Clinicians can all agree that finding out who is on call for a shift should be easy, but in many hospitals that is not the case. Based on TigerConnect customer data, nurses spend an average of 42 minutes out of each shift searching for contacts, providers or other people and the phone numbers to contact them. Multiply that by the number of nurses on a given shift, it becomes clear how much time is wasted from collaboration inefficiencies per shift.  

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation found that there is as much as $750 billion a year in wasted healthcare spending that includes significant increments of “operational waste” and “failures in care coordination” including “the lack of communication and coordination between providers of care.” One contributing factor is the time spent searching for the right provider on call, which is included in this staggering number. 

Why are healthcare organizations allowing this inefficiency to persist,  delaying care delivery and slowing patient throughput? This form of Collaboration Waste, highlights the urgent need for improved communication within healthcare to streamline operations and reduce unnecessary costs. 

Collaboration Waste is all the glitches, delays and inefficiencies inherent in delivering care in a modern healthcare setting. Many people and departments must collaborate to move a patient through the system. The obstacles they encounter doing so can look like individualized, distinct issues of varying sizes. In fact, Collaboration Waste is one huge issue that manifests itself in different ways. 

TigerConnect has identified seven different categories of Collaboration Waste. In this blog, we will focus on “Searching for Contacts.” 

infographic collaborationwaste preview

Discover the 7 Types of Collaboration Waste

Collaboration Waste is hiding in plain sigh. Learn how you can spot it before it’s too late!

Who’s on call and how do I find out? 

In far too many hospitals, the schedule is still on paper. It should be posted centrally, but paper has a funny way of getting moved around. Once you locate it, you might also discover that paper has a way of being out of date. There are a lot of extra steps to remember to update it, print it out and distribute it properly.  

Scheduling software is becoming more popular, but it shares some problems with paper. The software still needs to be updated with on-call providers and schedule changes. Additionally, different departments may use different scheduling software. If you don’t have access, then you need to find someone who does, adding another barrier to the search.  

The time providers waste searching for contacts has major ramifications for the patients, staff, hospital and the overall healthcare system over time. While a provider is searching for the right person to contact, patient care is delayed. The longer they’re in that bed – whether it’s in the emergency department (ED) or an inpatient bed – the slower patient throughput is, thereby reducing overall hospital capacity and revenue opportunity and negatively impacting patient satisfaction. In the case of the ED, revenue can be literally walking out the door, driving up left without being seen (LWBS) metrics, as people tire of waiting to be seen by a clinician. 

One subtle issue with the way that searching for contacts is set up in a hospital is that it’s built around names of individuals, and phone or pager numbers attached to them. But, you’re more likely looking for a role rather than a specific individual: the pediatrician on call, the trauma specialist on call, the social worker on call, etc. The mission-critical need is just getting to the right person who can take action; their names are secondary.  

Searching for contacts is time that is taken away from patient care. This wheel-spinning activity creates an obstacle to delivering care by delaying examinations, testing procedures, test results, and the information that’s needed to create treatment plans.  

Stop wasting time searching: Introducing TigerConnect 

The TigerConnect Clinical Collaboration Platform streamlines searching for contacts through its Roles and Teams function. TigerConnect interfaces with many leading scheduling software packages as well as our own. Using the Roles and Teams capability, you can contact the on-call provider in whatever department or specialty you need. You don’t need to know that person’s name, the system simply routes your call, text or video chat automatically based on who’s assigned in the schedule. If you can’t talk in real time, you can forward patient information securely so the clinician can act as soon as possible. 

Using that functionality, Tufts Medical Center improved the admissions process (the first potential obstacle in patient throughput) by creating an admissions team that can be activated right in the app. Tufts reduced overcrowding in the ED as a result of eliminating the need to search for contacts, thereby improving patient throughput. 

This is just one example of how TigerConnect is dedicated to reducing or eliminating Collaboration Waste. Stay tuned as we explore the other six categories of Collaboration Waste. Schedule a demo to learn how TigerConnect can improve communication and eliminate collaboration inefficiencies at your organization.  

Searching for contacts

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