Eliminating Communication Barriers Between Healthcare Professionals
Communication within the healthcare environment has always remained ineffective, frustrating practitioners to efficiently communicate between hospitals and clinics. The lack of communication channels between doctors, nurses and hospitals often prevent the efforts of healthcare organizations to deliver efficient patient care. The problem is even worse with large healthcare organizations where employees are located across a number of buildings, often away from their desk. This makes it difficult to communicate using conventional channels such as fax, phone calls and mail. The resulting effect is felt across the entire workflow, and can lead to reduced patient safety, extended length of hospital stay and many other undesirable outcomes.
Common Communication Barriers Between Healthcare Professionals
In a hospital setting, effective communication between healthcare professionals is a key to treating patients effectively. However, in a fast-paced, unpredictable environment, the communication between physicians, nurses and patients is becoming inefficient. The loser in this is often the patient who experiences a lack of satisfaction in the care quality. There are several critical barriers that lead to this communication gap, including:
- Unnecessary Administrative Paperwork: The increased burden on clinicians to handle the admin work leads to unnecessary delay. It often comes down to cutting valuable patient consultation time in order to fit in the time required for paperwork. A similar case exists during the patient discharge process, which frequently consumes significant time for nurses. The transition and handoffs between the units and floors that rely solely on paper further add to the risk of miscommunication.
- Legacy Workflow Systems: Surprisingly, many healthcare organizations still rely on outdated fax and paging for internal communication. With such systems in place, any case of equipment malfunction can result in a communication breakdown. There may be instances when priority messages for clinicians go unnoticed.
- Inefficient IT Infrastructure: In the era of Electronic Health Records (EHR) and advanced clinical systems, the demand on IT infrastructure is often intense. Physicians and nurses may require access to specialists and lab results along with after-hours emails and messages, all while maintaining the security to protect the patient health information (PHI). With legacy hardware infrastructure, managing such data-rich functions often fails to deliver the expected outcomes, resulting in duplication of work and efforts.
- Siloed Communication Channels: The extensive reliance on paper medical records, handwritten notes as well as multiple communication channels such as emails, phone calls and pagers make information siloed between departments, which in turn makes it difficult to access accurate patient information. This often leads to communication breakdowns, especially if the IT solutions are not effective.
How Can Technology Help?
While communication barriers within the healthcare environment are many, there exist solutions that can effectively remove these barriers and enable healthcare professionals to provide efficient patient care. Cloud-based communication systems are extremely helpful for healthcare organizations in establishing a robust digital ecosystem that benefits both medical practitioners and patients.
Cloud-based communication solutions essentially utilize the true potential of smartphones, secure texting and cross-collaboration. Some of the key benefits of adopting cloud communication systems include:
- Cloud makes communication secure and easy. With business phone services, medical staff can utilize their own mobile devices to connect with the doctors from anywhere.
- With unified communication solutions, doctors and technicians can collaborate remotely via chat, web, conferencing, document sharing, text, video and voice to enhance telemedicine. The facility also allows doctors to talk to their patients remotely and offer a satisfactory service to them.
- The information transfer within our outside the hospital is always secure and encrypted, which ensures the protection of sensitive patient information from prying eyes.
- Cloud minimizes paperwork for doctors and medical staff, as all of the information can be accessed directly from the centralized database which is always synchronized irrespective of the device. This avoids the possibility of duplication and further saves time for both caregivers and patients.
- Healthcare organizations can have access to the latest technologies without needing to invest in setting up the infrastructure. This not only reduces the overall investment but saves considerable time for the IT department.
Cloud solutions are increasingly playing a critical role in providing an efficient healthcare ecosystem where healthcare professionals can communicate effectively and meet the demand for delivering quality patient care. Adoption of cloud communication solutions eliminates the barriers of communication between the physicians, nurses and patients, and this ultimately results in a safe and efficient caregiving environment.
When it comes to healthcare, 8x8 provides reliable and compliant cloud solutions at a demanding level rarely seen by other cloud providers. Don't take your chances with a subpar cloud-based telecom system. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.