November 18, 2021

White Paper
7 min

Improve Healthcare with Clinical Communication and Collaboration Solutions

Explore unique clinical communication and collaboration solutions and services for healthcare systems.

Remy Morgan

Mike Larsen

Clinical mobility requires communication and collaboration. Clinical communication and collaboration (CC&C) solutions support clinician-patient interactions and provide clinicians easy access to their colleagues and the information they need. Ultimately, this leads to an improved patient experience.

CC&C relies on hardware and software solutions, such as mobile devices and accompanying mobile device management (MDM) software. These technology advancements make it easier for caregivers, providers and patients to communicate and collaborate and are essential to reducing nurse toil, improving morale and making healthcare systems more efficient.

It has become clear that technological developments in healthcare have helped save lives and improve the quality of healthcare systems. Finding the right CC&C solutions to support healthcare infrastructure and frontline workers is a must.

73%

The percentage of hospitals that consider clinical collaboration and communication solutions a high investment priority

Source: diagnotes.com, “Growth of telehealth encourages clinical collaboration,” Aug. 6, 2021

Finding the Right Clinical Communication Solutions

When organizations set out to transform work, 35 percent prioritize the implementation of new technology solutions, and 45 percent focus on building a culture around growth, adaptability and resilience, according to Deloitte. There is significant room for hardware modernization at many healthcare organizations, according to a 2019 survey that found 89 percent of organizations still rely on fax machines and 39 percent use pagers. 

That said, the most successful organizations recognize the potential in the confluence of people and tools; the right solutions, for instance, can reinforce cultural values of resilience and adaptation. The most important solutions for CC&C transformation are: 

  • Devices: Augmenting consumer smartphones are mobile devices designed for the healthcare industry, supporting features such as role-based escalation, centralized management, and adherence with security and privacy requirements. In addition to HIPAA-compliant texting and voice conversations, devices can send and receive alarm notifications directly from the point of care. Direct communication allows clinicians to reduce response time, prioritize needs and improve patient satisfaction. Devices also can host key clinical applications, including electronic health records (EHRs) and barcode medication administration systems. 
  • Cases and charging: Organizations that manage hundreds or thousands of devices need dedicated solutions for storage, charging, transport and syncing. Multiport battery charging trays and cabinets ensure that devices are ready when the next shift arrives. Charging dock features may include LED status indicators and support for a variety of connections, such as Lightning and USB ports. “Self-healing” features ease maintenance burdens on IT and help desk staff by automatically fixing software errors when devices are plugged into the dock. Features that allow disinfection while charging protect clinicians and patients by removing bacteria and other microorganisms.
  • Scanning: Code scanning helps to keep patients safe; it can prevent medication errors that may cause harm and extend hospital stays, for example. For stand-alone scanners and applications on devices, EHR integration has become integral to mobile, point-of-care workflows.
  • MDM: MDM solutions enhance control, security and efficiency. Role-based personas add ease and consistency to device provisioning, ensuring that clinicians and ancillary staff have the applications they need. Security features make it easier for IT staff to enforce policies and best practices, thereby mitigating risk and maintaining compliance. 
  • CC&C software: Platforms bring clinical communication, information and workflow together in a single, mobile-friendly platform. These tools connect the care team quickly and easily, support accuracy and consistency, and allow for individual customization (for example, sorting messages, alerts and notifications by priority or by patient). Dynamic directories and seamless application integration let clinicians access the information and alerts they need, without having to spend time navigating discrete, manual systems. 
  • VoIP: VoIP provides the mobility and flexibility that caregivers need, while keeping calls secure and private. Features include videoconferencing, routing of calls to smartphones, voice-to-text translation, customization, and scheduling of messages and greetings.
  • Security: Increased reliance on mobile devices as tools for clinical care, combined with expanded attacks on healthcare systems, make mobile-specific security a must. Device-based protection leverages machine learning to detect threats and avert attacks, keeping endpoints secure wherever they may be. Unified CC&C platforms also enhance security: Research from the Ponemon Institute shows that on average, siloed tools and manual processes delayed security patching in healthcare by an average of 9.5 days.
  • Analytics: Just as more information helps clinicians make better decisions, more data empowers IT staff for better technology management. Analytics and visualizations of clinical workflow solutions help staff understand and refine the deployment of solutions and proactively identify and address potential issues.

Services

Crafting the right solution for a specific institution or system requires expertise in the intersection of healthcare and CC&C technologies, together with a structured framework for gathering actionable information from stakeholders. Many providers engage third-party specialists to facilitate critical phases of clinical mobility initiatives. 

Such services may include:

  • Clinical mobility workshops: Focus groups for IT and clinical staff, together with detailed assessments of clinical workflows, are the best starting point for any CC&C strategy. Such workshops are designed to identify critical needs and concerns and to inform the selection of hardware and software solutions that will achieve desired goals and resolve challenges. 
  • Network assessment and optimization for mobile devices and VoIP
  • Device configuration and device retirement at end of lifecycle
  • Lifecycle management through managed mobility services, such as MDM support and mobile help desks
  • Financing options, including leasing
  • Pro services for MDM deployments
  • Pro services for CC&C deployments

Story by Remy Morgan, Mike Larsen

49%

The percentage of hospitals that have developed an enterprisewide mobile communications strategies

Source: diagnotes.com, “Growth of telehealth encourages clinical collaboration,” Aug. 6, 2021

To learn more about how clinical communication and collaboration solutions improve healthcare systems, read the white paper “Leveraging Real-time Clinical Communication to Improve Healthcare Outcomes” from CDW.

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