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.
Broadband wireless technology has no doubt had an impact on enterprise productivity — the ability for companies to provide anytime, anywhere access to both data and colleagues means faster response time and the competitive advantage that brings.
But we sometimes focus more on the corporate impact than the impact it has on personal lives as well — and not just the ability of teenagers to text or celebrities to tweet.
My last doctor’s visit, I sat in the office for about an hour past my scheduled appointment before being called into the back. I grumbled about the service, how my time was wasted, and how typical this was of the industry. These are the things we all love to hate about the doctor; they seem to always be running behind schedule, and they have completely illegible handwriting. These are also the things we take for granted, living in or nearby a city with easy access to care.
Imagine, however, you live in the rural part of your state, which represents “about 20 percent of America’s population,” and yet “less than ten percent of physicians practice in those communities” according to the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) (2011), linked with the Department of Health and Human Services. Your complaints would likely extend beyond the waiting room, and certainly carry much more weight.
With its partnership with Cisco, the Georgia Partnership for TeleHealth (GPT) was able to transform the way their state practices medicine, giving healthcare access to the underprivileged and underserved populations whose needs were being overlooked. Local doctors can consult with specialists in the city center; children can receive psychological care through high quality video; and a person suffering from a stroke can be assessed by a neurologist in a matter of minutes in order to receive the proper medication to avoid further damage.
With the power of in-person via Cisco TelePresence, GPT has not only implemented a system that has made the lives of Georgians easier, setting the bar high for healthcare providers across the United States, but they have changed the lives of their doctors too. Georgia’s doctors and specialists can extend their reach while remaining close to top Universities and research centers, honing their practice to deliver better care.
From time to time we like to spotlight our partners and the services they provide. We met some great partners last month at Partner Summit 2012 and asked them to tell us a little bit about their company and the services they offer to partners and customers.
Watch this video to hear from Firefly, PT Multipolar, Providea, IBM, and Leverage Information Systems.
What else did we find out about our partners? Read More »
Two out of three deaths among children under age five could be prevented with effective primary healthcare globally. It is a generally recognized fact that regular medical care is essential for early diagnosis and treatment of illness and chronic diseases. And poor health causes developmental delays, affecting learning ability and a child’s ability to reach full intellectual potential. Sick children exact a toll on families, resulting in lost income and an overall compromised quality of life.