Nor do we want to make mistakes. Because when we make a mistake, it affects someone’s health. The worst mistake can take a life.
Unfortunately, many patient care settings have evolved into inefficient operational systems that cause clinicians to waste time and energy, and to make mistakes. As a result, clinicians become frustrated, dissatisfied, and possibly even demoralized.
But the BEST health care operational systems support care team collaboration and empower us to work efficiently and accurately – to do our best, most gratifying work.
The book, Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses, summarizes the challenge well:
“In today’s health care system, delivery processes involve numerous interfaces and patient handoffs among multiple health care practitioners with varying levels of educational and occupational training. During the course of a 4-day hospital stay, a patient may interact with 50 different employees, including physicians, nurses, technicians, and others.
Effective clinical practice thus involves many instances where critical information must be accurately communicated. Team collaboration is essential. When health care professionals are not communicating effectively, patient safety is at risk for several reasons: lack of critical information, misinterpretation of information, unclear orders over the telephone, and overlooked changes in status.
Lack of communication creates situations where medical errors can occur. These errors have the potential to cause severe injury or unexpected patient death.”
Here are some specific medication issues caused by miscommunication, according to an analysis of medical malpractice claims:
And medication errors are just one area. Similar problematic areas exist throughout a patient’s hospital journey. Fortunately, communication is the common denominator, so a focus on helping care teams overcome ineffective communication and collaboration can have a far-reaching, positive improvement across a range of clinical scenarios and environments.
Over the decades, technology has improved our ability to communicate and collaborate. We’ve seen:
Then the Apple iPhone hit the shelves in 2007. Eight years later, 84% of physicians were using Smartphones in their work.
There are significant benefits to texting with Smartphones in the healthcare setting:
But texting with Smartphones introduces a new set of problems.
Gartner uses the terms Clinical Communication and Collaboration (CC&C) and Care Team Collaboration (CTC) to describe HIPAA compliant software systems that fix communications problems and improve care team collaboration.
Let’s first look at how CC&C systems satisfy federal regulatory requirements. To understand this, we need to know what HIPAA requires in the context of software used by healthcare facilities.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) defines PHI and how it must be protected. HIPAA compliance applies to two classes of health care organizations:
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) established the guidelines for how to create a HIPAA compliance program. We need to focus on three HIPAA rules:
The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces the Privacy and Security Rules.
What does all this mean? Companies that market their CC&C solutions to Covered Entities are Business Associates who must comply with the Security Rule. This trait sets them apart from companies that offer standard SMS text messaging apps. You’ll need to establish a BAA with them before any PHI is shared.
“In relation to medical software applications, the term HIPAA compliant means that the app meets the technical and physical safeguards of the HIPAA Security Rule.” – HIPAA Journal
Now, some HIPAA compliant software reaches beyond HIPAA requirements to bring more PHI protection than is required by HIPAA. HITRUST CSF Certification is a “framework that provides organizations with a comprehensive, flexible and efficient approach to regulatory compliance and risk management.” This extra layer of security consists of 172 baseline controls across 19 domains. If your Business Associate is HITRUST CSF certified, you can expect to save up to $300,000 each year in audit requests and time spent completing internal assessments.
Finally, consider how you will secure the mobile devices used in your organization.
Regarding care team collaboration, below are six ways CC&C HIPAA compliant messaging solutions are superior to traditional SMS messaging. CC&C Systems:
Even though traditional, non-secure SMS texting is an improvement for care team collaboration, it’s not enough. On the other hand, Clinical Communication and Collaboration solutions fix every regulatory and communication shortfall of SMS texting:
TigerConnect is a leader among HIPAA compliant software providers. With 99.99% uptime and HITRUST Certification, every organization considering a secure messaging implementation should include TigerConnect in its list of top contenders. Request a demo today!
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