By: Karen Greenwood; TigerText Strategic Growth
The most critical relationships in any medical facility, is that between the caregiver and the patient. The relationship between the doctors and the nurses is also one of the most critical relationships in healthcare, and one that has a direct relationship on the quality of care that a patient receives.
If you were to brought to a hospital ER for some injury or illness, the ability of the attending nurses to quickly communicate your condition with the right doctor, can mean the difference between life and death in some cases. The collaborative communication between nurses and doctors determines not only how fast a patient gets attention, but it also determines that they get the best type of care for their situation.
A study of ICU’s across the country determined there was a higher mortality rate for patients who were cared for by nurse/doctors teams who had low collaborative communication between them than those cared for by highly communicative teams.
Low communication between nurses and doctors kills patients. Sounds like something you’d hear on an evening network news station, but it is a reality of our modern healthcare system.
So, the question is: How do you increase communication between nurses and doctors?
The 21st century may be called the age of communication, since new mobile communication technologies have matured to the point where they have been integrated in to almost every aspect of a person’s life. We are able to communicate with almost anyone, anywhere on Planet Earth; and this reality is really starting to change medicine as we know it.
Due to the fact that communication in our healthcare system is governed by The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, nurses and doctors have to be extremely careful about how they communicate patient information between themselves and with others in the care chain. In some ways HIPAA is a barrier to healthcare communications, and can be a barrier to communication between nurses and doctors.
In the last few years, companies like TigerText have developed HIPAA secure and compliant messaging systems that are revolutionizing how healthcare teams communicate.
Secure Messaging offers healthcare operations several important features and benefits that increase communication, which directly results in an increase in the quality of care that is provided. This is especially true for the nurse/doctor relationship.
Here are 3 ways that secure messaging can bring nurses and doctors closer together:
#1 – No Interruptions please – Direct asynchronous communication
In the past, if a nurse or another doctor needed to communicate with another doctor, they would have to call them, which might interrupt them while with another patient. These interruptions have been shown to increase medical errors and results in a lowering of the quality of care. Asynchronous communication is communication between individuals, who are not present at the same time. A good example of this is a text message. If an ER nurse uses secure messaging to ask a doctor examining another patient in a different location a question about another patient, the doctor will hear that he got a message, and look at it when he is able to do so without interrupting his current examination. The delay in response to such a message, is usually short, but allows the doctor to choose when to respond instead of it being a interruption that could create a problem/
#2 – Warm fuzzy’s – Security of HIPAA compliance
Everyone likes feeling secure, and this is especially true for nurses and doctors dealing with the HIPAA regulations. By using secure messaging, nurses and doctors don’t have to worry if the patient information they just sent, will leak out and cause a HIPAA violation. By feeling secure about the communication channel, they will use that channel to communicate more. More communication results in better results, increased productivity and better quality of care. More communication brings people closer together and builds stronger relationships.
#3 – A Picture’s worth – Image and file attachment
MRI, EEG, MEG, ECG, X-Ray, NMI, CT Scan, wound pictures, lab results – all are examples of detailed information about a patient’s condition, but they are visual and not able to be communicated in a phone call or text-only message. These forms of tests, images and results are now all output in to digital files for ease of use and transfer. Secure messaging that is HIPAA compliant, such as TigerText, allows nurses and others to send these files quickly to doctors as a message attachment. This allows doctors to quickly analyze the patient data and respond with patient care instructions to the nursing staff.
By using secure messaging, the nurse-physician relationship and communication can be optimized and as a result can reduce imprecise and delayed communication that can lead to patient harm.
Secure messaging bring nurses and doctors closer together by creating a safe, fast, secure and detail orientated communication link that will result in a better bond and better quality of care that can be provided.