Everyone knows healthcare is a fragmented industry. With so many stakeholders and processes, it’s no wonder that effective communication—and the lack of it—is a frequent challenge for everyone from patients to providers. The resulting inefficiencies cost hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare organizations millions of dollars each year. In fact, a study by management consultancy firm McKinsey & Company found that U.S.-based healthcare organizations lose up to $80 billion annually due to disconnected information processes. Why are we losing so much money because of ineffective communication? And how can we find solutions fast?
Healthcare Communication Problems: Causes and Consequences
There are many reasons why healthcare communication is broken. Some of those include: –
Fragmented and siloed data – Data silos cause data to be stored in separate locations, preventing it from being shared or used to create new insights. This fragmentation results in wasted time and resources as providers are forced to create new records manually instead of using existing data.
Solution: All healthcare providers should use cloud-based data storage so they can access it from everywhere.
Lack of digital transformation – Healthcare organizations have been slow to digitize their operations. This makes information sharing and collaboration difficult, if not impossible and leads to increased errors and other inefficiencies.
Solution: They should adopt modern means of communication and use the latest communication software available in the market like Hucu.ai App HIPAA compliant. It offers cloud-based storage which makes it easy to access, share, and of course 100% secure.
Ineffective communication channels – In healthcare, there are many different communication channels, such as direct phone calls, voicemails text messages, emails, and video calls. These channels are often poorly managed and fail to connect the right people with the right information at the right time.
Solution: There are many most modern and updated software available in the market but for effective and secure communication Hucu.ai app offers free HIPAA secure video conference, secure text messaging service, and secure file sharing.
Poor training and education – Health workers are often not given the training they need to communicate effectively with other departments and patients. This causes confusion and frustration among all parties, and in extreme cases, leads to misdiagnosis and other serious patient safety issues.
Solution: All staff members should be given proper orientation and training about their job descriptions.
Language barriers – Many healthcare organizations have patients that speak languages other than English. Barriers to communication due to language, accents, and dialects can lead to misdiagnosis, incorrect treatment, and poor patient outcomes.
Why Healthcare Communication Is Broken
Communication in healthcare is broken because the industry hasn’t invested enough in digitizing the way information is created, stored, and accessed. There is a lack of consistency in the way data is captured, stored, and accessed, which leads to duplication of effort and data silos. Without a central database to store all information, it’s very difficult to manage data integrity and ensure that it is correct and accessible to all stakeholders. Communication is also broken because there is little standardization and interoperability between software systems. Healthcare providers and vendors use different systems and can’t interoperate with each other. This prevents data from being shared, making it difficult to create a complete and holistic picture of the patient and their journey.
The Problem with Electronic Health Records (EHRs)
EHRs have been promoted as the key to transforming healthcare communication. However, this technology has failed to live up to expectations, mainly because it was implemented in a centralized model. EHRs are often deployed as a one-size-fits-all solution, which doesn’t take into account the specific needs of each healthcare organization. If each hospital uses a different EHR, and these systems don’t share data, then there is no interoperability between organizations. This is known as a “rugged healthcare environment”. The rugged healthcare environment is characterized by disconnected and dispersed data. Data is often stored on paper, in email inboxes, or on local servers, and it is disconnected from other data sources.
Unreliable Voice Communications
Communicating with patients via phone call is a crucial part of healthcare. However, many phone calls between healthcare organizations are either not being made at all or are being made in a haphazard way. This is often because there are no standards to guide which phone numbers are used. In many cases, a call between two hospitals or clinics will be routed to a central operator, who will then transfer the call to the correct person. Because communications are recorded, there is no way to track which operator took the call, when the call was made, and what was said. This makes it impossible to track the progress of the call and share information between organizations.
The Lack of a Universal Patient ID
One of the reasons for the inefficiencies in healthcare communication is that there isn’t a universal patient ID. Each hospital or clinic uses a different identifier for each patient, making it difficult to track progress and share information. Though some organizations have attempted to introduce a universal patient ID, such as the HL-7 initiative, the efforts have been unsuccessful. The HL-7 initiative was started in the ‘80s and aimed to create a single, universal patient ID. However, it was eventually discontinued in 2003, due to lack of interest and funding.
Long waits for patient test results
Communication issues can lead to significant delays in important patient test results, such as pathology or blood tests, which can delay treatment or diagnosis. This can happen when providers send paper test results to pathology labs or other departments, such as radiology or labs, which can lead to a long wait for test results. The need to transfer data manually often results in the data being misplaced or sent to the wrong recipient. This can lead to significant delays in the results being delivered to the correct people, which in turn can lead to delayed treatment or diagnosis for patients.
Limited Integration Between Providers and Vendors
Communication issues also extend to the relationship between healthcare providers and vendors. Communication breakdowns between these two groups lead to ineffective decision-making and increased risk of fraud and compliance issues. However, because there is a lack of interoperability between systems, it is difficult for these two groups to share information and make data-driven decisions. For example, if a healthcare organization purchases a new system that automatically makes payments to vendors, it is likely that the vendor’s system will not be able to receive or process the payment. As a result, the organization will have to use a different system to make payments.
Healthcare communication is broken because the industry has not invested in digitizing the way information is captured, stored, and accessed. This has led to a fragmented and siloed data landscape, and a lack of interoperability between software systems. There is also a lack of standardization and interoperability between communication channels and a lack of a universal patient ID that could help connect systems across the industry. These issues have led to significant communication breakdowns between healthcare organizations and their patients. Even if you’re not in healthcare, these communication issues will sound familiar. We all deal with them regularly when trying to get in touch with someone who works in another department or collaborating with colleagues whose systems aren’t integrated with ours. There is a lot that can be done to improve communication and collaboration, and it all starts with recognizing the issues and taking steps to correct them.
Hucu.ai is a platform that addresses all of these issues mentioned above simultaneously.
With Hucu.ai, healthcare team members, patients, and family members can come together in a digital space to communicate via secure text message and free video conference in a HIPAA-compliant manner. It is also convenient for healthcare team members to communicate effectively with the patient’s family without incurring extra phone call time. This results in better patient care and family satisfaction. Hucu.ai app is cloud-based data storage it can be access easily and file sharing is possible in just one click with full security. With its HIPAA-compliant environment, Hucu.ai is a healthcare communication platform that makes it easy for hospitals and healthcare facilities to communicate. With its unique features, Hucu.ai makes it simple for hospitals to get up and running. The attentive and well-trained customer support group is what makes this possible.