Reimagining Communication Workflows Series: Part 4 – Improving Transitions of Care

12.20.17 TigerText Healthcare, Industry Insights
Reimagining Communication Workflows Series: Part 4 – Improving Transitions of Care

Achieving the triple aim of better outcomes, reduced costs, and a better patient experience calls for new care delivery systems, advanced technology, and adherence to best practices at every point of the patient journey. It also requires all care providers to communicate clearly and completely across the care continuum.

As part of our ongoing series, we will be discussing how new clinical communication and collaboration technologies are reshaping those traditional healthcare communication models.

In our last post, we showcased how improving transitions of care can have measured effects on reducing the amount of time lab technicians and clinicians needed when communicating with one another. In this article we will be exploring how transitions of care are improved with TigerText.

The Problem

It’s in everyone’s best interest to help patients return home as soon as they’re cleared for discharge. Exhausted patients are eager to leave, a new patient is waiting for the room, and the hospital faces lost revenue for unused bed days.

And yet, communication breakdowns create unnecessary bottlenecks that can delay the discharge process for hours. Discharge orders may go unnoticed in the EHR, prescriptions need to be tracked down and medical equipment may need to be ordered. The long wait that follows can overshadow any positive impressions the patient may have of his or her hospital stay.

It can also result in a financial loss for the hospital. Medicare’s 72-hour rule states that a hospital may not receive reimbursement for procedures that occur after a patient’s hospital stay exceeds 72 hours, so it’s imperative that care transitions are tightly coordinated to avoid delays that could push a patient past this costly window.

A Better Way

Optimizing communications between physicians, nurses, techs, and other staff is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to effect meaningful, measureable change across the organization and can result in shorter hospital stays, higher reimbursements, and overall reduction in bed days.

A centralized communication tool that alerts all care team members when discharge orders are placed empowers discharge planners, unit secretaries, nurses, and others to stay aligned while moving patients through the discharge process. Ideally, the tool will integrate with the organization’s scheduling system to ensure that pertinent patient information gets to the right physician securely and easily. It should enable nurses to quickly and securely share patient data with the patient’s primary care physician (PCP), home health agency, and outpatient physical therapist, even if they don’t use the same platform.

Let Your Communications Flow

TigerFlow advances healthcare organizations to the next level of clinical communications. Designed to serve as the central hub for the care team, TigerFlow centralizes system-based patient information, enabling physicians, nurses, and support staff to access a wide range of information that is normally accessible only via disparate workstations. This includes clinical data, shift schedules, nurse calls, EHR alerts, medical images, medication lists, and lab test results.

In practical terms, it means that hospitalists can instantly identify and contact on-call specialists, ER physicians can easily share images with on-call cardiologists, and discharge coordinators can mobilize social workers, pharmacy, and physical therapists to expedite discharge.

TigerFlow Features include:

Click-to-Call
Users can initiate phone calls to colleagues with a single tap from a message thread or user profile, saving valuable time when trying to reach specialists, primary care providers (PCPs), nurse supervisors, pharmacists or others. Click-to-Call also shields phone numbers for privacy, respecting a common preference among physicians.

Role-based scheduling automation
Staff can easily identify and communicate with on-call specialists and other individuals without referencing a computer, whiteboard or work schedule. In fact, they don’t even have to know the person’s name. Organizations can assign staff members to specific roles or functions, such as “on-call cardiologist” or “unit secretary – 4th Floor,” making it easy to identify and message the correct specialist or tech.

Calendaring
Staff have instant visibility into future shifts for more effective planning.

Care teams
Users can create care teams around individual patients or rooms to make handoffs easier. New team members have immediate access to previous discussions between other members of the care team, ensuring no important information is missed.

With TigerFlow, breakdowns in communication are alleviated. Outcomes are better, costs go down, and most importantly, the experience for the patient improves.

To learn more about TigerFlow, download the Reimaging Communications Workflows eBook here

Up Next: Engaging family, caregivers, and primary care doctors