Importance and Benefits of Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare

Benefits of Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare

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The World Health Organization explains it as “multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds work[ing] together with patients, families, carers (caregivers), and communities to deliver the highest quality of care.”
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation talks about the inherent power struggles and necessary culture changes in its definition of interprofessional collaboration in healthcare:
“Effective interprofessional collaboration promotes the active participation of each discipline in patient care, where all disciplines are working together and fully engaging patients and those who support them, and leadership on the team adapts based on patient needs … It fosters respect for the disciplinary contributions of all professionals.”

What Are The Benefits of Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare and Why Should It be a Priority for Organizations?
Interprofessional collaboration in healthcare is important because when healthcare organizations have a collaborative culture, they want to implement communication tools to support that culture so that they can take advantage of the following.

We have divided this blog into six sections for your reading ease. Plus, you can also take a break if you feel any particular section is draining you out and jump back to any section quickly.

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A. Importance:

  1. healthcare is moving toward value-based care, which is all about how different teams across multiple organizations can effectively collaborate with each other
  2. evidence suggests that the faster different care team members communicate issues with each other, the better the patient care and therefore better outcomes
  3. more complex patient cases require more timely communication across different care team members
  4. if everyone in the care team knows who’s doing what for which patients, then they have less burnout

B. Benefits:

  1. value-based care requires organizations to ensure that their patient is well taken care of, across different organizations. care setting agnostic – so making sure that patient care is communicated and transitioned effectively across a hospital, skilled nursing, home health and so on, as the patient transitions from one care setting to another
  2. if everyone involved in a care team for a specific patient is collaborating effectively, then chances are that there’s less likely an opportunity for mistake or delayed care related action, which means everyone in the care team is aware of what’s going on and therefore be able to take necessary actions in a timely manner for better patient care and outcomes
  3. complex patients like people over 65 (medicare beneficiaries), have more people (nurse, pcp, specialist, therapist, nutritionist, social worker, community worker, case manager, etc.) involved in their care on a regular basis. so everyone will know who’s doing what so better care can be delivered
  4. less burnout results in better employee engagement, and ability to serve more patients with less staff
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C. Challenges in implementing inter-professional collaboration:

  1. care team members belong to different organizations and many times do not know who’s who, their contact info, and their specific role in a specific patient’s care
  2. care team members’ organization use different EHRs (EHR for hospital, EHR for SNF, EHR for home health, etc.), which do not talk to each other which results in lack of collaboration among team members
  3. care team members are using a myriad of different tools (phones, voicemails, text/sms, emails, fax, etc.) in a silo 1:1 manner so the collaboration is broken because the communication is only 1:1 and NOT 1:Many with the rest of the interprofessional care team members involved
  4. Since the interprofessional collaboration is 1:1, its hard to know the other care team members who should be involved in the care decisions for a patient.
  5. interprofessional collaboration gets exponentially difficult if the care team members are spread across multiple organizations but contracted to provide care for the same patient. for example, a senior patient may be at a hospital with a discharge team trying to transition her care to a short-term rehab SNF but doesnt know the intake nurse in that SNF. At the same time, the patient may also have PCP that needs to be informed and CCM coordinator as well as a case manager and a therapist. Identifying the right interprofessional team is no east task and therefore is considered one of the biggest challenges in healthcare that’s holding us back from providing OPTIMAL, PROACTIVE and TIMELY care.
  6. because the collaboration is not in one place, there’s not transparency and therefore no accountability among different care team member from multiple organizations

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D. HOW TO IMPLEMENT INTERPROFESSIONAL CARE (without an interprofessional collaboration tool):

Step 1. identify your care network – organizations (hospitals, home health, SNF, therapy, case management, payer, etc.) that your organization collaborates with for your patients

Step 2. get all the care team members in those organizations phone numbers and titles in one place

Step 3. share the lists with your team members so they know who to contact from which organization

Step 4. for every specific patient related discussion, create a group of all the right team members in a secure text or secure email and start communicating

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E. How to Implement Interprofessional Care (with an interprofessional collaboration tool like HUCU.AI):

Step 1. build your care network once – organizations (hospitals, home health, SNF, therapy, case management, payer, etc.) that your organization collaborates with for your patients

Step 2. the care network employees complete their profiles so they are part of the care team across their partner organizations.

Step 3. create a patient specific channel and simply mention the right care team member to get them plugged in with the rest of the team – no need to share lists

F. Benefits of using Hucu.ai as THE TOOL built for interprofessional collaboration VS. using other methods to enable the same:

  1. easy setup – start in as little as 10 mins to create your account and start collaborating
  2. free forever version to get your network up and running quickly and cost effectively
  3. clear transparency – each care team for each patient is different. get to know who’s taking care of what thereby increasing accountability across multiple organizations.ow

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Here’s how Hucu.ai can help in:

1. Improving Patient Care and Outcomes

For critical cases, a lot of doctors from different specialities come together to share their valuable insights about the patient. All of them will notice different symptoms and consider various possibilities. Together, they can have a more comprehensive understanding of the patient’s condition. However, these people are rarely in the same room. And they do not have a way to communicate in real-time.

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

2. Reduced Medical Errors

The gap in communication in healthcare can lead to misdiagnosis, delayed medication – all of which are costly consequences. . According to Johns Hopkins, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S and such errors can cause 250,000 deaths each year.

EHR notes help but clinical communication is more important. This means having a group discussion in which all staff members give information for the nurses to treat their patients properly. Studies have shown that interprofessional collaboration in healthcare can help reduce preventable adverse drug reactions and decrease death rates.

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

3. Faster Treatment

Much of healthcare can include a lot of waiting, for example, patients waiting for physicians who in turn are waiting for their colleagues to get back to them with their advice and consultations. When such communication delays take place, valuable time is lost and a patient’s condition can worsen.

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

4. Improved Staff Relationships

Every health profession has its own culture and philosophy. When organizations add power structures, some members are able to speak more than others. That is not favorable to the patient or for the staff morale.

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

Supporting Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare With a Mobile Solution

Employees in most industries are connected to each other through communication platforms. All they need is a smartphone. However, healthcare workers don’t have this experience at their work. This is because their employers have not invested in a HIPAA compliant communication platform which makes them rely on outdated technology like landlines, pagers, and fax machines. Hucu.ai is a FREE HIPAA Compliant text messaging application that hospitals can use to solve communication problems.

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