It takes more than just performing procedures and making a diagnosis for hospitals and healthcare providers to ensure that patients receive quality care. Communication is an important aspect in all the stages of the healthcare process. Whether it is a clinic trying to share a patient’s data accurately with another facility or a group of nurses and doctors at the hospital, discussing how to treat current patients – there is a need for effective communication and collaboration in the healthcare sector.
Organizations with solid communication and collaboration policies can positively affect their patients’ health, while those without such procedures in place can negatively impact their patients’ well-being. Healthcare professionals and organizations have to realize and recognize the importance of communication and collaboration in healthcare so that they can thrive.
Better Communication Leads to Better Healthcare
Poor communication was one of the factors that led to over 1,700 patient deaths and over $1.7 billion in malpractice costs nationally in the last 7 years according to a published study in Fierce Healthcare. The stats reflect how better communication methods would benefit healthcare providers and patients. Effective communication – both interhospital and intrahospital – is imperative for healthcare providers if they want to protect their patients, cut costs, and increase efficiency in everyday processes. Patients can also benefit from increased access to their medical history and access to their healthcare providers in emergencies which can prevent sudden deaths or patients going into critical conditions.
When considering the importance of communication and collaboration in healthcare, patient safety is a top priority and one of the main reasons to create an effective communication structure in the organization. Inadequate communication is often a major reason for in-hospital deaths. A 2006 study in the Clinical Biochemist Review notes:
“In a retrospective review of 14,000 in-hospital deaths, communication errors were found to be the lead cause, twice as frequent as errors due to inadequate clinical skill.”
Communication errors can have dire consequences but the good thing is these are relatively easy to fix and many deaths caused by communication errors can be prevented. This fact alone is enough to understand the importance of communication and collaboration in healthcare.
Interhospital and Intrahospital Communications
There are two communication methods that healthcare organizations utilize to ensure the patient’s safety and well-being.
Interhospital communication involves sharing information among multiple sites of organizations. This includes information sharing between facilities owned by the same organization or between completely separate healthcare entities. If patients need to be moved from one facility to another, their medical records need to be shared along with vital medical equipment. All of these require clear and effective communication between the entities.
Hospitals often come across obstacles in communicating effectively with one another in such situations. A study was done by the Center for Health Information and Decision Systems (CHIDS) finds that poor interhospital communication costs the industry upward of $12 billion per anum. Ineffective communication can drive up costs by preventing organizations from accessing patients’ medical history without a delay – which also creates a need to duplicate tests and reach out for second opinions that would not be necessary otherwise.
Today’s medical advancements can greatly help the situation of ineffective communication. With every passing day, policymakers are realizing the role mobile phones can play for healthcare staff that need to communicate quickly and easily. This is why telehealth can tackle the problem of ineffective communication. One of the growing solutions is Hucu – a HIPAA compliant free texting application. Hucu can be easily installed by healthcare providers on their smartphones.
The application has several features that can help streamline intrahospital communication effortlessly in a safe, HIPAA compliant environment. Hospitals involved in transferring a patient can connect on a specific patient channel and communicate instantly via text message or video conference facilitated by Zoom. The latter provides an instant visual assessment of the situation to the necessary eyes that can jumpstart a series of lifesaving actions in a life-threatening, critical situation. The patient data can be uploaded and transferred digitally, eliminating the need to photocopy and fax – which can save precious time that can be refocused on the patient.
Traditional intrahospital communication is also prone to problems. Intrahospital communication refers to the sharing of information within a single institution – whether it involves coordinating room changes, assigning tests, scheduling surgeries, or even setting up appointments and follow-ups of a patient. When staff, nurses, doctors, and patients are not effectively sharing information, the efficiency of each process will decrease and result in preventable delays and costs and danger to patients. Lack of procedural coordination, patient record sharing delays, and medical miscommunication can be the result of poor intrahospital communication.
Hucu Saves Time and Costs with Effortless Communication Delivery
How can Hucu help in intrahospital collaboration? Hucu is specifically designed to solve this problem. It is a patient-focused application that allows teams to build individual channels and add only relevant members who can communicate instantly via text message or video conference in real-time. It also helps keep the process transparent. Tasks can be assigned to staff members in a specific channel and follow-ups can be done in real-time. “Honor Points” is another feature that helps motivate staff members to perform better and receive recognition in the team.
Hucu can be rooted very well in all the communication processes of a healthcare organization. Patients can also connect with their healthcare providers instantly through Hucu. In hospice situations where families and friends have to wait hours before they can get an update about their patient’s well being – Hucu can offer a huge sigh of relief. Families can instantly get in touch with the doctor on duty and inquire about their patient’s health.
Hucu is a HIPAA compliant application which means that sharing patients’ data safely and securely was not this easy and quick before. In fact, delays in sharing patient records can cost hospitals millions of dollars every year in preventable expenses. Sharing patient data is critical to understand the medical history and provide appropriate medical care to the patient. With Hucu, a healthcare organization can share patient’s data securely between departments smoothly and reduce chances of practice errors that would eventually increase costs.
Coordinating Hospital Leadership
Hospitals are businesses whether they’re publicly or privately funded and they need to operate as such. Hospital managers and other leaders need to communicate frequently with staff members, doctors, and patients. All hospital leaders and managers have to oversee administrative staff and tasks to play a crucial role in patient healthcare plans. Hucu can help leaders maintain an open line of communication with those around them and facilitate information sharing between healthcare organization departments and with other institutions. The traditional method of assessing the overall picture within a hospital will rely on reports from different departments that take time and effort to generate. With Hucu, leaders can easily get a quick overview of how the processes and departments are performing with a single tap of their fingers on their smartphones.
Hucu is a stepping stone and a true example of the great potential that telemedicine advancements have to transform the healthcare system for the better. As healthcare professionals embrace telemedicine, patients receive better care within the hospital and remotely through effective communication and collaborative tools like Hucu.
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