A 2020 study by CRICO Strategies showed that one-third of malpractice claims were caused by a failure in healthcare communication. Gaps in communication are one of the biggest causes of delays in patient transfers – leading to delays in treatment and a longer than necessary length of stay.
Clinical communication and collaboration (CC&C) platforms can speed up and improve patient transfers—increasing patient and care team satisfaction while contributing to better financial results. When collaboration improves between care team members and the transfer center, it becomes possible to improve patient transfers throughout an entire facility.
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Communication difficulties impact patient transfers and related information handoffs across a patient’s entire hospital experience. Figuring out where to send patients may result in “phone tag” between hospital personnel and delays in placing the patient in a room. Multiple people need to have the same information about the patient, which begets more phone calls. Or, the admitting physician is unavailable to take a call, which further delays the admission process.
A lack of transfer center efficiency is more than a nuisance. It’s also expensive. Delays in patient transfers mean that facilities cannot fill available beds, impacting revenue. Additionally, transfer delays increase labor costs from physicians and other clinicians waiting for orders, information, or patients.
For example, Westchester Medical Center Health Network transfers patients from its emergency department to another facility 10,000 times a year. Their previous transfer process required attending emergency physicians to leave a message with an internal call center to notify physicians at other facilities via their pagers requesting a return call. This inefficient process led to transfer delays, slow response times, and patient dissatisfaction. After implementing the TigerConnect Clinical Collaboration Platform, clinicians were able to directly collaborate on patient transfers, saving time and labor costs.
Negative patient experiences can also be costly, with patients telling others about their negative experiences, which will affect revenue. Patients who have negative experiences are less likely to comply with care plans, leading to costly readmissions.
The University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH) in Albuquerque offers a great example of how CC&C technology can improve patient transfers. UNMH selected the TigerConnect Clinical Collaboration Platform to replace the organization’s pager system. With TigerConnect, the UNMH Transfer Center improved external communication with rural facilities, especially for consults or requests for patient transfers. The platform gave UNMH physicians quick and efficient access to patient information including pictures, videos, and files. This capability, among others, has enabled UNMH care team members and people working for external providers to save time on transfers.
CC&C platforms tie together many of the currently separate threads of clinical communication. Care team members have a single app to consult for virtually every communication and collaboration need.
These are just some of the ways that robust CC&C solutions improve patient transfers and related administrative processes. Download our eBook, 6 Easy Ways to Modernize Hospital Transfer Centers, to learn more.