Care Collaboration: Good Communication is a “Must Have”

April 3, 2017


Care Collaboration: Good Communication is a “Must Have”

The ability to communicate effectively is an essential skill, whether you are a clinician, teacher, politician, or any occupation that requires people interaction. If you are married or a parent, you definitely understand the need for clear dialogue in relationships, as well as the frustrations that can arise when it is lacking!

In healthcare, patient-centric teamwork is essential for the delivery of safe and effective care. This requires a streamlined exchange of information between care team members, including details about patient needs, treatments, and histories. In my role, I have worked with many organizations that have challenges sharing information when it would be most impactful — organizations that perhaps haven’t provided staff with an easy-to-use, regulatory-compliant tool for messaging. This lack of a secure communication platform has occasionally left physicians and staff unable to resist the urge to occasionally send a quick text about a patient, even when everyone knows it’s a violation of HIPAA and hospital regulations.

Brooklyn’s Interfaith Medical Center, for example, recognized that the adoption of secure messaging technology could enhance collaboration between care team members and between the hospital and community providers, ultimately leading to better health outcomes. At the same time, they recognized that the solution had to be simple, intuitive, and HIPAA-compliant.

At Interfaith – not unlike most other medical facilities – smartphones were nearly as ubiquitous as the stethoscope. Hospital leaders knew that in order to gain widespread acceptance of any secure messaging technology, the product had to mirror activity that was already familiar to users, namely texting. Interfaith began reviewing various secure communication technologies and, in the end, selected DrFirst’s Backline platform.

With the implementation of Backline, Interfaith is equipped to increase coordination with community physicians. For example, emergency department physicians can use Backline to consult with their peers in the community. Backline also allows care team members to partner on discharge planning in support of Interfaith’s continuity of care efforts.

The creation of groups within Backline gives users the ability to interact with appropriate care team members about critical patient updates, such as new lab results, or to notify nursing when a patient is moved from his or her room. With Backline, Interfaith physicians and staff are equipped to send and receive real-time notifications in a secure format that enhances patient safety and the delivery of care.

An added benefit for Interfaith: Backline interfaces with the organization’s MEDITECH system, providing a number of operational efficiencies.

As healthcare continues to shift to value-based care models, quality outcomes are increasingly important to a hospital’s bottom line. Improved healthcare delivery requires collaboration – which is most effective when an efficient, secure communication solution is in place.

About lindafischer

Linda Fischer, joined DrFirst after having served 21 years as a VP and CIO for Huntington Hospital where she played a key role in the implementation of an EMR and successful attestations through MU Stage 2. Ms. Fischer is a long-time member of HIMSS, CHIME, and GNYHA, and is a founding member of the CHIME Opioid Task Force and DrFirst Opioid Task Force. In 2009, she received the CPEHR Certification from CCHIT as well as a “Friend of Nursing” MAGNET award. Ms. Fischer served on the original Board of Directors in the creation and implementation of the Long Island HIE, known now as HealthEx.