Efficient Communications-Steps for Automating, Streamlining and Improving Healthcare Communications (Part 6)

Communication Training and Standardization

Technology is a crucial part of improving communication efficiency and accuracy. Healthcare organizations remain places where care is provided by humans, however, and staff training is an important part of any solution.

In addition to training staff on any new technology they interact with, it’s important to train care providers and hospital staff on communications skills so that handoffs and other forms of communication contain all of the necessary and relevant information.

For example, many healthcare organizations are adopting a handoff method known as I-PASS. The mnemonic training method emphasizes covering Illness severity, Patient summary, Action items, Situation Awareness, and Synthesis by receiver during verbal handoffs.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, implementing I-PASS at nine hospitals resulted in 23 percent decrease in overall medical errors across all sites. There was also a 30 percent reduction in preventable adverse events across all sites.

Conclusion

Inefficient communication costs hospitals millions of dollars each year in loss of productivity and efficiency and in legal costs from malpractice suits. The average 500-bed hospital in the United States loses over $4 million each year due to inefficiencies, and the industry as a whole loses billions of dollars each year.

Healthcare organizations can reduce those losses by implementing modern technological solutions that streamline and automate communication throughout healthcare organizations, as well as staff training to improve the efficacy of the human conversations that will always take place in a healthcare setting.

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