A few years ago I surveyed around 500 hospital employees in all job categories and departments and asked what the biggest challenge to their workday was. Three of the top six responses contained “communication”. So today when I was reading an AHA report on patient flow I was not at all surprised to see communication winning the top prize as the most pervasive and the hardest problem to fix -- taking 60% of the votes. It outpaced the second runner up -- visibility to data – which came in with only 30% of the votes.
“There is strong agreement that communications is the most difficult obstacle to overcome”
-AHA Report of the 2012 Patient Flow Challenges
Dr. Daniel Z Sands
Communication concerns were seen to impact discharge, inefficient patient handoffs and insufficient post-discharge contact with patients. This is consistent with another study done by the University of Maryland on the impact of inefficient and poor communication, finding that U.S. hospitals conservatively waste over $12 billion annually as a result of communication inefficiency among care providers. Interestingly, the study linked communication issues with increases in the length of hospital stays which has a direct impact on profitability – accounting for nearly 53 percent of that $12 billion annual economic burden.
Another study by Thompson Reuters demonstrated an indirect relationship between average length of stay (ALOS) and operating income -- the shorter the ALOS, the better the operating income.
The Director of IT solutions at Hospital Corporation of America, the world’s largest private health care facility operator with 199,000 employees, has reported high satisfaction with HCA’s recent implementation of Cisco Webex, saying it “has exceeded even our expectations.”
Andrew Kerr, who oversees IT resources for what he called a “very large dispersed workforce” staffing 163 hospitals in 20 states, described his positive Webex experience in an April 24 Cisco webcast presenting Webex advantages in healthcare environments.
One major topic at this year’s HIMSS 2012 Conference, was accountable care programs. As January 1, 2012 marked the initial period for healthcare organizations to start the application process to become eligible for Accountable Care Organization status there was much debate about whether or not ACOs could improve healthcare while reducing costs.
The coordinated care provided by an Accountable Care Organization can help ensure that patients, especially the chronically ill, get the right care at the right time, with the goal of avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors.
At this year’s HIMSS Conference, Cisco is showcasing collaboration technologies that improve the way we deliver healthcare.
Thanks to partners like AeroScout, Allscripts, Amcom, AMD Global TeleMedicine, Emerge.MD, EXTENSION, GE, Intel, McKesson, MEDITECH, NetApp, NextGen, Optum, Philips Healthcare, Radianta, Rauland-Borg, Vocera and Welch Allyn, we’re transforming clinician-to-clinician and clinician-to-patient relationships through advancements in telehealth.
If you’re in Las Vegas for HIMSS this week, stop by Cisco’s booth, #4223, where we are demonstrating how together with partners, Cisco healthcare solutions help simplify communications, facilitate collaboration, connect clinicians and provide support for the increasingly mobile healthcare environment. Read More »
Is your healthcare organization doing everything it can to improve productivity while delivering the best possible patient care? Join us at the Community for Connected Health Summit at HIMSS12 as we bring together healthcare innovators and Cisco specialists into a single forum of networking, education, and best practice sharing, all focused on the very latest innovations improving healthcare delivery. You’ll be the first to hear about breakthrough solutions available today — and what’s on the horizon for tomorrow. Read More »