Why Escalations are Important for Clinical Communication

11.01.19 TigerConnect Healthcare
Why Escalations are Important for Clinical Communication

The typical day for a hospital worker is often (accurately) referred to as “organized chaos”. Understandably, daily tasks are dictated by the abrupt needs of patients, making most days highly unpredictable.

With an increasing number of disruptions that can limit a provider’s ability to receive and act on clinical requests, there’s a correlated risk that can lead to impaired outcomes and reduced patient satisfaction.

A recent report from CRICO Strategies evaluated 23,658 malpractice cases filed between 2009 to 2013. The report’s landmark finding: Communication was a factor in fully 30 percent of those cases, resulting in $1.7 billion in total incurred losses.

TigerConnect recognizes the importance of having a reliable flow of communication to ensure prompt responses and action. Through a series of escalation features, the TigerFlow solution increases message and alert response rates by routing delivery through an alternative channel or to an appropriate back-up provider after a predefined period of unresponsiveness.

Ensuring the Primary Provider is Covered

When a provider’s services are required, they may become temporarily unavailable to other colleagues, creating a gap in the flow of clinical communication. This gap can pose serious risks if the on-duty provider remains unreachable for an extended period of time and an emergency request goes unacknowledged. Enter Escalations…

Here’s how Escalated Messaging works:

If an emergency or other urgent situation renders a physician or nurse unavailable, a message that has been tagged for escalation can be re-sent and a new recipient is added to the group based on a pre-programmed hierarchy of alternate clinicians who can quickly assume ownership of patients or responsibilities. This expands the universe of available staff who can acknowledge the request and the likelihood of it being fulfilled in a timely manner. Escalation rules are initiated by the end-user but are set up and managed by the organization’s administrator.

Escalations can be used in tandem with TigerFlow’s Intelligent Shift-Based Routing, which allows users to message a specific role (e.g. ED Hospitalist, 3rd Floor Charge Nurse, etc.) as opposed to wasting time searching for the on-duty individual. In the event a physician or nurse currently occupying a role becomes unresponsive, a pre-configured escalation will auto-initiate once the set acknowledgment-time threshold is reached.

When configuring the escalation policy, a care-team role capable of providing coverage should be selected as the initial backup. Additionally, a second backup role can be enabled in the event multiple personnel becomes unavailable. Separate acknowledgment time limits can be set for each stage of the escalation process.

Improving Message Deliverability

A reality of hardware technology is that there are often numerous points of vulnerability that can impact performance. For hospital workers, this could mean anything from an entire clinical system going down, to simply having a temporary, poor internet connection.

The required level of connectivity for communicating via a mobile device varies for each channel. When a TigerConnect message is sent, but not delivered, the system recognizes the situation and attempts to utilize a secondary channel.

Delivery Escalation (SMS & email) – For notifications that are not delivered within an admin-controlled period of time (e.g. 10 minutes), messages are re-sent via SMS (or Email), alerting the recipient that someone is attempting to message them.

When configuring this escalation, the admin can select how long to wait before attempting to resend the message. This process remains HIPAA-compliant as the alternate channels do not display any of the original messages, but rather link to a secure web browser where it can be accessed. TigerFlow’s Delivery Escalation increases the likelihood a message will be seen and acknowledged.

Enhancing Reliability and Accountability

To ensure efficient clinical workflow, the ability to seamlessly communicate is paramount. Unfortunately, while most disruptions of communication are outside of the clinician’s control, they still have a direct impact on the care they provide.

TigerConnect’s escalation features are specifically designed to overcome these disruptions. By automating the escalation of messages to a hierarchy of backup personnel and messaging channels, response rates improve and in turn, so do outcomes.

Contact us today to find out how our Healthcare Communication solutions can help your organization.

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