Healthcare Workflow Automation

Considering improving the workflows involved in hospital management is something that takes up a lot of time for senior healthcare managers.

Ensuring that you get the highest possible return on your investment is always the chief aim as hospital budgets can be quite stringent. In order to get the most out of the money that is being invested the workflows that have been implemented must be working at an optimum level.

This is easier said that done as implementing new processes and procedures can impact workers at all levels. Change is not alway welcome and if it is not implemented properly then there may not be buy in from stakeholders such as staff and patients.

In addition to this there is pressure to ensure that you are complying with all relevant pieces of legislation at every step along the way. When the communication electronic Protected Healthcare Information (ePHI) is being broadcast there must be no breach of legislative acts including HIPAA, HITECH, etc. This is a lot to take on board. The easiest way to put all of this in place is to implement secure messaging – a reliable solution, proven to enhance hospital workflows, drive up productivity and lead to the provision of a higher standard of patient care.

Using Secure Messaging to Enhance Hospital Workflow Management

A HIPAA-compliant communications solution, secure messaging can be implemented as an alternative to old channels of communication including voicemail, email, pagers and fax machines.

While the processes that these were used in remain important the outdated methods of communication hindered implementing a smooth workflow, resulting in wasted time, low employee morale and slower treatment for patients. Secure messaging cuts out this wastage and results in medics having more time to treat patients.

There are many advantages to implementing Secure messaging including:

  • Less risks and easier compliance with HIPAA and qualification for the Meaningful Use incentive program.
  • Quicker more reliable communication that allows medics to spend more time with patients leading to better success rates.
  • Allows healthcare workers to implement mobile devices to arrange workflows and communicate with colleagues.

Improving Hospital Admission Workflows

The admissions process in a hospital can be a potentially time-consuming process. However, using secure messaging can address this through the monitoring of bed availability, quicker delivery of lab results and speedier communications between consultants.

Additionally, medication orders can be sent in a secure group message that will inform unit managers and nurses before admission. This method can also be used for clarification purposes if necessary. Integration with an EMR or EHR can lead to the instant delivery of lab results and radiology images when they are placed in the EMR.

Improving Hospital Emergency Room Workflows

The Emergency Room needs to have optimal workflows in place more so than anywhere else in a hospital. Critical decisions are taken all the time and there needs to be some way that First responders and Emergency Medical Services can inform medics in relation to the condition of incoming patients. Secure messaging allows images and video to be sent allowing a more thorough description of the patient’s than was previously possible.

Secure messaging allows for quicker evaluation of patients by consultants who are not actually in the Emergency Room at the time. Due to this there are quicker admission times and more efficient treatment of patients along with a quicker turnaround time for “treat and release” patients that can cause blockages in the flow of treatment.

Improving Hospital Laboratory Workflows

Research has shown that the integration of secure messaging solutions with EMRs cuts the chances of patient safety events by 27%. In addition to this experts have found that using secure messaging allowed for the correct ordering and follow-up of the appropriate test, correct patient identification, and the proper communication of test results, specimen quality and delivery issues.

Secure messaging linked with an EMR means that lab results are not being waited on as alerts are automatically sent when they are available. This means that they can be considered pmce results are linked to the patient’s medical record, increasing hospital laboratory workflow efficiency greatly.

Improving Hospital Pharmacy Workflows

In relation to the operation of a hospital pharmacy the issue of take insurance validity and physician callbacks to confirm scripts into account can be a major hindrance. However, using secure messaging these issues can be eliminated.

With this solution a pharmacist can address a payment issue or send a request for order clarification to a physician, happy that their message is 100% guaranteed to be received and will be replied to at the earliest opportunity possible.

Another bonus is assisting both in-house and off-site pharmacies adhere with the conditions for the Meaningful Use incentive program. The electronic sharing of information, electronic prescription hand-offs, and the reviewing of medication journeys are all Meaningful Use obligations that can be processed by secure messaging from a mobile phone with no danger of a data breach occurring.

Improving Hospital Discharge Workflows

During a hospital stay, secure messaging can allow healthcare professionals to enhance hospital workflows and coordinate the provision of treatment. With secure messaging cutting out the short delays that can add up and push patients past the 72-hour Medicare reimbursement window for many medical procedures, patient stays are cut, hospital beds are accessible quicker and obstacles to hospital admission workflow efficiency are avoided.

Using secure messaging, automated alerts are sent to every member of the discharge team so that discharge planners, unit secretaries, nurses and other members of the team are updated and shift the patient along the discharge process more easily.

A standard process for streamlining hospital discharge efficiency using secure messaging would be:

  • Physicians complete a patient discharge request via EMR using a mobile device.
  • Alerts are issued to the nurse(s) and unit secretary so that discharge order is placed in EMR.
  • Discharge planner communicates medical reconciliation and the patient is advised by the nurse(s);
  • Family of the patient is informed so that they can set up collection.