Transform Situational Awareness into Hospital Efficiency

by | Feb 18, 2020

Patients want effective, streamlined processes: on-time surgery starts, face-to-face interactions with clinicians, rapid response to their urgent needs, a calm environment for healing, and discharge without delays. All start with accelerated communication, reduced caregiver toil, and simplification and automation of repetitive tasks.

Activating those types of opportunities is driving the movement toward what Gartner calls the real-time health system (RTHS). RTHS is not a technology but a paradigm in which real-time information informs clinical and operational decision making for a healthcare delivery organization (HDO). In the “Hype Cycle for Real-Time Health System Technologies, 2019” report, Gartner explains:

“The RTHS transforms the HDO from a disjointed or reactive enterprise to one that is more efficient, collaborative, and predictive.”

Achieving these aims depends upon a strategic, well-coordinated use of technology. Technology to enable RTHS ranges from patient portals to health system command centers. The specific needs of each organization will differ, but the goal is the same: using real-time information to enhance hospital operations at every level.

From situational awareness to hospital workflow orchestration

1. Gain situational awareness.
2. Leverage operational intelligence.
3. Orchestrate enhanced workflows.

Gain situational awareness: For healthcare technology, situational awareness means collecting and correlating data. Your hospital has a lot of information sources. Making information actionable requires a big picture view created by combining and contextualizing the available information.

Leverage operational intelligence: Operational intelligence is created when real-time information is used to make critical decisions. Operational intelligence gives a healthcare organization an ingredient often missing in the quest for efficiency: agility. Whether your goal is a streamlined discharge process, a rapid security response, or a reduction of nurse toil, the ability to adapt quickly to a changing situation and to share new information instantly could make all the difference.

Orchestrate enhanced workflows: In practice these steps are not completely discrete. Enhanced workflow orchestration is the logical outcome of the combination of situational awareness and operational intelligence. First you understand, then you decide, and then you implement. In a health system, care coordination may be among the most obvious examples of a complex workflow that benefits from a big picture view and real-time data. However, workflow orchestration applies to processes throughout a healthcare organization: from ED throughput to emergency operations and resource management.

eBook: How Hospital Communication Technology Drives Transformation in Healthcare Delivery

The power of healthcare communication technology

The Gartner report identifies both the potential impact of specific technologies and the timeframe in which they will achieve mainstream adoption. Clinical communication and collaboration (CC&C) solutions are one of only two technology categories (out of 29 evaluated) that will reach mainstream adoption in the near term (two to five years) and deliver transformational benefits in realizing a real-time health system.

Various clinical communication and collaboration solutions have different capabilities, but their defining characteristic is enabling efficiency through optimized communication and situational awareness:

“CC&C systems can reduce care team toil and improve care team efficiency and effectiveness and related enterprise key performance measures. CC&C systems represent the convergence of conventional inpatient communication channels, such as voice and paging, with those of a smartphone application. New channels to collaborate on care are vital to coordinate transitions of care within today’s complex, often disjointed, care delivery system. Minimally, care coordination requires robust bidirectional communication among care team members. Ideally, it requires sophisticated care team collaboration (CTC) capabilities and ubiquitous situational awareness.”

The capabilities can be as simple as mass notifications and alerts, and as complex as a virtual command center. Other functions could include secure texting, interoperability with EHRs, nurse call, scheduling systems, and hospital crisis/emergency management. Using hospital communication and collaboration technology to optimize routine workflows and adapt quickly to disruptions allows a hospital to realize a structural efficiency that depends on well-designed systems rather than a workforce run ragged.

Enhance situational awareness and operational efficiency with hospital communication technology

According to Gartner, most RTHS-supporting technologies are in the early phases of adoption. In many cases, that’s because the technology is in the early stages of maturity, and healthcare organizations are waiting to see evidence of real-world benefits among the first adopters.

Clinical communication and collaboration technology is quickly moving past those early stages. For example, LiveProcess users realize benefits ranging from cost reduction to maintaining nurse-to-patient ratios and accelerating trauma response. Ease of implementation and minimal training requirements also make LiveProcess solutions an attractive entry point for building the kind of “efficient, collaborative, and predictive” healthcare organizations envisioned in the report.

Next steps

On our blog: Learn about real-time health systems.

Discover case studies showing how hospitals and health systems achieve the real-world benefits of LiveProcess communication technology

Learn how to make the business case for real-time healthcare technology.

Find out more about real-time enterprise-wide coordination using hospital communication technology.

terry-zysk-100x100Terry Zysk, CEO of LiveProcess, has more than two decades of experience in leading organizations that provide innovative solutions to the healthcare industry.