THE NEED FOR A CONNECTED HEALTHCARE ECOSYSTEM
Healthcare industry has seen major enhancements in the past few years both in Clinical and Administrative technologies. While innovations in the fields of Digestible Sensors, Optogenetics and 3D Printed Biological Materials allow healthcare practitioners to offer cheap, faster and more efficient patient care, major advancements in the field of Healthcare IoT and services like EHR and EMR has given more control and access to data.
Yet with all the major outbreaks happening around us most healthcare providers still rely on antiquated tools for communication – pagers, desk phones, emails, paper charts and reports, which creates bottlenecks and breakdowns in communication. The outcome, very often we come across instances that link medical errors to poor communication between providers. Below are some results to ponder upon:
The Joint Commission, one of the leading authorities for Medical Accreditations and Certifications claimed in one of their studies that “80% of medical errors are as a result of poor communication in patient handoffs between providers”
The American International Group identified “Lack of Teamwork, negative culture and poor communication ” as the major hindrance to improving patient safety in hospitals.
Bradley Evanoff and a team of other physicians from Washington University School of Medicinein their research proved that “Failures of communication among Health Care providers can lead to medical errors and poor quality of patient care .”
One major advancement in the field of Healthcare connectivity is the emergence of EMR and EHR services. Thanks to these services, Healthcare providers have moved from paper-based patient records and files, to a central repository for all information, which is vastly more efficient. One major pain point still unaddressed despite the emergence of such services and its widespread adoption is the lack of any mode for Real-time communication. EMRs generally don’t push out notifications when new information is added and requires a computer or a work station to query patient data. Needless to say continually checking an EMR for patient information or messages creates bottlenecks in collaborative workflows.
As Healthcare moves into a collaborative care model, patient safety becomes a collective endeavor that requires strong coordination across all stakeholders in a patient’s healthcare ecosystem. Therefore healthcare communication needs to reside in a responsive, dynamic environment with multiple access points and not in a state of lagging response on fixed systems.
We live in a world where mobile technology enables communication to happen in real time. We get notified about all things we care about, on our smartphones real-time as and when it happens.
Healthcare today requires the same level of spontaneity in connectivity and Healthcare providers expect the convenience and readiness of communication that the smartphone in their pocket can offer.
At GoWalkTalk we power real-time communication across all connected devices and our aim is to revamp the antiquated modes of communication with a secure patient-centric communication solution for Healthcare providers. The beauty of our solution is: unlike most collaboration software, ours can be integrated into any app or EMR/EHR service and can also be used as a standalone communication software. All members can directly message fellow members of a patient’s care team, send and access lab reports with the tap of a button, use it as a telemedicine platform as we also support Audio/Video calling and make endless other customizations to meet specific requirements.
Re-emphasising the same, Dr. William Hanson from Penn Medicine, one of the world’s leading academic medical centres, published a report in which they claimed, “Patients had shorter hospital stays, when their care providers used secure text messaging to improve communication .”
The study further suggests that average patient length of stay declined from 6.0 to 5.4 days in the first month, and over a period of one year patients whose care providers used messaging as a mode of collaboration left the hospital about 0.77 days sooner, which is equivalent to a 14% reduction in their overall hospital stay.
Thus in the US, where the average cost per inpatient day hovering at around $1986, total saving per patient as a result of their decreased tenure of stay is approximately 1500$. Considering 35.1 million inpatient stays annually, cumulative saving for healthcare industry annually will be $52Bn.
Therefore it is evident that switching from the antiquated communication channels which are by and large prone to interruptions and bottlenecks, to a real-time setup has several benefits and simultaneously addresses quite a few burning problems which are plaguing the Healthcare sector.
From our research we found the following major advantages of a Real-time communication system apart from enablement of a collaborative patient care environment:
- Decreased Costs: Patient monitoring done on a real-time basis and seamless transfer of information, as discussed above cuts down on costs both due to decreased in-patient stays and also by cutting down on unnecessary visits by doctors.
- Improved outcomes on Treatment: Real-time feedback from all parties of the care team, creates scope for a much more informed decision making. This ensures healthcare provision is timely and treatment outcomes are improved.
- Reduced Errors: Accurate collection of data, automated workflows combined with data driven decisions are an excellent way of cutting down on waste, reducing system costs and most importantly minimizing on errors.
- Enhanced Patient Experience: Proactive treatments, improved accuracy when it comes to diagnosis, timely intervention by physicians and enhanced treatment outcomes result in accountable care that is highly trusted among patients.
- Enhanced post-hospitalization care and better drug management: Constant co-ordination between patient and physician post hospitalization ensures proactive care and better drug management, thereby reducing re-admissions and increasing scope of complete recovery.
Thus far we have delved into the potential pain points Healthcare practitioners face due to lagging communication channels and the potential of Real-time communication in addressing the same and in enabling an environment of collaborative and proactive healthcare.