November 18, 2021

White Paper
5 min

Clinical Communication and Collaboration Strategies Can Transform Healthcare

Discover the strategies needed to implement clinical communication and collaboration solutions.

Michael Goad

The adoption of technology solutions to support clinical communication and collaboration (CC&C) is increasing. In fact, many healthcare IT decision-makers recognize the importance of implementing mobile device initiatives, taking advantage of such programs to improve patient care and the efficiency of care teams. However, to achieve these objectives, the right infrastructure must be in place.

Proper infrastructure not only supports seamless CC&C implementation, it also enhances clinical workflows. Clinical workflows aim to improve the functionality of the healthcare system and provide patients with consistent, excellent care. By assessing existing infrastructure, organizations can better determine the requirements for improving their clinical workflows and CC&C solutions.

Improved workflows and CC&C can lead to greater efficiency and productivity and increased quality of care. 

Having the right IT infrastructure in place and deploying CC&C solutions strategically allows staff to begin reaping the benefits of these tools much more quickly.

92%

The percentage of healthcare executives who believe that their organization’s ability to generate business value will depend on its technology architecture

Source: Accenture, “Accenture Digital Health Technology Vision 2021” (PDF), June 2021

Infrastructure

Wi-Fi is the foundational platform for a fully optimized CC&C ecosystem. Organizations need to understand the wireless demands VoIP solutions require and ensure that networking infrastructure can support them. 

Integration is also key to a successful deployment, given that CC&C is a holistic solution that serves to connect clinicians with each other and with essential tools and applications. Electronic health record platforms, PBX and nurse call systems, and priority applications (such as staff scheduling software) all need consideration. 

Eliminating manual processes in favor of automation can significantly reduce the friction and inefficiencies that lead to poor care coordination. Dynamic directories, for example, can replace the whiteboards and spreadsheets that clinicians have used in the past. Gains in timeliness and real-time collaboration lead to enhanced care and better patient outcomes.

Security is always essential, but healthcare organizations face special challenges. First is the fact that stolen patient records are more financially lucrative than other types of data. The value of these data assets, combined with the rapid expansion of virtual care amid the pandemic, has increased cybercriminals’ motivation to target healthcare providers. 

In addition, the healthcare industry has been less effective than other industries in deflecting breaches and containing their costs. IBM’s “Cost of a Data Breach Report 2020” showed that healthcare organizations took an average of 329 days to identify and contain a breach, nearly two months longer than the overall average. 

Moreover, data breaches are significantly more expensive in healthcare, costing $7.1 million on average, nearly twice the overall average of $3.9 million. CC&C initiatives should include mobile device management and other tools to ensure that as organizations facilitate better communication, they also enforce the necessary encryption and access management to protect healthcare data.

Adoption

When choosing and implementing a new solution, it is imperative to get clinicians and IT teams on the same page. Clinicians must understand the parameters set by IT staff, and technology professionals must be cognizant of clinicians’ logistical concerns and workflow considerations. 

Understanding the needs of all stakeholders is important, in part, because they may have varying perspectives in areas that are relevant to CC&C solutions. For instance, one survey found a significant difference between clinical and nonclinical staff in their perception of how communication disconnects affected patient care. 

Successful implementations occur when organizations take deliberate steps to bring all stakeholders together early in the process. This also means obtaining executive sponsorship for clinical mobility projects. This can ensure that the right solutions are chosen and that solutions eliminate (rather than exacerbate) any organizational silos.

Training helps teams learn to use new tools consistently and correctly, which can be a major factor in boosting adoption initially and for the long term. Training also ensures that organizations leverage new solutions to their full advantage, maximizing the return on investment. Effective change management practices recommend identifying thought leaders and technology champions who can serve as resources for their peers and advocates for adoption. 

Finally, healthcare providers should consider a phased approach that adds new elements and capabilities gradually. The complexity of integrating new mobility solutions into workflows, and adapting workflows where needed, leads many organizations to deploy CC&C solutions on a measured cadence that is well supported by training and other resources. 

By providing caregivers with the information they need, when they need it, healthcare organizations empower clinicians for efficient, seamless communication, documentation, notification and decision-making — core capabilities for the coordination and delivery of timely, exceptional care.

Story by Michael Goad

55%

The percentage of healthcare entities that invested in digital collaboration tools and remote monitoring capabilities to support their remote workforces during the COVID-19 pandemic

Source: Accenture, “Accenture Digital Health Technology Vision 2021” (PDF), June 2021

To learn more about how an infrastructure assessment can help implement CC&C solutions, read the white paper “Leveraging Real-Time Clinical Communication to Improve Healthcare Outcomes” from CDW.

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