In healthcare, every second counts. The ability to quickly respond to Code Blue situations, ease patient transfers, and seamlessly collaborate across healthcare teams is essential to achieve favorable patient outcomes. But clinical workflows are notoriously complex – often characterized by siloed information, outdated technology, disparate systems, and a lack of integrated communication and collaboration.
A holistic clinical workflow must include seamless collaboration across facilities, doctors, care teams, and specialists to power more effective patient diagnoses, lighten clinical casework, and lessen errors. But that’s not as easy as it may seem.
Integrated clinical workflows are key for smooth patient care coordination. Whether sharing patient history, medication dosage, X-rays, and other information, seamless clinical communication matters – as any gaps or errors can mean poor patient outcomes and overworked providers.
Every member of the clinical care team plays a unique but critical role, and the accurate and timely sharing of digital information is paramount. Just imagine the consequences of miscommunicating patient allergies or medication dosage. An effective clinical workflow ensures that the right information is delivered to the right person at the right time.
Poor clinical communication and collaboration can prove damaging not only to the patient but the provider. In fact, a recent investigation of 23,000 medical malpractice lawsuits found approximately 30 percent came as the result of poor clinical communication – at the cost of nearly $2 billion and almost 2,000 deaths.
While there’s no universal remedy for building strong clinical workflows, there are several ways to get started. Every healthcare workflow is different, but there are common approaches to identifying communication gaps and fixing issues. Here are five tips to consider:
You cannot manage what you cannot see. It’s important to conduct an audit of your clinical workflows to examine any bottlenecks and roadblocks that exist. Are there unnecessary steps? Are there too many providers involved? Answering these questions will help determine where communication gaps lie. This will pinpoint areas where efficiency can be improved. For example, every critical lab result requires a physician to sign off on it. Streamline this workflow by eliminating the step of having the nurse review the result and send it directly to the physician for acknowledgement.
One of the most important ways to achieve seamless clinical workflows is by integrating your communication platform with critical systems such as EHR, nurse call, physiological monitors, radiology, and labs. Automated alerts from these systems can dramatically speed up workflows. To streamline communication, all care team members must receive real-time alerts. Out-of-date or partial data can severely impact diagnoses and treatment, so investing in clinical integrations that help break down information silos is crucial.
Of course, patients are at the center of all clinical workflows. Keeping patients and their families informed is important in increasing workflow efficiency. When patients and their families are kept up to speed, care decisions can be made quickly, leading to better patient outcomes. Investing in patient engagement tools improves patient outreach, patient-to-provider relationships, and care plan adherence. Additionally, standardizing patient communication in workflows also leads to increased patient satisfaction.
Up-to-date schedules are critical to clinical workflows. Manual on-call schedules are not always reliable, with multiple changes and swaps sometimes taking hours to populate throughout the ecosystem. Automated scheduling syncs instantly the moment a change is made, ensuring that the on-call schedule is always up to date. Additionally, automated scheduling systems can be integrated with modern clinical communication technology, enabling providers to message other providers by role – without needing to consult a list.
A holistic offering on a single platform drives the ultimate success of any clinical workflow. The TigerConnect Collaboration Portfolio acts as the hub for all healthcare communication. This includes everything from care team communication and alert and alarms to automated physician scheduling and patient engagement – allowing healthcare professionals to work together, accelerate care delivery, and improve patient outcomes.
TigerConnect helps streamline clinical workflows by getting the right message to the right person at the right time, bringing in contextual information from integrated systems, and accelerating care delivery.
Interested in bringing holistic clinical communication and collaboration to your clinical workflows? Take the next step and learn more today!