Answering the call for better clinical collaboration

Penn State Health is a multi-hospital ecosystem serving patients and communities across 29 counties of Pennsylvania. This includes five hospitals with nearly 1,400 licensed beds, and 2,450 physicians and advanced practice providers – managing 2 million outpatient visits and 133,000 emergency department visits annually. For a healthcare ecosystem this large, efficient and seamless clinical communication is critical.  

During the past few years alone, communication at Penn State Health across doctors, facilities, and patients has become increasingly digital. With healthcare providers making the switch from pagers to smartphones, the health system now estimates it manages approximately 2 million texts per month. This caused Penn State Health to take a closer look at its communication infrastructure. 

podcast whats right for the patient preview

What’s Right for the Patient –
The Role of Technology in Healthcare Communication

Communication and Collaboration Goes Digital 

At every stage of patient intake, diagnosis, and treatment – providers must not only communicate and collaborate seamlessly with each other but effectively engage with patients in real time. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case as the industry struggles with a communication infrastructure that just wasn’t designed for today’s healthcare requirements. 

Just how serious is the issue? According to a survey TigerConnect conducted in partnership with Becker’s Healthcare, “The State of Clinical Communications and Workflows,” one of organizations’ biggest challenges in the context of using legacy communication technologies  
is difficulty communicating with teams outside a unit. Respondents also expressed that one of the top reasons they would like to streamline clinical workflows at their organization is to improve quality outcomes and patient safety. Ultimately, this poor clinical communication often leads to longer Length of Stay (LOS), discharge delays, and non-medical postponements for patients.  

For Penn State Health, TigerConnect was the remedy for its communications ailments. 

Making the Connection – with TigerConnect 

At the highest levels, Penn State Health is working to more effectively leverage technology to improve the overall patient experience – seamlessly incorporating electronic health records (EHRs), secure messaging, and real-time collaboration. Core to this transformation is TigerConnect, as its cloud-based clinical collaboration and communication platform has played a critical role in the facility to better leverage technology, and improve digital communications for quality care. Supporting text, voice, and video – alongside alarm management and alert notifications – the platform makes it easier than ever for care teams across Penn State Health to communicate and collaborate seamlessly.  

Critical is the use of TigerConnect Roles and Teams – empowering users to reach the right colleague, group, or team by role and shift schedule. Secure messaging and the power to immediately connect with a pre-defined yet customizable group of Roles and Individuals on an event-by-event basis – escalating critical issues as necessary – has dramatically improved the quality and efficiency of cross-team communications. 

By using TigerConnect, Penn State Health has eliminated time wasted by manually tracking down contact information for team members. Initially, the capability was launched across both radiology and laboratory services teams – enabling the right person to be found by role without needing to know their name. Via secure messaging, pre-defined groups can be alerted and mobilized consistently at the same time to coordinate care – while new members are able to be added and removed quickly. The solution also ensures urgent issues and discussions are tracked and automatically escalated via the platform to improve response times.  

Looking ahead, Penn State Health is looking to adopt the TigerConnect platform more broadly as departments and facilities attempt to further streamline clinical communications processes. Ultimately, they believe it’s what’s best for not only the facility – but patients and the community at large. Chief Medical Information Officer at Penn State Health, Dr. Chris DeFlitch, notes: 

“As a facility, it is our responsibility and obligation to improve the lifespan and healthcare outcomes of families across our region. It’s relationships with companies like TigerConnect that truly demonstrate the power of technology to not only improve how we communicate but ultimately more effectively serve the healthcare needs of our community. It’s a win-win for all of us.” 

To learn more about the power of TigerConnect and how it’s transforming clinical communication and collaboration at facilities like Penn State Health, please listen to this episode of The Connected Care Team podcast

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