OnPage Report: Improving clinical communications reduces healthcare inefficiency

Improving clinical communications

Efficiency is more than just an adjective when it comes to healthcare. It can come with significant consequences. In a healthcare context, lacking efficiency spells patient waiting time at best and significant delays in care delivery or death at worse. As such, improving delivery and efficiency of healthcare must be a major priority of providers at all levels.

To improve the efficiency of healthcare delivery, providers need to look into bringing critical alerting and secure messaging to their facilities. Secure messaging has the power to greatly improve clinical communications and efficiency. However, not all healthcare messaging platforms are created equal. There are significant differences among the various tools that are used for healthcare messaging and not all provide the desired impact of improving the efficiency and efficacy of healthcare while maintaining HIPAA compliance.


According to a study by the Ponemon Institute , efficient communication and collaboration amongst physicians, nurses and other providers is critical to the coordination and delivery of proper patient care. However, the use of inefficient pagers has a significant impact on inhibiting these necessary efficiencies. According to Ponemon, an estimated at $1.75 million per U.S. hospital and more than $11 billion industry-wide is wasted every year by the use of pagers and other non-secure methods of communication.

Used by almost 80% of physicians , pagers inevitably cause delays in communications which make them one of the least effective communication means. According to another study from early 2017,29% of healthcare respondents said that pagers were a poor form of communication. Additionally,22% of respondents reported that more than 1 in 5 hand offs involve communication errors that could endanger patient care outcomes. These outcomes were even more pronounced in emergency room settings were over 59% of cases involve hand offs to other care team members.

The emergency department is perhaps the most fertile area for communications failures and mishaps to arise. The correlation between long wait times for outpatient healthcare and negative health outcomes is strong. Indeed, there are multiple challenges in coordinating patient care amid the din and activity of an emergency room. For example, waiting for physicians to respond to hand off requests is a top issue, while deciphering handwritten information, deciphering handwritten information, and delays receiving information are also key challenges.

While some use of secured mobile technologies are gaining popularity, many physicians continue to use unsecured communication tools such as Facebook messenger or GChat to communicate with
colleagues. Three-quarters of respondents said they are using mobile phones to enable mobile realtime communications. Sadly, many users don’t realize that these methods pose a security and
compliance problem.

If secure messaging were indeed adopted by healthcare providers and practitioners, the quality of communications would increase significantly. Secure messaging would give providers another option for sending information quickly, efficiently, and securely. However, there are potential adoption barriers that covered entities need to address before implementing a new system.

To read more click here… we cover the following topics:

  • Why is there inefficiency in healthcare
  • Tools to improve Efficiency
  • Impact of improved efficiency