How Hospitals Can Improve Communications
Communication is key to a successful business, especially in the medical field. The flow of communication between staff and patients or doctors and staff is very important for an efficient hospital so when communication breaks down, so does business. Staff, doctors and patients all become flustered, armed with information that is either wrong or isn’t readily available, causing problems at all levels. Trying to figure out whom to contact and then trying to actually speak to someone on the phone can be frustrating for all parties involved.
Doctors, staff and patients all aggress that consistent communication is not up to par in the hospital setting, with some institutions doing a better job of others, but it’s no where close to being efficient. To battle this problem and improve communications many hospitals are trying to develop better ways to use technology to communicate with all parties. The goal is to make communication more effective, convenient and routine, while still improving patient care and strengthening relationships all across the board. Here are some ways different hospitals are doing that:
Some hospitals are now using a standardized letter as part of patient’s electronic health record (HER) that provides facts about their condition and also info that makes it easier for doctors to communicate with each other. This allows everyone to be on the same page, which benefits the patient.
Vanderbilt University medical Center in Nashville, TN has created an online template for their text pages so that it includes vital information that allows doctors to triage which of their pages they need to call back and how fast.
Since patients are always wondering about their discharge status and other info on their hospital stay, the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver were given their own tablet to follow along with doctors in real time. This allowed researchers to assess that patients worried less about their stay and there was less confusion with doctors.
At a hospitalist group in North Andover, MS, patients and hospital staff use Chatter, which is like Facebook, to provide info to patients. So personnel can respond to a post by a patient at a time that works for them instead of having someone on the phone spending up to 20 minutes setting an appointment.
A few hospitals have set up videoconferencing at off-sites to help make medical decisions without actually being present. This allows specialists to go to underserved communities to help more patients on a regular basis.
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