Agile Healthcare: The Communication and Coordination Challenge
Communication is at the heart of patient care, and nurses are the hub of care coordination. Nurses must evaluate patient needs on the fly; identify appropriate hospital resources and personnel; and rapidly communicate patients’ needs to the appropriate care team members and staff. And yet in hospital settings, communication and information exchange is handled by a patchwork of hospital communication systems and devices such as nurse call, overhead announcements, telephones, pagers, and more. The environment can be noisy and distracting, with no good way for nurses to ensure a critical message gets to the right person in a timely manner.
Multiple devices for different tasks can make hospital communication confusing and inefficient. The resulting communication breakdowns and slow response times can jeopardize patient safety. Indeed, the Joint Commission has found that communication breakdowns are one of the top three root causes of reported sentinel events (unanticipated events in a healthcare setting resulting in death or serious physical or psychological injury to a patient).[i]
Communication breakdowns are one of the top three root causes of reported sentinel events, according to the Joint Commission.
What is needed: agile communication in healthcare
In its book, “The Joint Commission Guide to Improving Staff Communication,” the commission calls communication in healthcare “the bond to patient safety.”[ii] It states that effective communication:
- Occurs when it is needed
- Is clear, accurate and complete
- Is understood by the receiver
With effective hospital staff communication occurring in real-time, everything changes. Imagine a nurse spending only 10 minutes per shift coordinating care for each patient’s discharge instead of 30 minutes or longer? Or a nurse reaching a physician for a consult on the first try – nearly every time? That’s the power of agile healthcare communication at work.
Real-time coordination tools are making agile healthcare communication a reality
Advances in real-time healthcare technology, including hospital communication tools that enable cross department communication and coordination of time sensitive needs and information, make agile communication possible for care coordination throughout a hospital and beyond its walls.
According to Gartner, 30% of the traditional nurse call systems will have been replaced by real-time health system solutions in the next decade.[iii]
Effective hospital communication tools help nurses coordinate care from anywhere, can expedite patient transitions of care, can mobilize hospital resources with a single touch, and can allow nurses to quickly consult with a physician—all of which adds up to making more time available for direct patient care and creates a more agile healthcare organization.
Agile healthcare communication and coordination tools, like LiveProcess Communicator, help close gaps in hospital communication systems, streamline complex nursing workflows, and let nurses spend more time doing what nurses do best: providing great care to patients.