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Strategies For Hospitalists To Improve Communications

Hospital settings can get pretty chaotic depending on the department, but nonetheless, communication still has to flow smoothly and efficiently. Everyone from admins, to managers, nurses and physicians need to be on the same page as it relates to their patients, which is why a communication strategy needs to be created in hospital settings. Using technology is the easiest way to better communicate in hospital settings with primary care doctors, nurses, specialists and nurses so that it’s more routine and effective. And it doesn’t even have to be ultra-high technology, just a more logical use of existing technology so that communication flows better. Here are a few strategies that can help hospitalists improve communication:

EHR-Embedded communication
This standardized communication letter has facts about the patient and their condition, as well as any other information that makes it easy for any physicians treating them to communication. Information that’s included can be all the numbers and ways to reach the doctor and their admin staff. It can also provide desirable call times, how to access the portal and more.

Better pages
Pages should have more information than just a number since you don’t know how urgent it is, the patient’s info, etc. Pages should include a template that has basic information like room number, patient, urgency level, a callback number, message and more.

iPads for patients
Patients always wonder their status, so what if they got their own tablet to follow along with their progress? This makes for les worried patients and make it easier for physicians to update patients. This works well for very engaged patients with very busy doctors that are hard to get in touch with.

Facebook-style discharge
One hospital group in North Andover, Mass uses “Chatter,” which is an online tool like Facebook for discharges. It was created so that primary care staff can respond to a post when it’s convenient to both of them. It allows for correspondence in real time, allowing staff to communicate with each other during busy times.

Communities that don’t get medical attention or can’t afford it are trying out videoconferencing, which allows them to speak to doctors via telemedicine.

EHR-facilitated calls
A communication system that’s linked to a hospital’s EHR can really increase communication. One hospital uses it during patient discharge, so when the hospital admin signs a discharger order, the patient’s name is then placed in a queue. Then an operator then sends out a page to inform a resident that a certain call is about to be made to an outpatient doctor, which makes sure that they are ready for the call to be sent out. And a system like this can also help with direct admissions for patients.

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