Care Collaboration is Within Reach
Here’s a not so far-out scenario.
Imagine you’re an attending physician and you want to find out which nurse is assigned to which patient so you can collaborate care. What do you do? If you check the EHR, you’ll be disappointed. Not only is that cumbersome, but the information is often inadequate or not up-to-date.
You can try using a secure messaging tool, but you still face the same problem. You still don’t know who is assigned to a particular patient.
That means you have to play an endless game of telephone or beeper “tag” – wasting valuable time and energy.
Here’s another scenario.
Imagine you’re responsible for assigning patients each morning and for balancing workloads. Your team is dedicated to delivering quality care. But when you try to factor in multiple variables like a patient’s condition, continuity, geography and many others – the task quickly becomes unmanageable or incredibly time consuming. For example, some staffers have been known to start at 5 a.m. just to get the assignments done in time.
To make matters worse, the completed assignments that you do come up with are less than ideal.
Feelings of unfairness surface as some people perceive their workloads to be worse than others.
Meanwhile, care is jeopardized as people get behind in their assignments and have to play catch up. Studies consistently show that heavy workloads increase the potential for medical errors. And that’s not unusual. In one study, 40% of hospitalists surveyed said they experienced unsafe workloads at least once a month.1 The same applies to nurses. There is good scientific evidence of an association between higher nurse workloads and lower patient outcomes, including higher hospital mortality.2
Is it any wonder burnout is at an all-time high? Increasing workloads and inefficient operations are making jobs difficult for people.
What if there was a different approach?
What if every care team member in a hospital knew exactly who was assigned to which patient at any point in time? Wouldn’t that improve care collaboration?
Imagine if physicians knew which nurses were assigned to their patients and nurses knew the same in reverse. What if case managers and physical therapists also knew everybody’s assignments and, as a result, could easily and securely communicate with one another?
EVIDENCE-BASED PATIENT ASSIGNMENTS
Let’s add another layer to the science of assignments.
Imagine if instead of building them manually, patient assignments were automatically and intelligently created so the right patient was expertly matched with the right provider.
And what if as a result of this intelligently applied assignment process, workloads were balanced – even accounting for complicated cases?
Wouldn’t that improve overall care? For example, what if continuity could be effectively applied to all patients – not just those seen the day before, but weeks or even several months ago?
Or imagine if you could avoid assigning patients with the same last name to the same provider, thereby avoiding potentially threatening medical errors.
What if the assignments were quickly and easily distributed to the care team members 15 minutes before each shift and could even be adjusted during the day to account for new patients after midnight?
Finally, imagine if the entire assignment process was tied to a charge management system so every service, every visit and every procedure was accurately billed and reconciled.
A GALAXY OF COLLABORATIVE CARE TECHNOLOGY
MedAptus has developed a “galaxy” of inpatient collaborative care technology.
It combines intelligent patient assignment software and award-winning charge capture and charge management technology to help care team members work better together and improve the financial performance of hospitals.
This is how care collaboration should be. It should revolve around patients and those who are assigned to them.
Below and throughout our website – you can learn more about our galaxy of care. Take a look at the studies for physicians and nurses that have formed the foundation of our patient assignment products. Read about the benefits and value our products provide.
When you’re ready to have a more in-depth conversation about how to improve your care collaboration, give us a call at (617) 896-4000 or contact us using this form.
2The Effects of Nurse Staffing and Nurse Education on Patient Deaths in Hospitals With Different Nurse Work Environments. Linda H. Aiken, PhD, RN, Jeannie P. Cimiotti, DNSc, RN, Douglas M. Sloane, PhD, Herbert L. Smith, PhD, Linda Flynn, PhD, RN, and Donna F. Neff, PhD, APRN. Med Care. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2012 Dec 1.
Published in final edited form as: Med Care. 2011 Dec; 49(12): 1047–1053. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0b013e3182330b6e