Tag: Will O’Connor

The Crucial Link: How Nurses and Patients Benefit from Enhanced Clinical Communication

Will O’Connor, M.D.

By Will O’Connor, M.D., chief medical information officer, TigerConnect

When the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that COVID-19 was no longer a global pandemic, everyone breathed a maskless sigh of relief and tried to put the devastation of a three-year-long crisis behind them. But now, the healthcare industry faces another pandemic – a nurse staffing crisis years in the making.

A recent report by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing found that nearly 100,000 registered nurses had left the profession since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, when exposure was high and support was low. What’s more startling is that another 600,000 nurses intend to leave by 2027 due to stress, cognitive burnout, and retirement. This labor shortage adds to the factors pushing nurses to leave as their workloads inevitably increase while available resources remain scarce. But what’s at the root of this mass exodus?

Navigating The Great Attrition

As of March 2023, 45% of inpatient nurses reported they are likely to leave their role in the next six months because they feel undervalued by their organization and have an unmanageable workload, contributing to burnout, stress, and cognitive burden. As nurses navigate the complexities of providing care to multiple patients, they face the challenge of using ineffective communication methods such as phone and email and balancing various interruptions and disruptions, all of which obstruct patient care. In fact, miscommunication is the root of over 70% of sentinel events, resulting in $1.7 billion in malpractice suits over five years.

In a recent joint survey conducted by Becker’s Healthcare and TigerConnect of more than one-hundred clinical leaders across various healthcare ecosystems, respondents provided valuable insights into the perceived risks to patients and care providers stemming from communication and workflow processes that put care on the line. These risks include:

Enhancing Clinical Collaboration

Given these insights, it is evident that to develop a successful staffing strategy, healthcare leaders need to understand how nurses spend their time, their desired allocation of time, and how communication methods affect job satisfaction. By identifying the detrimental effects of inadequate workflows and broken communication methods, healthcare organizations can seek ways to alleviate the burdens on nurses and allow them to thrive and deliver exceptional patient care.

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Is Archaic Technology Fueling Healthcare Burnout?

By Will O’Connor, CMIO, TigerConnect.

Will O’Connor

COVID-19 has amplified troubling pain points in the healthcare sector. Forced to scale delivery of care beyond hospital walls at an accelerating pace, providers are experiencing the limitations of outdated legacy technology and siloed lines of communication. And in full ICUs across the nation, weary frontline workers are stretched thin, summoned from crisis to crisis by an unrelenting chorus of alerts, alarms and pages.

Better communication and collaboration tools, like those deployed in most other industries today, could help beleaguered frontline teams perform their jobs more efficiently and with less stress. In fact, some hospitals already provide their staff with technology that helps them better prioritize nurse call alerts, manage workflows and assignments, and collaborate with physicians, technicians and others involved in each patient’s treatment.

But those are the exceptions to the norm in one of the last industries to undergo a digital transformation. In fact, some 90% of hospitals still rely on faxes, and 80% still use pagers. In many cases, physicians using pagers must carry several at the same time. Communications between care team members and with the patient occur over outdated systems and can delay the exchange of vital information and timely scheduling of treatments. These antiquated communication systems decrease the quality of care and make it harder for healthcare workers to do their jobs.

21st-century communications

Healthcare leaders seeking improved efficiency and productivity in their organization’s patient outcomes, financial performance, staff satisfaction, or patient experiences should look first to the quality of their communications. A health system’s communications network provides the channels for critical collaboration between physicians, technicians, nurses and others as they pursue the shared goal of delivering quality patient care.

Platforms that prioritize data integration, patient engagement and collaboration among caregivers not only deliver the best care, but also enable doctors and nurses to do their jobs easier, improve the patient experience and realize the lowest operating expenses.

As physicians, nurses and administrators grow increasingly dissatisfied with the legacy systems still in use at their organizations, more and more hospitals and hospital systems are augmenting or replacing traditional IT infrastructure with cutting-edge technologies. What follows are key features to look for while planning improvements and evaluating available solutions.

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