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Hospitals are filled with some of the most advanced technology available today, but when it comes to communication in hospitals, healthcare workers are still using outdated technology like pagers. According to a study the Ponemon Institute, these outdated form of communication costs hospitals $8.2 billion per year. Here are the three key communication challenges hospitals face today.
Hospitals can be chaotic, with so many distractions to deal with from doctors to patients and insurance companies. When it comes to internal communications with healthcare professionals, it needs to be as efficient and time-sensitive as possible. So it becomes an issue when employees are having difficulties getting their jobs done while waiting for responses. Nurses are getting so sick up with waiting for communication with outdated technology, like pagers, that they have begun to use their smartphones at work, which most hospitals actually don’t allow.
According to a new report by Spyglass Consulting Group, 67 percent of hospitals claim their nurses are using their mobile phones to support clinical communication. IT departments understand this is occurring, but they lack the resources to do much of anything about it. And of the 53 percent of hospitals that currently have BYOD programs, only 11 percent go as far as to include their nursing staff. Establishing an inclusive communications platform that gives you the ability to reach your staff with instant messages is a much more efficient way to decrease communication problems in hospitals.
According to Accenture, “Communication challenges have always carried a cost in terms of lost productivity, insufficient time with patients and longer lengths of stay. U.S. hospitals ‘waste’ approximately $12 billion annually due to poor communication among care providers.”
This wasted time between doctors and nurses then leads to increased length of stay for patients, which in turn drives up hospital costs and takes a bigger percentage of your revenue. If communication does not improve it could end up costing your facility more as US hospitals risk losing Medicare reimbursement if they don’t meet patient satisfaction levels. According to the J.P. Morgan healthcare summit, four of the seven criteria patients review their experience by are communication related. Cutting corners on communication by using outdated technology will only add to the problem.
The healthcare industry is always in flux. From innovative technology to new government regulation, it’s a challenge for hospital leaders to keep up with the new standards. Bob Herman of the Becker's Hospital review says, “It's become clear, though, that technology issues are more than just challenges for individual hospitals. They are a microcosm of the entire healthcare competitive structure. If a hospital's health IT strategies today are resistant to change or fearful of failure, it's only a matter of time before those hospitals are secured by larger entities or cease operations altogether.” This is helping boost the trend of smartphone and tablet use in hospitals. Dr. Bob Hitchcock, a physician at Manatee Memorial Hospital in Bradenton, Florida adds "More importantly, we're seeing a variety of applications for these smartphones that will allow physicians more interaction in the patient care experience."
Changes are inevitable and the technology available today will only help solve the internal communication challenges hospital employees face today. With the growing trend of BYOD policies, hospitals will soon need to find a way for doctors and nurses to have a more efficient way of communicating that is safe and secure. An enterprise communication platform like Beekeeper will give your team the ability to communicate with greater purpose and efficiency, as you understand why communication is important in hospitals.