Clinical Collaboration in Healthcare

January 31st, 2022 /
PrognoCIS
/ 8 Min Read

Thanks to technological advancements in the medical practices and hospitals industry, it has become easier for healthcare staff to collaborate and work as a team. Today, patients can have access to a team of collaborating medical professionals offering the best care and patient experience. 

For efficient collaboration amongst healthcare workers, hospitals and practices should invest in communication technology that keeps the team connected and makes patient information easily accessible. With digitization, providers can deliver highly personalized care. 

There is enough evidence to support the importance of investing in at least one of these digital innovations. They revolutionize care, regardless of the practice or size of the hospital. 

healthcare collaborative approach

IoT and wearable devices  

The use of wearable devices in healthcare can have a positive impact on the provider and the patient. By combining high-end hardware, mobile applications, and predictive analytics, this technology is changing how healthcare professionals diagnose patients, manage diseases, and deliver preemptive care. 

These devices create a constant flow of user data to healthcare professionals helping them make informed decisions, including breathing patterns, blood pressure numbers, and even sleep cycle data for better diagnosis. IoT the future of Healthcare

Telemedicine 

Telemedicine continues to be the popular alternative to in-person visits, especially for elderly, sick, and uninsured individuals. For telemedicine to reach its full potential, healthcare facilities and professionals need to invest in digital technology and an EHR that supports this technology. 

For telemedicine to work, patients need to be able to find doctors and healthcare facilities online with ease. The local SEO ultimate guide by Omnicore can make practices and doctors more visible online, making it easier for them to be found by their patients.  

Telemedicine has made it possible for more people to access accurate diagnoses without visiting a healthcare facility. Through collaboration, healthcare professionals can communicate with each other for better treatment options and efficient decision-making. 

Big Data 

Using big data, policymakers, organizations, and scientists can make accurate life-changing policy decisions and recommendations. When done right, data analytics in healthcare can help avoid preventable diseases, reduce the cost of healthcare, and improve patients’ quality of life. 

With big data, healthcare professionals can better analyze patient self-care and health conditions, making it easier to deliver better healthcare outcomes. 

It is only with big data that the healthcare industry can identify meaningful data and use it for predictive analysis, leading to better diagnosis and prevention. 

Cloud Technology 

With cloud technology, healthcare organizations are interconnected and have access to digitally secure and safe information. 

In the business of medicine, there is a continuous collection of patient data, research, and disease information from various sources. Before the advent of cloud technology, healthcare organizations had to pay for expensive systems to store data and information. Cloud storage has changed how data can be stored and accessed in the medical field. This enhances collaboration amongst healthcare professionals as the data can be accessed anywhere, anytime using different devices. 

Storing data in a centralized cloud network is safer because it is bounced off in different servers rather than being in one place. 

Ways to conduct Clinical collaboration 

collaborating medical professionals

Define a healthcare collaborative approach  

For healthcare collaboration to work, a facility needs to develop a definitive collaborative approach. This includes creating a model of what a collaborative team looks like and setting up staff and colleagues for the task.  

A collaborative team includes medical practitioners in different professions with similar patient care goals and the responsibility of providing complementary tasks to meet this goal. This includes paramedics bringing patients to the ER, doctors, and nurses who are the first contact for the patient and inpatient hospital staff.  

The team should share an established means of communication between them, the patient, and the family to ensure they meet all aspects of patient care. Technological devices such as mobile devices can strengthen communication between members of the internal and external team.  

Most healthcare professionals make use of the Situation-Background-Assessment-Recommendation (SBAR). This communication program is used to strengthen interactions between healthcare individuals and teams. This system allows healthcare professionals to communicate more consistently, accurately, and efficiently with standardized guides, forms, and checklists.  

Delegate Team Member Roles 

The abilities of different healthcare professionals are separated by profession, determined by the education received. This limits the knowledge and expertise of different members of a collaborative health team, hence the need for delegating roles.  

The successful collaboration includes understanding distinct roles and responsibilities in different professions represented in the collaborative team. From the ambulatory service providers to specialists, every team member should understand their role and that of common roles in healthcare, including nurses, physicians, social workers, and pharmacists, among others. This knowledge provides a baseline for effective team communication.  

Assign Tasks and Responsibilities  

For collaboration to work, team members must understand their tasks and responsibilities regarding patient care. The team’s focus should be on addressing the patient’s needs, meeting patient care goals. This defines the team’s setup and the responsibilities assigned to each team member. 

Communication, coordination, and shared responsibility are achieved when health care providers see each other as partners, not competitors.  

Practice Collaboration 

The only way to perfect collaboration amongst team members is through consistently practicing collaboration. A team can achieve fresh insights and solutions to different patient care needs through practice.  

Working as a team presents professional diversity that causes a difference in opinion and inevitable conflict. These are essential elements for the continued growth of cooperation efforts, hence the need to educate team members on effective ways of dealing with issues constantly.  

Collaboration is an ongoing process that offers continuous learning and improvement. 

Why Clinical Collaboration is essential nowadays 

Automation 

Clinical collaboration helps to automate processes in healthcare, further simplifying the IT process. Automating various healthcare processes accounts for faster medical service delivery. This facilitates patient management and faster delivery of care. 

Improved patient care 

When a patient walks into an emergency department with back pain, a team of doctors, nurses, and specialists attend to the patient and produce viable solutions to the care needs. This can only be possible through collaboration. This collaboration provides patient-centered care and greater health outcomes. 

Fewer medical errors 

Communication gaps can have severe outcomes in the healthcare space, including missed symptoms, misdiagnosis, and even wrong treatment. Statistics show that medical errors account for more than 250,000 deaths annually, making it the third leading cause of death in the U.S. 

Through collaboration, healthcare professionals enjoy better communication, which helps to bring down the percentage of medical errors. Inter-professional collaboration ensures that every healthcare professional involved in a patient’s care has access to needed information to ensure the safe and accurate treatment of patients. 

Reduced inefficiencies and costs 

With the possibility of reduced medical errors, healthcare facilities can save millions of dollars lost through wrong diagnosis and treatment. Clinical collaboration also helps healthcare organizations save money by reducing workflow redundancies and inefficiencies in operations. 

According to a study, 20 hospitals reduced the fall rate by 50% after improving collaboration between the physicians and nurses. The lengths of stay were also reduced by 0.6 days, with the annual bed turn increasing by 20%. Clinical collaboration has also increased the rate of the surgical start time, saving more than 700 hours previously wasted over four years. 

Higher job satisfaction 

Every healthcare department is controlled by the hospital culture, philosophy, and knowledge base. When power structure is added to the equation, the voice of some professionals is deemed more important than that of others. This negatively affects patient outcomes and the morale of some healthcare workers. 

Clinical collaboration offers the best solutions where every individual involved in patient care plays a significant role. Collaboration creates a sense of camaraderie and community amongst healthcare providers, which helps to boost job satisfaction, recruitment, and staff retention. 

Common challenges in clinical collaboration 

Clinical Challenges

Lack of clinical ownership and engagement 

Sometimes, it can be challenging to get all healthcare workers in an organization to participate in collaboration processes. This leads to gaps in information sharing, affecting patient collaboration efforts and care. 

Lack of board support and engagement 

The failure of the health facility board to support collaboration efforts can deter the digitization process. This has an impact on the motivation of other willing players. 

Failure to embrace external collaboration 

While it is easier and safer to maintain internal collaboration efforts, external collaboration with other health professionals can better serve the industry. 

Hierarchical structure and hospital culture 

Lack of support from a department or organization can slow down the process of clinical collaboration. When subordinates feel less heard, they show less willingness to work together because their ideas and efforts are constantly ignored. 

The bottom line 

Thanks to technological advancements, collaboration in the healthcare industry are easier than ever. By investing in collaboration technology, the healthcare industry can improve communication amongst the staff, providers, and patients, positively impacting the service and care delivery. 

 

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