Healthcare has its fair share of problems. Yet, how many of them stem from poor communication. Here we examine 3 common problems, and treatments that can help.
While many healthcare organizations use electronic records, some aspects of communication are still outdated. A 2017 study found that fax machines were still played a big role in a doctor's office. Faxes account for 75% of all medical communication. Sarah Kliff of the Vox discovered that doctors would print out their own medical record and fax it to another office. The recipient would then upload the printout of an electronic record.
Sure, this creates a paper trail, but the scenarios of what could go wrong outweigh the good. The printed data could easily be lost or misfiled. If the fax line is on a shared system with the incoming phone line, either it will be delayed or prevent a patient from being able to call in because the line was busy. This can be quite problematic if multiple doctors, or departments, need to be able to share patient information.
Some may argue that the fax machine is HIPAA compliant. However, this is far from the truth. Last year, a New York City hospital was sued for $2.5 million for faxing their health status to their employer without permission. Relying on faxes can be harmful to the health to not only a practice, but patients as well.
There are quicker and more effective methods of transmitting patient data. Email, video conferencing document storage, and document sharing can all be handled within a secure and HIPAA compliant environment.
Lack of communication is a big problem when it comes to coordinating care. This not only applies to how the effectively EHRs are stored, but other messaging factors. At times, it can be difficult for a radiology department to convey the results of an x-ray to a specialist. Some practices still rely on the patient to deliver their own x-ray images on a CD.
Bad communication isn't just limited to specialty departments. In a recent survey, only 30% of primary care doctors said they were notified when a patient is seen in an emergency department or were discharged from the hospital.
When hospitals have health systems databases, that are not interoperable, it is difficult to share information. This is why Melodon Health Technologies is dedicated to developing custom interoperability solutions that enable the seamless integration and operation of applications among systems and organizations.
Our fast, free, and secure evaluation is the easiest way to find out how your healthcare organization is doing, and how to improve.
Patients without Patience
Another communication pain point exists with the patient itself. Be it traffic, or just plain forgetfulness, 20% of patients will no show their primary care appointments. For hospitals, no shows average about 62 per day. This adds up to about $3 million in lost revenue each year.
A quick reminder can help. Calls can help patients remember that they have an upcoming appointment. Text message reminders are also a quick, and easy way to remind patients when to come in for an appointment. In one study, it improved patient attendance by 70%.
Investing in the improvement of communication yields a substantial ROI. This not only applied to communication with patients, but within the healthcare organization itself. Some practices may be wary of fully implementing EHR systems, out of fear that it will take too much time to learn. This is exactly why the system implemented needs to be user-friendly, as well as scalable and secure.