Case Study

How Secure Communications Helps a 350-Bed Medical Center Save Millions of Dollars a Year

Situation

Jersey City Medical Center Barnabas Health (JCMC) is a 350-bed regional hospital in Hudson County, New Jersey. Like many healthcare organizations, JCMC’s efforts to improve care coordination and efficiency were stymied by inefficient communications across their care continuum. Clinicians found it hard to locate and communicate with colleagues on patient-related matters, and many resorted to unsecured texting as a means of communication.

Action

To mitigate the risk of HIPAA violations and improve collaboration and coordination, JCMC adopted Uniphy Health's encrypted Practice Unite mobile app to facilitate secure, HIPAA-compliant messaging. The app was tailored to address JCMC's specific workflow issues. An internal marketing program drove adoption and usage by clinical personnel.
The app was configured to deliver critical operational functionality including:

  • Clinician-to-clinician texting and image sharing
  • Consult delivery
  • On-call list
  • Connection to the concierge service
  • Hospital and physician telephone directory
  • News delivery
  • Event management
  • Urgent alerts

Physicians and other clinicians were given training in the use of the app.

Results

The app has had a significant positive impact on clinical workflows. Annual savings have been calculated to be $2 million. Results are based on JCMC's own evaluation.

Observation Unit

Via the app, clinicians receive real-time clinical data and coordinate care plans and discharge or admission decisions.

  • Reduced inpatient care delays by 1.25-hours/physician/24 hrs.
  • Facilitated 20 discharge communications with primary care physicians/day

Annual savings (based on 3000 observation cases): $720,000.

Employed Surgeons

Via the app, surgical teams receive consults and critical lab results in real-time, and coordinate discharges and communications with referring physicians.

  • 20% reduction in patient length of stay attributed to facilitated discharge communications
  • Reduced inpatient communications delays between surgeons and other physicians/care team members by an average of 5.5-hours/surgeon/24 hrs.
  • Reduced response to consult time by an average of one hour/case
  • Facilitated 10 discharge communications to primary care physicians/day

Private Practice Internal Medicine and Family Practice Physicians

Physicians find and communicate with hospital network consultants through the app, and rely on it to facilitate care and discharge planning with care teams and care coordinators.
Annual savings (based on 1000 cases): $280,000.

with care teams and care coordinators.

  • Reduced inpatient care delays by 1.25 hours/physician/day
  • Reduced referral leakage by 1 patient/month/physician

Leakage reduction resulted in an increase of 7.5 cases per month. At an average of $10,000 reimbursement per case, this increase generates an additional $75,000 of new net revenue per month or $900,000 of new net revenue per year (revenue before incremental expenses).

Private Practice Surgeons

Surgeons make admission decisions by consulting with ED physicians through the app, receive real-time clinical data, coordinate discharges with care teams and locate medical specialists for in-network referrals.

  • 10% of patients discharged at least one (1) day earlier/physician
  • 20% reduction in ED patient waiting times leading up to discharge or admission
  • Reduced hospital referral leakage by 2 cases/month/physician

The average LOS for this category is 4.5 days. A LOS reduction of one day for 10% of cases is equivalent to a .1 day LOS reduction on average. This was valued at an average $35/case or $1,225 for 35 private practice surgeons' cases. The average surgeon performed 100 procedures per year, resulting in an annual savings of approximately $122,500.

Resident Physicians

Residents receive real-time critical lab data, communicate with nurses, and coordinate consults and discharge plans with attending physicians.

  • Specialist response time to consult requests in 50% of all patients was reduced from 1-2 days (24-48 hrs.) to 30 minutes
  • 25% of patients' length of stay reduced by one (1) day
  • 25% of patients transferred out of CCU at least 1 day earlier

While the potential savings in the resident physician category were potentially significant, these were not valued due to an inability to accurately differentiate resident-managed cases from the other areas described above.

Summary of Annual Savings

Total$2,022,500
Observation Unit
$720,000

Staff surgeon cases
$280,000

Private practice surgeons
$122,500

Referal leakage reduction
$900,000