3 Ways Improved Communication With Your Clinical Team Can Lead to Better Patient Outcomes

Posted by Cathy Swenson, RN, BSN, MA on April 5, 2018
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patient communicationAs the healthcare industry continues to shift toward value-based care, providers are working to improve communication between doctors, nurses and other clinicians. The renewed emphasis is because poor communication leads to poor patient outcomes and decreased patient safety. According to a 2015 study from The Joint Commission, lack of communication was identified as the root cause of 21 percent of sentinel events, or those events resulting in death or serious injury to a patient.

“Improving communication is essential if we are to transform into a value-oriented healthcare system,” reports one study published in the Columbia Medical Review. Here are three more reasons why better communication is critical to a hospital’s success.

  • Promoting open communication between clinicians drives better awareness of a patient’s current health condition—and reduces opportunity for errors. Picture this fictional scenario: John Smith has spent three days at his local hospital, where he is being monitored following open-heart surgery. Suddenly his breathing becomes labored, his heartbeat irregular and his memory fuzzy. The bedside nurse quickly and clearly communicates this new information about Mr. Smith’s symptoms to his physician, who then analyzes the patient’s acuity and develops a plan. A breakdown in this communication chain—such as the nurse not communicating the new symptoms to the physician or the physician not quickly devising a care plan—could result in medical errors.
  • Encouraging care team collaboration, aided by better communication tools, optimizes clinical workflow—and improves patient satisfaction. A recent research note from Gartner—“Innovation Insight for Care Team Collaboration”—indicates that a new care team collaboration IT ecosystem is on the horizon, with new channels to help clinicians communicate and collaborate on care. According to Gartner, care coordination “requires robust bidirectional communications among care team members.” Gartner recommends that healthcare organizations implement strategies that “improve care coordination and transitions of care by equipping care teams with mobile clinical communication and collaboration tools that interoperate with other core components of the care team collaboration ecosystem.” The Amplion Alert Platform, for example, combines nurse call, messaging functionality and alarm management technology to help hospitals better coordinate care and optimize clinical workflow.
  • Improving communication increases patient safety. Communication and patient safety go hand in hand. A 2016 study revealed that communication failures have been linked to more than 1,700 patient deaths in the past five years, many of which were the result of falls. Communication technology can help clinicians prevent falls before they happen. Take, for instance, Amplion’s messaging and reminders suite. Clinical care dashboards are installed at nurse stations and deliver patient alerts, which are visible on hallway screens and delivered to wireless phones. Nurses can then see the patient profile to determine whether the patient is at risk of falling, or any other special need unique to that patient.

Want to improve communication on your clinical team? Schedule a demo today to learn how Amplion can help.

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