6 ways to improve clinical communications
The healthcare industry is currently laden with pagers. The joke is that not even drug dealers use pagers any more. However, almost 80% of doctors do use pagers. The main problems with pagers is that they impede efficient clinical communications and lack security. Here are 6 ways to improve clinical communications:
Improve clinical communications by embracing BYOD
BYOD is the inevitable result of a culture where everyone has a smartphone. Over 80% of physicians use their smartphones for work. Asking them to abandon their smartphones is futile. The real focus should be on device security. The Government’s OCR highlights this when they wrote: “Many threats are posed to electronic PHI (ePHI) stored or accessed on mobile devices. Due to their small size and portability, mobile devices are at a greater risk of being lost or stolen. A lost or stolen mobile … could trigger HIPAA breach notification … for a HIPAA covered entity or its business associate.” Instead of impeding physician workflow by banning BYOD, hospitals should focus on ensuring the security of ePHI on the smartphones as well as information exchanged between smartphones.
improve clinical communications by making communications easy
Make the adoption of secure clinical communications easy. It’s important that secure solutions are not overly cumbersome for the end users. This is the traditional tradeoff between simplicity and security where maximizing one means disadvantaging the other. However, as clinicians are often pressed for time when managing patient responsibilities, it is important that clinical communications portals are focused on creating a seamless workflow.
improve clinical communications by bringing in secure texting
Many malpractice suits are the result of poor communications between physician and colleague. This means that if the clinician had been able to provide clean and direct communications, through a secure text for example, there is a strong likelihood that misunderstandings would be avoided. Ensure that the clinical communications solution supports the exchange of texts, images, documents and voice mails. This list will go a long way to improving how clinicians communicate.
improve clinical communications by differentiating alerts for emergencies
Not every alert or communication requires immediate attention. As such, ensuring that clinicians have a way to separate high from low priority alerts is essential. This means that critical issues such as the results from an important patient MRI or severe drug reaction are immediately alerted up on and dealt with. However, a request for a medication refill can be handled at an opportune time and as such should only produce a low priority alert.
improve clinical communications by using features to facilitate security
As part of facilitating security, features such as a secure log-in process, specified contact lists, the remote wipe of devices and encrypted messaging can vastly increase the user’s ability to keep ePHI safe and secure. It is important that secure clinical communications platforms implement these components.
improve clinical communications by making security everyone’s business
In part, adding security features makes it easier for the end user to maintain secure communications. But security is not only the job of the clinician or the nurse or the administrator or the CISO. It is indeed everyone’s job to do their part to improve security. Typically, this involves a vision from the CISO with tactical implementations by managers and staff.