Clinician Impact

The Fourfold Impact of Secure Communication Platforms on Healthcare Delivery

December 6, 2016 | Uniphy Health

Secure communication platforms equipped with HIPAA secure texting enhance every stage of the healthcare delivery process. Healthcare communication platforms with systems-driven designs and interconnected mobile apps enable healthcare stakeholders to work across and beyond the walls of healthcare organizations.

By enabling collaboration among clinical staff, patients and extended members of the care team, secure communications platforms support healthcare organizations in adapting to evolving payment models. Let’s examine the key ways that these platforms influence workflow management, collaboration, and patient health outcomes across all stages of care delivery.

1. Patient Admission

Emergency department (ED) visits were responsible for about half of all hospital admissions and nearly the entire rise in overall U.S. hospital admissions from 2000 to 2009, according to a recent study. Secure communication platforms enable hospitals to capture significant opportunities to increase bed capacity and hospital throughput. Platform-connected bed management apps maximize bed turnaround efficiency and help hospitals ensure that patients who need to be admitted are given a bed quickly, reducing unnecessary wait times in the emergency room. For patients being admitted from waiting lists for elective surgeries, these apps minimize the frequency with which admissions need to be cancelled due to bed unavailability.

Instead of relying on manual collection of patient discharge data, housekeepers and admitting offices can receive alerts of vacated beds and discharges on their platform-connected app. By optimizing bed management with secure communications platforms, hospitals improve the patient experience at the point of admission while decreasing the risk of overcrowding, readmissions, and patient mortality.

2. Patient Transfers and Hand-Offs

Transfers between hospital departments and even care organizations are very common. Coordinating these patient transfers and hand-offs is easy to manage with secure communication platforms. ED and ICU staff can request consults from specialists within their hospital network in a few clicks. Clinicians simply select “request consult” and record patient notes from their smartphones. Specialists and surgeons can record their consultation notes within the app and quickly update the care team using HIPAA secure text messaging.

Using a single secure communication platform, clinicians are able to collaborate on patient diagnosis and treatment without being slowed by fragmented data or communication delays.

(Suggested continued reading: Clinical Workflow Support: #5 Most Important Secure Messaging App Function)


3. Patient Discharge

Discharging patients from hospitals is increasingly complex, and potentially costly. Secure communication platforms facilitate both pre- and post-discharge interventions, reducing the risk of preventable readmissions.

Pre-discharge interventions including discharge planning, medication reconciliation, patient education, and follow-up appointment scheduling can be accomplished using interconnected clinical communication and patient engagement apps. Hospital case managers and nurses can coordinate patient discharges using HIPAA secure texting, VOIP and other communication channels. Physicians can access patient medication lists using their EMR-connected mobile secure communications app. Once an accurate discharge medication list has been generated, nurses or other clinical staff can communicate this information to the patient (and caregivers, if applicable). During this time, clinical staff can instruct patients and caregivers on how to locate the patient’s medication list or schedule a follow-up appointment using a platform-connected patient engagement app.

Secure communication platforms also support post-discharge interventions including follow-up phone calls, home visits/coaching, communication with ambulatory providers and other interventions that ensure physician continuity between inpatient and outpatient settings. From the app, clinicians should be able to initiate HIPAA secure VOIP calls and coordinate home visits or coaching sessions. Ambulatory providers can also use secure communication apps to collaborate with hospitalists using secure patient-centered group messaging, one-to-one messaging, email, paging or phone communications.

4. Patient Follow Up

Skilled-nursing facilities (SNFs) and other post-acute care providers support hospitals in reducing preventable readmissions and hospitalizations. Secure communication platforms with apps that connect in-patient hospital care staff to remote nurses, home health aides, and caregivers improve the efficiency and quality of patient follow up. The mobile apps assigned to informal caregivers, and remote healthcare professionals differ slightly in features, yet are both supported by the singular platform that interconnects with clinician apps.

Secure communication apps that are equipped with HIPAA secure texting and image sharing enable extended care team members to quickly communicate worrisome changes in patient health conditions to hospital care managers. In-patient clinical teams can access notes recorded by remote carers, just as remote nurses, home health aides and caregivers can access clinical data stored in EMRs and other systems from their remote carer apps. Hospitalists and remote caregivers are able to access data once siloed by the limitations of each organization’s systems, and rapidly communicate with one another. As a result, everyone involved in the patient follow-up process—informal caregivers, hospital and nursing facility staff—is fully informed about the patient, and equipped to engage in data-driven decision making.

(Suggested continued reading: Empowering Home Health Aides In Coordinated Care With mHealth)

By providing interconnected, efficient channels for communication and care coordination, secure communication platforms enable physicians, patients, informal caregivers, remote and in-patient clinicians to work together to achieve better care at a lower cost, across every stage of the care delivery process.