OnPage’s guide to ensure secure doctor patient communication
Since 2008, the data gathered from Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) has enabled hospital facilities to have a standard set of measures for reporting the overall level of patient satisfaction. The importance of tracking and understanding patient satisfaction should not be minimized as it is highly correlated with desired outcomes such as:
- Happier patients
- Lower mortality
- Decreased readmission
- Improved patient outcomes
A key way to improve patient satisfaction is by providing doctors and nurses with the ability to focus on communications with their patients. Indeed, poor communications between doctors, nurses and hospital officials is a significant inefficiency which eats up at precious time and decreases the subsequent quality of care.
By contrast, having better communication between the doctors enables them to have more time to provide their patients with quality information.
Impacts of poor communication
Poor communication among clinicians is pervasive and unfortunately results in serious and preventable patient harm incidents. Often, the problem of communications begins with a challenge to even figure out who is the right physician to contact. In many organizations, nurses are challenged to identify which physician to contact and the preferred means with which to do so.” Is the number wrong? Is it the right person?
The problem of poor communication is clarified when noting that many clinicians use pagers as their primary mode of communications. Pagers are unfortunately a widely used platform riddled with numerous problems. These problems include issues such as contacting the right clinician but extend to the pager’s limited ability to receive information. These issues can contribute to medical error and often result in increased frustration among clinicians.
The impacts of poor communication among doctors and nurses inevitably impacts the level and quality of communication that physicians provide their patients. Lacking access to timely and immediate communications with their colleagues, physicians and nurses can only respond by providing their patients with incomplete information.
The goal of improved communications needs to be improving patient outcomes and lowering readmission rates. To this end, secure and encrypted smartphone based communication platforms are effective tools. Fortunately, most CIOs believe that their hospitals need to bring on a mobile strategy as part of an effort to improve clinical and operational outcomes.
In fact patients whose providers used mobile secure text messaging left the hospital about 0.77 days sooner, equivalent to about a 14 percent reduction in their overall hospital stay. Mobile secure text messaging can improve communication among providers leading to more efficient care coordination and allowing patients to leave the hospital sooner.
Healthcare’s focus on patients’ level of satisfaction inevitably requires physicians, nurses and healthcare colleagues to improve the quality of their communications. By investing in a HIPAA compliant, secure messaging platform that enables digital interoperability, hospitals and clinics can see decreased patient readmission and improved healthcare outcomes. Hospitals need to continue to monitor these outcomes to ensure continued progress.
To read about how physicians and nurses can improve healthcare communications with their colleagues and patients, download our whitepaper Better Patient Care Through Better Communication.