Benefits of Unified Communications in a Healthcare Setting

nec-unified-communications-healthcareToday’s healthcare professionals are highly mobile and as a result require tools that provide instant access to crucial information and communications with their colleagues. Safety, quality, costs and staffing shortages are just some of the critical factors impacting patient care in hospitals today, making efficient communications more essential than ever before. According to the HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey 2012-Nurse Leaders Report, top priorities for nurse leaders for the next three years include patient experience and satisfaction, clinical quality and safety, and process improvement with a noticeable reduction in cost.

Chief Nursing Officers (CNO) also have concern regarding risk mitigation, staffing issues, and regulatory agency visits (such as the Joint Commission). If you are one of the many healthcare organizations considering Unified Communications technology to enhance your clinical operations, consider some of the ways Unified Communications can optimize your clinical workflow:
1. Real-Time Information/Secure Communications-
Unified Communications technology enables the delivery of real-time information to clinicians. Through quickly relaying time-sensitive data, UC plays a huge role in risk mitigation by reducing the possibility of error and unnecessary treatments. Incorporating Unified Communications into a healthcare setting can also speed up the overall process of preparation, which in turn increases productivity and efficiency. Having real-time, reliable access to patient data allows you to leverage your UC investment and, more importantly, see a reduction in inaccuracies and improvements in the quality of healthcare your organization provides. With Unified Communications, clinical messages are delivered securely, with full data encryption and enforced user authentication. The secure communication feature of Unified Communications keeps information from Electronic Health Records (EHR) safe, enabling you to meet the stringent compliance requirements of healthcare organizations.
2. Improved Staff Collaboration and Satisfaction-
With advanced, easy-to-use communication solutions, clinical and operational workflows are dramatically improved. Unified Communications gives you the ability to integrate clinical applications, which in turn makes it easier to achieve other clinical needs such as ongoing medical education and training. An additional element of improved staff collaboration is theutilization of a mass notification system as well as the ability for clinicians to make decisions in a timelier manner.

In a hospital setting, implementing a mass notification system extends beyond emergencies – doctors, nurses and administrative staff can also be alerted of shift changes or increased availability. A mass notification system will allow the same message to be broadcast to hundreds, or even thousands, of people, and some advanced systems include instant recipient response and polling. Do you have a message or question that needs to be dispersed immediately? Mass communications can be sent to personal and internal devices by email, voice, SMS and other communication venues so that within minutes everyone who is affected by the content of the message has received it.

3. Improved Patient Care/Flow-
Since Unified Communications enables clinicians to receive alerts and notifications immediately and directly on their preferred device, your hospital can optimize patient flow by reducing patient waiting time, coordination time for staff, and patient length of stay, resulting in quicker bed turnover. Nurse-patient face time is also increased as a result. This makes for an improved patient experience as well as improved clinical outcomes.
4. Increased Revenue-
The revenue cycle in a healthcare setting is driven strongly by communications, and inefficient communications can result in high capital loss due to delays and errors. With Unified Communications you can merge your various clinical information systems into a single, easily managed solution which will help to optimize communications and increase revenue. For example, the quicker bed turnover we mentioned previously can generate additional revenue, and the improved clinical workflows and staff efficiencies yielded as a result of UC deployment can reduce overall costs. When you’re pondering whether or not Unified Communications has a place in your hospital environment, it is important to keep in mind that clinical needs should control the technology solutions you implement, not vice versa. To learn more about the value you can add by deploying Unified Communications in a healthcare setting, download this webinar.