The entities have to ensure that ePHI is not disclosed, deleted, changed, or destroyed without authorization or consent. The rules regarding this category of communication systems are very strict and come with the necessity to implement ID authentication, mechanisms, data encryption, and audit trails. The department of health and human Services can issue huge fines if the HIPAA guidelines are not followed even if no data breach happens from the HIPAA violation.

Provider-to-Patient Communication Systems

The most common provider-to-patient communication is usually telemedicine consultations, reminders of appointments, etc. These systems don’t require the same type of security measures that are needed of provider to provider communication systems, but their use does fall under the HIPAA Privacy Rule. Therefore, a patient’s agreement is needed before any of these systems are used to communicate PHI. Once the consent is secured from the patient, then these communications are subject to Minimum Necessary Standard which states that PHI should be minimally exposed only to those with a need to access it.. On the flip side, there are also patient-to-provider communication systems. These can range from remote clinical consultation services (videoconferencing, consultation by email), to nurse call systems that can notify healthcare professionals about updates of a patient’s condition. Patient to provider systems can be integrated into EHRs so that they can automatically update patient records and in such a case, they are subject to the technical safeguards of the HIPAA Security Rule.

Internal Communication Systems

Internal communication systems may be subject to HIPAA Security Rule depending on how they are configured in the healthcare organization. For example, internal communication systems which are protected by a firewall may be used to communicate unencrypted ePHI only if Minimum Necessary Standard is complied with. Internal communications are always subject to HIPAA Privacy Rule and that can create huge challenges in emergency cases.
In emergency cases or when patients have to be evacuated or when there is a disaster and a surge of patients, healthcare organizations are required to activate CMS mandated Emergency Preparedness Plans. That dictates how communications during an emergency can be carried on.

Compliant Use is As Vital as Compliant Systems

Regardless of which category communications systems in healthcare are generalized into, their compliant use is important. If healthcare organizations engage in effective training and safeguards, risk of HIPAA breaches is reduced. Another way to avoid breaches is to have very effective HIPAA compliant communications tools adopted such as Hucu.ai.
Hucu.ai is a free HIPAA compliant instant messaging application that is built specifically for the healthcare industry.
The biggest advantage of having Hucu.ai in a healthcare organization is that it combines all three forms of communication. Hucu.ai brings together providers, patients, and families all in one place. It enables internal teams to coordinate care faster so that timely patient care can result in better outcomes. Here are some core benefits of Hucu.ai and how it improves patient care. Hucu.ai allows you to:
  • Make timely care decisions by quickly identifying and messaging all other stakeholders (facility, home health, therapy, specialists, etc.) unique to each specific patient
  • Spend more time providing care instead of trying to find who’s who in the care team and their contact information, for each specific patient
  • Organize & find all information for each specific patient (documents, DC summaries, med lists, wound photos, and more) shared by different staff from different organizations
  • Simplify admissions/discharge process from/to hospitals/snfs/home health and keep track of patients’ wellbeing in real-time – all remotely via Hucu.ai app irrespective of patients’ location – reduce hospitalizations
  • Take timely actions for higher acuity patients by empowering other collaborators to quickly flag (urgent, acute change in condition, PUI, COVID19 +VE. COVID19 -VE, and more) such patients.
If you want to ease communication in your healthcare facility, you can request a free demo from us. Contact us for more details.
Sources of information: hipaajournal
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What Is An Effective Nurse-Patient Communication?

An important aspect of being a nurse is to have effective communication skills. It is also one of the foundations of nursing care that has a huge impact on patients. Some have the mistaken impression that “communication skills” are just “what we say. Excellent communication is so much more.. In fact, good communication skills are based on the fundamentals of establishing excellent rapport, building two-way channels and using various modes of communication effectively.

Establishing Rapport
  • Cultural Awareness for your patients’ context
  • Compassion and Empathy for patient feelings
  • Building trust by making personal connections at a human level
Building two-way channels
  • Active Listening
  • Offering Patient Education, particularly in response to questions
  • Asking probing questions
  • Giving plenty of time for questions
Fully utilizing modes of communication
  • Verbal communication: what is being said
  • Non-verbal communication: this includes facial expressions, body language, hand gestures, eye contact, and physical distance between a nurse and the patient.
  • Written communication via text, email, or better secure HIPAA compliant app
  • Presentation skills for communicating concepts to groups
Effective nurse-patient communication is shown to improve quality of care, patient outcomes, and most importantly, a nurse-patient relationship which can directly impact patient satisfaction in a person-centered care approach. According to the book, Interpersonal Relationships: Professional Communication for Nurses by Arnold and Boggs, having a communication competency is a primary way to established, trust and a collaborative relationship with patients and families. Effective nurse-patient communication is not as easy as it sounds; in fact, it is very challenging for nurses and calls for more than skills and experience.

Break all communication barriers in healthcare with Hucu.ai

Principles of Improving Nurse-Patient Communication

Prioritize Patients

It is necessary to give priority to your patients. Putting a patient first can shift the mindset with which care is being provided. Effective communication with patients begins with taking the time out to introduce yourself and telling them exactly how you will take care of them. Using non-verbal cues such as a smile, calm voice and a warm, welcoming tone will provide comfort to the patient. Showing respect to patients and looking at them from a person-centered care lens will help you build a connection with the patient and help him feel more comfortable under your care. This approach is successful in making patients feel cared for.

Active Listening

A nurse has to be an active listener when communicating with the patient. It requires the nurse to listen with full attention to the speaker to get the intent and feeling. A part of active listening is to pay full attention to the speaker and to let them finish without interrupting them or judging them for what they are saying. Taking time out to understand the concerns of patients can help a nurse be more prepared to address problems and issues as they arise and achieve better patient outcomes. The second aspect of active listening is to paraphrase what has been said and repeat it while maintaining eye contact so that the patient knows you’ve been listening carefully. The third aspect of active listening is to grasp non-verbal cues like eye contact, gestures, body language, and expressions. These help a nurse connect with the patient and build trust as well as elevate the level of comfort over time. Additionally, patients who have established an understanding with the nurse will be more willing to disclose the true extent of their symptoms. Balancing time “telling” with time “asking/listening” is critical.

Speak from the Heart

A nurse should talk with his/her heart. Patient communication requires a lot of time and therefore, frankness and honesty play a role in effective communication in this duration. To increase the effectiveness of communication, nurses have to have a sincere intention to truly understand a patient’s concerns and reply with kindness. One way to do this is to ask patients open-ended questions so that they can express themselves fully. Speaking slowly and using layman language for medical terms can also help in relaxing the patient and creating a better understanding of the situation. If the patient is having a hard time understanding information or instructions, a nurse has to modify or clarify the information until the patient understands. For this reason, using presentation materials like pictures or handouts can complement verbal communication.
Otherwise, poor communication or lack of it can lead to patients misunderstanding directions and failing to follow the treatment steps. This can result in workflow breakdown for the medical team and increase the chances of medical errors. Did you know that a report by Joint Commission* found out that poor communication during patient transfers led to 80% of serious medical errors? With the available technology (phone), effective communication skills, and a healthcare text messaging application like Hucu.ai, that can be avoided.

Hucu.ai Facilitates Communication During Patient Transfers.

When patients are being transferred from post-acute care to a nursing facility, current care teams have to hand over the patient’s profile, medical condition report and relay important information related to the patient’s new care team. If any information is missed or communicated wrongly, it can have serious consequences for the patient. This is where Hucu.ai can help.
Hucu.ai is a HIPAA compliant, text messaging application built for the healthcare industry. It facilitates communication between care teams, nurses, patients, families, and all healthcare members involved with just a tap on the phone. Bringing all members of the care team in one digital ‘channel’ and sharing important documents, facts, and information regarding the patient transfer reduces the chances of error. Real-time notifications and the capability to reach out to any team member from anywhere anytime can drastically reduce delays in patient care leading to better patient outcomes.

Establish Personal Connections

In a person-centered care approach, it is critical to know the person behind the patient. What are his likes or dislikes? What makes him comfortable? What are his pet peeves? This can help in making the patient feel safer and more comfortable. Creating such personal connections with patients can improve patient outcomes. A nurse can achieve this by spending extra minutes every day and getting to know them, trying to exchange fun facts about each other, and showing genuine interest in their life story.

Cultural Knowledge

A nurse is likely to work with patients from different social and cultural backgrounds. It is important to be aware of cultural differences and be sensitive and respectful towards them. For example, if a patient is not fluent in English, it will be a good idea to bring a translator when necessary. Similarly, with trans or gender non-binary patients, a nurse can take care in using their preferred name and pronouns.
Effective nurse-patient communication is a life-long skill and can impact the quality of care a patient receives.
*The Joint Commission, “Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare Releases Targeted Solutions Tool for Hand-Off Communications,” August 2012, Volume 32, Issue 8, 2019.
Sources of Information: usa.edu, minoritynurse.com
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