Reimagining Communication Workflows Series: Part 2 – Improving Consult Turnaround Times for Patients

Reimagining Communication Workflows Series: Part 2 – Improving Consult Turnaround Times for Patients

Achieving the goals of improved outcomes, reduced costs and a better patient experience calls for new care delivery systems, advanced technology, and adherence to best practices at every point of the patient journey. It also requires all care providers to communicate clearly and completely across the care continuum.

As part of our ongoing series, we will be discussing how new clinical communication and collaboration technologies are reshaping those traditional healthcare communication models.

In our last post, we explored how common communication deficiencies impact care. In this article we will be showcasing how TigerConnect Clinical Collaboration Platform – Standard can dramatically shorten turnaround times for patients.

The Problem

One of the biggest delays in treatment occurs with specialist consults. Once the Emergency Department physician (ED) enters a consult request into the electronic health record (EHR), the hospitalist or unit manager must identify the relevant on-call specialist and provide them with pertinent patient information. However, precious time is squandered searching for a paper schedule or calling the operator to identify the name of the on-call physician. And that’s before multiple rounds of phone tag ensue.

It’s no wonder the consult process in many hospitals can take 24 hours before a physician examines the patient, leaving the patient inconvenienced and dissatisfied— and potentially causing a negative financial impact to the hospital.

A Better Way

When a clinical communication platform is integrated with picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), for example, the hospitalist can order an X-ray and the radiologist can simultaneously send the image to the ordering physician as well as an on-call specialist. The specialist can immediately text a question to the radiologist without involving voicemail or pagers.

Such communication improvements enabled Connecticut-based Waterbury Hospital to decrease its consult turnaround time by 21 hours. By integrating TigerConnect Clinical Collaboration Platform – Standard’s secure messaging solution with its Cerner EHR platform, the 357-bed teaching hospital enabled all members of a patient’s care team to instantly receive exam reports, test results, and critical alerts, even if they weren’t interacting with the EHR. The real-time flow of information resulted in better care coordination and faster patient throughput, which led to shorter lengths of stay and an average savings of $2,220 per patient.

Where to Start

TigerConnect Clinical Collaboration Platform – Standard is an easy-to-use messaging app for smartphones or workstations that helps organizations improve care team communications and collaboration while achieving HIPAA-compliance.

In practical terms, it means that hospitalists can instantly identify and contact on-call specialists, ER physicians can easily share images with on-call cardiologists, and discharge coordinators can mobilize social workers, pharmacy, and physical therapists to expedite discharge.

TigerConnect Clinical Collaboration Platform – Standard benefits include:

Achieve HIPAA Compliance
TigerConnect Clinical Collaboration Platform – Standard’s secure and encrypted, HITRUST-certified application protects patient information and meets HIPAA guidelines, even guaranteeing your organization against fines.

Replace Outdated Technologies
Save time and improve communication efficiency by alleviating phone tag, unanswered pages, and disruption to patients and care team members.

Manage Users and Enforce
Policies Maintain full control with the administrative console for managing users and devices while setting and enforcing security policies.

Optimize Workflows
Enable staff to quickly communicate and coordinate with other departments for consults, transfers, medication reconciliation, and more.

Integrate with Existing Applications
Save time and reduce steps by integrating TigerConnect Clinical Collaboration Platform – Standard with paging systems, answering services, and LDAP/Active Directory.

To learn more about TigerConnect Clinical Collaboration Platform – Standard,download the Reimaging Communications Workflows eBook here

Up Next: Communicating critical test results in real-time

Will O’Connor, M.D. is the Chief Medical Information Officer at TigerConnect. As a physician executive with more than 20 years of healthcare experience, Will is a passionate advocate for rapid advancement across the healthcare industry.

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