How Team Based Care Works with Primary Care Patients

Team Based Care with a Patient and Multiple Specialists

Does your medical communication involve your patient’s other healthcare experts to provide team-based care? For various reasons, patients often seek treatment from different healthcare specialists, and you may not be aware of all of them.

For example, if a patient had oral surgery and was prescribed a strong painkiller that made them feel sick, they would most likely go to their primary care physician for answers. Certain painkillers and medications may have side effects that impact one’s mental health and can leave a patient feeling depressed. If that were the case, they may want to talk to a psychiatrist. 

This is why physician-led team-based care is an important strategy. It enables health care practitioners to create the most effective and efficient solutions for the patient. Let’s look at how team-based care approaches are used, while exploring ideas for your medical organization.

What is Team Based Care?

‘Team-based care’ is a method of connecting multiple healthcare providers in order to meet a patient’s needs by utilizing collaborative communication. Nurses and advanced practitioners lay the foundation for this value-based care by providing necessary communication between different practices and hospitals. 

A patient’s primary care provider can communicate with their cardiologist if they’re experiencing chest pain and need to be admitted to the hospital, but it’s  usually nurses who tend to be on the front line of this medical communication. They bridge the gap between specialists. Medical assistants often step in and fill this gap for physicians too, giving time back to doctors so they can focus on patient care needs while unloading some of their more administrative tasks.

Team Based Primary Care Approaches

The Old Care Model

Clinical patient treatment has traditionally followed a transactional, one-and-done, provide-a-diagnosis-and-get-reimbursed approach. With this model, physicians may be incentivized to have a particular service or procedure rendered within a narrow scope. They may not receive reimbursement for time spent coaching, listening to, and educating the patient through more intangible means. With this pressure, the physician may overlook other health issues the patient could be experiencing.

To be clear, patient health has always been a top priority in the medical field. However, the old model mostly makes room for “traditional” healthcare practices like meeting the patient, rendering a diagnosis, and giving treatment. In the new team-based care model, doctors focus on coming together to take a more holistic approach versus a single, isolated diagnosis and treatment for their patients. However, under this model, several challenging factors can arise, such as reluctance to communicate due to the inconvenience and potential time constraints among multiple providers.

“The five most common challenges that face healthcare teams relate to accountability, conflict management, decision-making, reflecting on progress, and coaching. These challenges were similar across both clinical and administrative team types.”1

Patients who don’t proactively share the full scope of treatment they’re receiving can cause challenges for clinicians and medical practice leaders. Patients may not share with their primary care doctor that they are also seeing a psychiatrist, neurologist, or other specialist. When each physician flies solo without collaborative communication, they’re not able to make the most informed care decisions based on the patient’s complete treatment regimen.

The New Team Based Care Model

The new team-based care approach requires a holistic change in workflow management that improves the value patients extract from the care they receive. With the patient’s permission, it can provide an environment where multiple practitioners and specialists share information, responsibilities, and delegate tasks. Having a medical assistant, nurse, physician, or specialist assess and gather patient information ahead of time and during patient intake can help improve a patient’s experience.2 

Consider updated digital workflow tools to improve the patient experience. Gone are the days of passing around clipboards and sticky notes for room rotations and patient updates. As one example, sending follow-up messages, educational materials, and other information via modern technology systems that use text messaging can accelerate speed to care and improve patient engagement.

Team-Based Care Communication Tools with PerfectServe

Physician Led Team Based Care: What Works?

When healthcare executives involve physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners in the decision-making process, patient satisfaction increases. The main priority should be the patient’s satisfaction and comfort. How is this accomplished?

It’s only natural for some providers to feel like their own practice and field is “the best.” However, when it comes to the patient, their health and wellbeing are the main priority. If the opportunity presents itself, it’s vital for all providers involved in the patient’s care to communicate with one another, because one medication or method for diagnosis may affect another symptom the patient is experiencing.

Ineffective Team Based Care

As one example of an ineffective approach to patient care, what this “couples therapy” video about cardiology and nephrology. It’s a comedic take on approaching team-based care.

 

In this skit, the specialists let the real issue escape them because they’re more concerned with who’s right. 

Although team-based care provides patients with multiple professional opinions and solutions, it can still be confusing. When healthcare professionals from different fields come together to focus on one issue, there is a shared level of responsibility they must accept. Having this responsibility can sometimes lead to irrelevant disagreements, which takes attention away from their main focus—the patient’s needs.

What Performing Team-Based Care Providers Are Doing

Organizations like Health Advocate take a look at all factors that may affect their patients. Instead of focusing on the diagnosis alone, they take the time to show empathy. It’s not just about finding a quick and easy solution—it’s about asking questions that dive deeper into the patient’s issues which could include other factors like finances, mental health, and overall stress.

“Our Health Advocacy service serves as the integrator for all healthcare and benefits needs. Our Personal Health Advocates will direct people to other experts on our team or coordinate with your benefit vendors to create a seamless transition.”3

Solutions like HealthMap focus on bringing multiple providers together to help those with Chronic Kidney Disease. They may incorporate dieticians and skilled practitioners to align with the nephrologist. Since each patient is unique with comorbidities, their care must be customized to fit their specific needs.

“We partner with patients’ providers, such as primary care physicians, nephrologists, cardiologists, and endocrinologists, to support and manage the ‘whole’ patient in our Kidney Population Management program.”4

Other healthcare teams might take a few minutes each day to align medical staff around that day’s priorities and incoming patients. Here is one example of a medical group aligning priorities and communicating effectively:

Medical Team Providing Team-Based Care in a Medical Staff Meeting

Team-Based Care Strategies for Your Organization

Is it time to rethink your patient care model? If ensuring optimum collaboration across all specialists in a patient’s orbit isn’t on your radar, it should be.. A few benefits of rethinking and optimizing your patient care strategies:

  • An organized process leads to true valued-based care. 
  • Having balanced, professional opinions benefits the patient.
  • Patient education initiatives get them more involved in their own care.
  • Regular, updated communication between provider and patient builds mutual trust.
  • Better processes and technology lead to decreased workloads for medical staff.

Read how other medical practices are teaming up to deliver exceptional patient care outcomes.[/vc_column_text]

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1Overcoming Challenges to Teamwork in Healthcare: A Team Effectiveness Framework and Evidence-Based Guidance, Frontiers in Communication, March 17, 2021. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcomm.2021.606445/

2Kevin Hopkins, MD, on challenges to team-based care: COVID-19 & beyond, American Medical Association, April 7, 2021. https://www.ama-assn.org/practice-management/scope-practice/kevin-hopkins-md-challenges-team-based-care-covid-19-beyond

3Health Advocacy is the heart of what we do, Health Advocate, 2022. https://www.healthadvocate.com/site/our-approach

4Healthmap Solutions, 2022. https://hub.healthmapsolutions.com/for-patients

Best Practices for Healthcare Software Deployment

The HDM KLASroom Series is a virtual eLearning series from Health Data Management and KLAS Research. The series aims to share insights that can advance the healthcare industry and educate healthcare leaders and their teams about the industry’s latest technological processes and trends. In the first HDM KLASroom episode, PerfectServe’s Kelly Conklin and Gabrielle Eagles—Chief Clinical Officer and Sr. Director of Marketing, respectively—spoke with Sue Armentrout, who serves as VP of Nursing Informatics and Evidence-Based Practice at Bon Secours Mercy Health, about best practices in software development and deployment that can help to improve the clinician experience. You can watch the episode below or keep reading to get an overview with main takeaways.

When it comes to best practices for software development and deployment in healthcare, improving the clinician experience should always be a central consideration. Whether you’re a manager, a member of the care team, or both, you know these practices matter long before implementation has occurred. This was true for Bon Secours Mercy Health, a large health system based in the Midwest with 50 hospitals worldwide under its umbrella. Bon Secours Mercy Health first implemented PerfectServe’s clinical communication platform in 2018, and the two organizations have been close partners ever since. In this episode, Armentrout spoke with the PerfectServe team about the support the company provides and shared some best practices about implementing and continuously improving communication tools. According to Sue, establishing effective workflows and positive practices at the start will set a system up to achieve successful outcomes. What are those best practices, then? Let’s take a look.

Pick the Right Vendor

A successful software deployment starts with the right software—and therefore, the right vendor. The right vendor solves or nearly eliminates the issues the organization is facing, which in turn decreases frustration across the care team. In the context of clinical communication, frustration is most often caused by inefficient software design, click fatigue, lack of interoperability, siloed deployments, and a lack of insights from end users, all of which contribute to a negative experience and burnout for clinicians. The right vendor should address these core issues by working to remove communication barriers based on the client’s guidance, but the vendor’s team should also offer novel solutions and new workflow suggestions to widen the lens of what powerful communication can accomplish. Bon Secours Mercy Health chose PerfectServe to remove communication barriers, consolidate its software footprint, and improve clinical communication and collaboration between providers.

Bon Secours Mercy Health

“A good vendor will involve users in both the development and deployment process,” said Eagles. “They will be a true partner and work well with others. They will offer policy and governance best practices, and they will have an eye on the future so they can scale and continuously improve along with you.”

Create a Continuous Improvement Cycle

Creating a continuous cycle of improvement relies heavily on the first best practice mentioned above: picking the right vendor. The right vendor should be a partner who supports longevity, has experience in the field, and is willing to innovate to keep up with the pace of change. As technology changes, so does innovation. Health systems have to juggle new guidelines, changing patient expectations, evolving priorities, and many other variables, and a good technology partner will be there every step of the way. Armentrout noted that it’s important to work with a partner who has “eyes for growth,” meaning the partner will have experience working with customers and end users to identify pain points, is comfortable exchanging ideas, plays nice with other vendors, and has throughput initiatives. With these traits, your partner will always be willing to tackle new issues that arise, creating a cycle of continuous improvement and growth.

A continuous improvement cycle is also deeply reliant on identifying pain points through deliberate listening. Bon Secours Mercy Health experienced nurse and provider dissatisfaction with desktop-based communication workflows and is now working with PerfectServe to do away with a setup that, according to end users, can sometimes inhibit a clinician’s ability to provide patient care. In particular, nurses felt tied to their computer and laptop screens and expressed how this limited their ability to flexibly communicate and provide bedside care. After identifying this pain point, Bon Secours Mercy Health worked closely with PerfectServe to roll out a Care Mobility program that puts smartphones in the hands of nurses. This mobile-first approach gives nurses the full power of PerfectServe at their fingertips no matter where they’re located, and the rollout is the product of a system and partner working together to continuously solve problems and improve the clinician experience.

mobile first approach

Armentrout said a good partner is one who is “willing to walk that innovation with us and continue to change as technology changes and as the organization changes.”

Know the Power of Consultative Deployments

PerfectServe has worked with clinicians, care teams, and healthcare systems for over two decades. During this time, we’ve learned what needs to be in the library of best practices for successful software implementations, and one of the most powerful tools from which a health system can benefit is a true consultative deployment. This was the case for Bon Secours Mercy Health, as consultative deployments allow for a firsthand and up-close look at pain points experienced by care team members. While implementing and deploying the Care Mobility program, providers, management, PerfectServe team members, and stakeholders participated in active bedside simulations. This allowed all parties to consult on what solutions were working, what issues or communication functions were causing delays, and where other features or functionality could be added or simplified. This collaborative effort makes deployment smoother and surfaces real-time issues that need to be addressed.

Bon Secours Mercy Health had a strategic plan built out for their Care Mobility program, and with a consultative deployment, PerfectServe was able to assign a team to the project to learn the ways of the system. Armentrout noted that pushback from both parties during a consultative deployment is also a part of best practices, as pushback strengthens the necessary program components and highlights what functionalities are most critical for success. These practices all work in tandem to facilitate a solution deployment that will ultimately make the experience better for clinicians, as pain points will already have been diagnosed, discussed, and rectified.

Critical functions

“[Bon Secours Mercy Health] has structured ourselves to be more of a shared service that is interested in standardizing across the ministry,” Armentrout said. “If we have to work with separate teams on every implementation, it’s reliving and then reinforcing, and we’re bound to get off track. Having that one team that is, oftentimes, coming to tell us, ‘this is where somebody else wants to get off track,’ then we can follow up with that. It’s been great working with a single team like PerfectServe.”

Decrease Variance in Software Use with Governance

Another best practice in successful software deployment is the use of governance and strategic policies. Armentrout and Conklin agreed that governance and other policies should be discussed regularly in work groups and oversight committees to advance initiatives. At Bon Secours Mercy Health, governance is an important part of establishing standards for different jobs within the health system. Having key stakeholders in the room where decisions are made drastically improves the flow and implementation cadence of software deployments, which ultimately moves the system toward the goal of better clinician experiences.

Governance is essential to addressing key issues and expectations during software development and deployment. The PerfectServe and Bon Secours Mercy Health teams were able to use governance strategies to address policies related to the Care Mobility program, including expected time frames for communication functionalities, compliance measures for communication response times, and more. Governance strategies should also take note of insight from the end user, who will help to drive innovation if they’re invited to participate in policy creation.

Governance strategies

“What we find to be most successful in all of our implementations—and then supporting our customers afterward—is having a multidisciplinary approach,” said Conklin. “This happens when everybody who is going to be impacted has a seat at the table to make those decisions on what gets implemented, how it gets implemented, who is going to be mandated to use the platform, how those communications are going to flow, and how things are going to work, day-to-day, within the organization.”

Identify Opportunities to Consolidate the Tech Stack

Reducing the number of applications a provider needs to log in and out of is another way to improve the clinician experience. Many healthcare organizations have an overwhelming number of technology applications to manage, forcing members of the care team to use a variety of systems to communicate and otherwise do their jobs. A project team from the right vendor will put themselves into clinicians’ shoes to understand where communication is lacking and how inefficiencies related to siloed, ineffective technology are contributing to burnout.

Project Team

During a software deployment, look for ways to reduce an organization’s tech stack by asking the following questions:

  • How can this system integrate with key solutions already in use?
  • How will this solution be used differently than existing solutions?
  • Does this solution reduce our portfolio of applications and resources?
  • What functionalities can be added, removed, or combined to reduce clinician frustration?
  • How will this leverage the communication process inside of the EHR? Does it leverage this primary platform?

These questions almost invariably lead to answers that can shape what to integrate with, or replace, to improve operational efficiencies and reduce burnout, increase collaboration, and improve communication.

“The ability to get the right alert or communication to the nurse or patient care tech helps us reduce some redundant systems in the background,” Armentrout said. “That will have a huge impact for many within our organization.”

Remember the Keys to Success

Remembering these best practices for your next technology deployment is essential to enhancing the clinician experience. Here are some key takeaways:

  1. Partnership matters! Find the right partner for your system by choosing a flexible, innovative, and experienced vendor.
  2. Establish clear policies and instill ongoing governance to enforce.
  3. Prioritize—and be an active participant in—consultative deployments.
  4. Work with your vendor to establish a cycle of continuous improvement.
  5. Burnout is real! Bring provider needs and pain points to the forefront, and find ways to address these issues with your vendor partner.
  6. Listen to end users—they drive innovation.
  7. Having key stakeholders in the room when decisions are made is essential for policy and software decisions.

“When you’re selecting a vendor, look for someone who is in it for the long haul, has a keen eye on the future, involves end users, plays well with other vendors, and has a strategy to scale and for continual improvement,” said Eagles. “We know communication workflows can be really complex, and our goal as a vendor is to manage that complexity for you so that clinicians can focus on patient care.”

Want to learn more? Check out the 8-step process hospitals and health systems are using to upgrade their clinical communication strategy.

Medical Answering Services: After Hours Voicemail Menu Script

Medical Answering Services Voicemail Script

Do your patients tend to rush through phone prompts by selecting “urgent” for non-urgent matters, such as prescription refills?

When you plan what to say ahead of time for your medical answering service, you can easily route patients appropriately for any given situation—based on their needs and who’s on call that day.

Do These Situations Resonate?

After Hours Voicemail for Medical Offices Message Routing

What are After-Hours Medical Answering Services?

Also referred to as ‘after hours,’ medical answering services accept or handle patient calls outside of normal office hours, such as overnight or during the weekend. However, modern solutions can also be used during work hours when, for example, staff are busy and cannot come to the phone. With these solutions, establishing an accurate menu prompt that is easy to understand improves the patient experience for inbound patient and hospital calls, especially when your team isn’t immediately available.

Using HIPAA-compliant voicemail services versus general voicemail services is a best practice for healthcare organizations. In general, there are two kinds of medical answering services in the marketplace: live agents and voicemail greetings.

Live Agents

With this setup, an inbound call comes through to the medical office, and it’s routed to a call center with live agents. Typically, these agents are not medically trained to handle complex patient requests. On occasion, it’s possible that an agent without extensive medical training may not fully understand the patient’s needs, and a non-urgent call could get routed as an urgent call. They might even end up giving out the clinician’s personal contact information, even if they’re not on duty.

Another issue might be agents using an unprofessional tone. This creates a negative impression for the patient, perhaps leading them to rush to the Emergency Department or make other drastic choices. In some instances, the patient may even decide not to come back to your organization for future care needs.

Medically trained live agents are better equipped to handle inbound calls, but many of these answering services have variable costs that fluctuate based on number of calls and minutes logged. In this case, it’s also not guaranteed that agents will always be professional and empathetic. With medical staffing shortages nationwide, finding reputable live agents can be expensive with variable answering service levels and costs.

On a positive note, there are hybrid live agent options, where non-medically trained agents take simple notes, transcribe the data, and send the message via text to the medical office or doctor on call. With this setup, the trained medical professionals  can decide next steps and whether to call back immediately or during regular office hours.

Voicemail Menu Routing

With medical answering services like PerfectServe, guided prompts and other built-in workflows are used in concert with physician schedules to route calls accurately. Prompts can be given to clearly explain next steps to the caller. For example: “If this an emergency, hang up and dial 911.” Other common call prompts might include: “Press one if this is an urgent, non-life threatening manner. Press two for prescription refills. Press three to leave a message for Dr. Cervantes’ office.”

When you build an effective communication process for your medical practice, it saves time for both the physician and the patient. An optimized patient answering service educates patients on next steps and provides peace of mind that their message reached the right destination. If routed correctly, critical alerts and updates can be sent to the patient’s primary care physician or medical office specialist.

After-Hours Voicemail Templates for Medical Offices

We put together two examples of menu scripts that might work for your medical practice.

Basic Call-Flow Automation

Here is one standard voicemail template.

Note: These options are customizable. Especially for “Press 3,” you can change it to say “prescription refill requests are not handled by our office. Please contact your pharmacy for routine prescription refills.”

PerfectServe Medical Voicemail Call Tree Menu Prompt Example

Don’t have time to set this up yourself?

To have someone else build out a call flow for you, and to take full advantage of accurate routing based on physician schedules, book a discovery call with a PerfectServe specialist.

Customizable Voicemail Greeting Template

This is a text-style version you may use for your medical practice.

Step 1 – Thank you for calling [name of medical group office]. Our office hours are [time/day]. If this is a medical emergency, please hang up and dial 911. Otherwise, please stay on the line for further options.

Step 2 – If you are calling about a prescription refill, press one. If you would like [name of doctor/medical group office] to call you back regarding an urgent request, press two. For all other requests, press three.

Press 1 Selection: For prescription refills, please contact your pharmacy. If you have unique questions about your medication or it needs to be called in by [doctor/practitioner’s name], please leave your name, date of birth, and best callback number. Thank you.

Press 2 Selection: Please leave your full name, date of birth, and a callback number, along with a brief message of the issue you are experiencing. We will return your call as soon as possible. Thank you.

Press 3 Selection: If you are a physician or hospital, press one. Otherwise, please leave your name, number, and a brief message, and we will get back to you during regular office hours. Thank you.

Press 1 Sub Selection: Please leave your name, hospital name, reason for the call, and we will return your message as soon as possible. Thank you.

The good news is these templates may be customized and crafted to meet your unique practice needs.* So whether your specialty is nephrology, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, hematology, surgery, psychiatry, orthopedics, or others, giving your patients and other physicians a map to follow reduces confusion and alleviates administrative burdens. Your office staff can then decide how to respond during and after hours. 

*Note: With medical voicemail scripts or text messages, it’s important to stay HIPAA compliant and train your office staff with best practices. Implementing easy guidelines and policies for how you want to leave voicemails can help your practice avoid costly HIPAA violations.1 

Download These Free Voicemail Templates

An Urgent Message Doesn’t Have to be a Close Call

When a call comes in to your medical office, is the right provider alerted? What if it’s 9 PM on a Friday, and the patient needs to know whether or not they should go to the Emergency Department?

Planning ahead for these contingencies will save your medical office hours of time, and it ensures patient care is handled quickly and accurately.

Not a Traditional Medical Answering Service

With PerfectServe’s Dynamic Intelligent Routing®, you can set up call flows to accurately route to the best available practitioner on call. With a combination of voicemail and voice-to-text options, urgent patient requests don’t have to wait until Monday to hear from the on-call physician. PerfectServe syncs in real time with physician schedule changes so your patients and staff know who to contact and when.

Need a better voicemail option for your medical office? Book a discovery call to see how we can customize it for your needs.

1(2021, October 15). Head Off Costly HIPAA Violations for Patient Voicemail Errors. Healthcare Training Leader® Blog. https://healthcare.trainingleader.com/2021/10/hipaa-compliant-voicemails/

Leveraging Technology to Improve Health Equity

At a recent virtual event hosted by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), PerfectServe CEO Guillaume Castel appeared as a featured panelist in a health equity-focused discussion titled, “Innovations in and Implementation of Equity by Design.”1 The panel was organized to explore the different ways organizations around the country are working to change the status quo when it comes to health equity in the United States.

What is Health Equity?

Health equity is a broad topic, but the CDC offers the following explanation:

“Health equity is achieved when every person has the opportunity to ‘attain his or her full health potential’ and no one is ‘disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances.’ Health inequities are reflected in differences in length of life; quality of life; rates of disease, disability, and death; severity of disease; and access to treatment.”2

Technology companies like PerfectServe are perhaps not traditionally considered part of the “tip of the spear” when it comes to moving the needle on health inequalities. But in a world where care delivery and patient-to-provider interactions are increasingly facilitated by digital tools, and the makers of those tools count hundreds—even thousands—of healthcare organizations as customers, technology should be a central part of the discussion.

So, how does PerfectServe think about health equity, and what part do we play in advancing these efforts? Guillaume offered some useful insights during the panel discussion.

Learning from Stakeholders

When he spends time with PerfectServe’s customers, Guillaume says that they “tend to force me to focus on three things”:

  • Bringing joy back to caregivers: “It’s been hard for caregivers in the last few years, particularly since the beginning of the COVID crisis.”
  • Helping them strategize around how to retain caregivers: “The great resignation that is impacting all industries [has had a particularly] massive impact on the healthcare industry.”
  • Better patient engagement: “Helping them get smarter on engaging and connecting with patients more effectively, and helping them to do it the right way.”

Guillaume also highlights some of the troubling health inequalities PerfectServe has learned about through collaborative research efforts with partners:

  • “Over the last decade, infant mortality rates have been two to three times higher amongst the Black population in the United States.”
  • “In a study we did with one of our clients [located in] the Northeast, [we saw that] wait times [in the ER] are four times higher when English is not your first language.”
  • “[Healthcare] disparities and inequities cost our overall economy about $300 billion a year.”
  • “The average annual health expenditure is about $1,800 higher for food-insecure adults.”

This kind of feedback and insight is invaluable—it comes directly from people with firsthand experience about persistent challenges in the industry. It allows PerfectServe’s leadership team to design company strategy in a way that can alleviate some of these pain points and inequalities by equipping provider organizations with better technology.

“We’ve taken those things to heart,” says Guillaume. “We’ve spent a ton of time thinking about how we can build products that actually have an impact in these areas. And because we serve, primarily, the provider space, which are hospitals and physicians, […] it’s really forced us to think about ways to have an impact.”

Standardizing Patient Experience—Regardless of Location

Guillaume further notes that standards of care are not always uniform, even in multiple facilities within the same health system. 

“We’ve noticed that care is being provided very differently, depending on where the hospital is located,” he says. “We’ve spent a significant amount of time wiring processes [guided by our technology] to ensure that care is uniform, that people can expect the same level of attention, whether they’re being admitted in New Jersey or California.”

Equity in Healthcare Across the United States

At the root of this is facilitating effective care team communication and collaboration, which has been PerfectServe’s specialty for 25 years.

“We focus on building products that foster better coordination and engagement,” says Guillaume. “So, what does ‘coordination’ mean to us? It means that clinicians [in any setting] are going to communicate more naturally, that messages will get to the right person at the right time, that care is going to be more seamless, and that patients are going to have a better experience, regardless of who they are and where they’re coming from.”

Fostering Better Patient Access and Engagement

For many underserved populations in the United States, it’s simply not a common expectation that proper care will be readily available when it’s needed—the trust and positive experiences others can draw from are just not there. Guillaume sees two of PerfectServe’s solutions having an impact in this area.

“We’ve also [focused on] products that improve access for patients. What it means is that we’re going to build tools to optimize scheduling for clinicians so they know how to build their days most effectively,” says Guillaume. “And on the other side of the equation, that means we can optimize the patient scheduling aspect so that people can be seen more effectively. We know there’s a massive problem about believing in having access to the health system, and we know that underprivileged populations tend to be seen in the emergency room when they could probably adhere to a form of care that relies more on access to a primary care provider.”

Research has also suggested that more engaged patients tend to have better health outcomes. Along those lines, one of PerfectServe’s core products exists specifically to facilitate intuitive, multichannel, location-agnostic, and easy-to-access communications between provider and patient.[/vc_column_text]

Virtual Patient visits in Telehealth Better patient access to care
Issues in Healthcare Inequality and How to Improve Healthcare Equality

“We’ve also built tools to engage with patients where they’re not in the hospital, or in the care of a clinician. Increasingly, care is moving outside of the hospital,” says Guillaume. “For health system administrators, it’s paramount to stay engaged with the patients, regardless of where they are. And so we’ve got engagement tools that check on patients when they’re home, or just not in the hospital.”

And although most adults in the U.S. have smartphones at this point, it’s still the case that not all patients can or want to engage with providers using an app or patient portal that requires a login. “When we think about building good products to help our clients actually connect with their patient populations, we take that into account and make sure that there are ways to communicate with patients who aren’t going to download an app,” says Guillaume.

He further notes that the care team frequently includes the patient’s family and friends: “They often play a very important role in making sure [the patient] comes back for a health visit and adheres to their medications.” For that reason, PerfectServe’s patient engagement solutions were designed from the start to support text message, video, and phone interactions that can loop in family, friends, and even other caregivers as needed.

Who Builds the Products?

Within the healthcare system, bias doesn’t just exist among providers—it can also exist among the people who build the products they use every day. Because PerfectServe is part of the latter population, Guillaume points out that diversity is key to understanding blind spots.

“We believe that diversity amongst our ranks—whether they are engineers coding the products or strategy people thinking about what to build—matters. A bias in the engineering ranks leads to bad products. And so, we spend time thinking about who should be on the team, why they should be on the team, what their perspectives are, and what biases they may have. And we believe that healthy disagreement is good for that. For instance, a tool for a male surgeon in New York may look very different than a tool that is thought through for a nurse in Arkansas. And yet, we have to build tools that all clinicians can use effectively. So, we’re being very deliberate about thinking through all those areas.”

Finding the Right Balance

As the healthcare industry evolves—sometimes rapidly, sometimes not so much—Guillaume is constantly thinking about the ways in which PerfectServe’s technology can make health systems better and communities stronger to help bridge the health equity gaps that still exist in the United States. There are many levers to pull as part of these efforts, but by building tools that make it easier for clinicians to coordinate care while improving patient access and engagement, Guillaume believes PerfectServe will continue to have a major role to play.

But clinicians are ultimately the bedrock of care delivery, so in any discussion about health equity, it’s important to find the right balance between patient needs and provider wellbeing.

“At PerfectServe, we think about patients a lot, but I must admit to you that our clinicians are exhausted,” says Guillaume. “And we have to maintain a balance, when we think about new products and new solutions, between what is best for patient populations and what is most productive, most conducive to effectiveness for our clinicians. They’re burned out, they’re underappreciated, and I think they need better tools to [do their jobs].”

Thankfully, achieving health equity is not a zero sum game. PerfectServe remains committed to finding new ways to make the care delivery process better, safer, more accessible, and more satisfying for patients and providers alike.

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12022 ONC Virtual Annual Meeting. (2022, April 13). Innovations in and Implementation of Equity by Design. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). https://www.healthit.gov/news/events/2022-onc-virtual-annual-meeting

2CDC (2022, March 3). Health Equity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/healthequity/index.htm

Medical Practice Management Ideas for Physician-Owned Clinics

Frazzled Medical Practice Manager dealing with many requests

“33% of Medical Group Management leaders plan to automate patient communications in some way due to staffing shortages.”1

 

If you’re a physician or practice manager, you’re likely tasked with medical staff schedules, bills, and patient responses.

With Hippocractic determination, you may have set out to provide value for patients and make a difference in your community. But how can you manage all these administrative duties while treating patient conditions?

Implementing effective medical practice software may improve your patient outcomes. With employee shortages and urgent requests affecting speed to care, we put together a list of ideas you can implement today. Let’s take a look at a few medical practice examples that others have found useful for improved workflows.

Medical Practice Management Examples

Larger Medical Group Medical Practices

Larger medical group management needs have a few differences compared to smaller, physician-owned clinics. They typically include multiple specialists, a large clinical staff, medical partnerships, and offices scattered throughout a city, county, or region. 

For example, Mid-Atlantic Nephrology Associates (MANA) had eight office locations which served twelve hospitals in their metropolitan city. With multiple locations, managing on-call physician schedules and patient requests were a challenge. Inefficient communication resulted in providers being contacted at the wrong time. Shared logins and passwords became inaccessible due to security lockouts, and practitioners were unable to share secure images and messages to accurately treat patients.

The needs varied from communicating the latest power outage to who was on which dialysis unit, where, and when. The practice managers did not have full control over the schedules, and there was no way of knowing when a schedule was updated. They were unable to match who was on call when and at which location.

After getting everyone on a unified communication system, the nephrologists were able to see lab results right away. Group texts were sent to the whole care team and medical staff, so they knew what to expect in case of early closures or emergencies. To improve patient response times, all practice managers received a backup notification when a provider didn’t respond within 48 hours. In this way, patient messages were never missed.

By putting these medical practice communication systems in place, the providers didn’t have to worry about their schedules being disrupted while off the clock. The organization was able to get everyone on the same page. The practice managers had full control over the schedules again, allowing them to update on the fly while syncing to each location and provider.

Physician-Owned Clinics and Specialties

Building reliable systems for a small practice now can help you when it’s time to scale. Aside from medical billing and medical supply inventory, an optimized communication flow between providers and patients forms the backbone for a physician-owned clinic’s success. 

Smaller medical practices often use medical answering services to inform patients and other specialties of holiday hours, weekly office times, and who to contact for which request. Much like the large group practice example, yet with fewer locations and reduced staff size. 

For example, one medical clinic needed to let patients know their Monday through Friday hours, lunch break from 12-1 PM, and who was on call for the weekend. They needed a way to check messages and follow up without the doctor being paged for non-urgent matters. For inpatient and outpatient critical lab results, physicians needed to access that information quickly and get notified about it.

After implementing custom voicemail prompts for inpatient and outpatient labs, office hours, and urgent versus non-urgent requests, patient callbacks improved. Timely messages were routed to the right on-call specialist. The office manager was able to login to the system each day through a secure app or web browser to verify and track messages. Any edits to the schedule went into effect immediately with their specific medical communication software.

Medical Practice Management Ideas

Effective and updated communication is instrumental for operating a medical clinic or group practice. You can have one provider and two part-time staff all the way up to and beyond 100+ physicians, nurses, medical assistants, and locations. Large or small, you may share these medical practice communication strategies with your medical team and administrative decision-makers, and see if it leads to positive outcomes.

Fundamental Medical Practice Management Thoughts

Consider who your frequent patients are versus one-time patients. What does the patient journey look like? Are there ways to enhance your process and decrease human error, such as billing needs, messages, and phone calls? 

From before check-in all the way to post-acute follow ups and pharmacy prescriptions, reminding patients, and communicating with them along the way alleviates confusion. Establish a clinical workflow plan for responding to patients, inquiries from other specialities, and care team members. Let’s take a look at a few ideas for implementing these practice management strategies.

Custom Medical Answering Service Software for Medical Practices

Use a custom voicemail message related to your type of medical specialty. Setting up automated calls and notifications can reduce nurse and physician administrative burdens, allowing them to effectively receive updates, read patient charts, and respond appropriately.

A few medical specialty examples:

  • An obstetrics and gynecology clinic may need to include call flow questions related to the number of weeks pregnant, patient’s doctor, and a reason for the call.
  • A nephrology clinic may need to ask about BUN, creatinine, and potassium levels before routing the call to the right provider. This allows time for the physician or nurse practitioner to pull up the patient’s chart or other remote patient monitoring stats.
  • A surgery center may need to route a call based on the patient’s surgeon, patient location, and reason for the call, such as post-acute treatment instructions. They may need to provide message prompts for an attending anesthesiologist schedule.

Providing patients and additional providers with clearly defined instructions ensures the message gets to the right person. Taking time to set up communication flows correctly can save medical practices hours of time later.

Applying Telehealth Solutions in Medical Practice Management

Does using a video telehealth visit mean I offer free medical advice? Not if you’re helping patients. Traditionally, clinics could only bill for in-person visits. The COVID-19 pandemic thrust virtual services into the forefront, changing how the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule works via telehealth.2 For billable hours and unique codes, check the most recent CMS policies regarding virtual services.

“Telehealth services can be provided to new and established patients via smartphone if the smartphone allows for audio-video interaction between the physician and patient.”3

With secure telehealth messaging, family medicine practitioners and other medical specialties can utilize video appointments for patient follow-ups. Video technologies may be used by the whole care team, and a primary care doctor and surgeon could hop on a simple video call to discuss their patient’s next steps. For a clinical psychologist or behavioral health center, this could be an effective way to form alignment between a therapist and physician.

Secure Medical Text Reminders

How do you handle patient no-shows? What if patients are ignoring your phone calls and not logging into their portal? Perhaps patients frequently call the office for non-urgent matters or office hour information—all of which could easily be automated. 91.1% of patients surveyed in one study mentioned secure medical text updates helped them avoid calling the office.

Image of Secure Medical Text phones sending messages

What kinds of texts are best to send?

For medical practice management, here are a few suggestions:

  • Appointment reminders including day and time of appointment.
  • Virtual check-in reminders before arriving at the medical office.
  • Quick ad hoc video visits as part of a patient follow-up session.
  • Reminder to login through the organization’s portal for the detailed physician notes or AVS (After Visit Summary).
  • Prescription refill reminders.
  • Group texts to medical staff for updated closures or emergencies.

Using a patient text solution, Ridgeview Rehab Specialties was able to reduce its no-show rate by 12.6%, generating an average of $175 per visit.4 This is one example of how streamlining medical practice communication can improve patient care outcomes and reduce hefty administrative costs. 

Need more ideas? Take a few minutes to read through these customer success stories. It might be the next step in your journey to effective medical practice management. 

1MGMA Staff Members. (2022, March 23). Outsourcing, automation may provide help to short-staffed practices. Medical Group Management Association. https://www.mgma.com/resources/resources/operations-management/outsourcing,-automation-may-provide-help-to-short

2CMS (2022). List of Telehealth Services. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-General-Information/Telehealth/Telehealth-Codes

3AAFP (2022). Coding Scenario: Coding for Telehealth Visits. American Academy of Family Physicians. https://www.aafp.org/family-physician/patient-care/current-hot-topics/recent-outbreaks/covid-19/covid-19-telehealth/coding-scenarios-during-covid-19/telehealth.html

4PerfectServe Success Stories. https://www.perfectserve.com/success-stories/ridgeview-rehab/

Improving patient satisfaction and care with better communication

With the rise of value-based care, patient health outcomes are more important than ever. Healthier patients make a significant contribution toward increased reimbursement rates, but health outcomes are only part of the equation—patient satisfaction matters, too.

But that’s often easier said than done. With declining patient loyalty and the advent of consumerization in healthcare, patient satisfaction is difficult to achieve. It means your organization must make every effort to earn and retain a reputation for quality care that builds patient trust.

Technology plays an important role in keeping patients satisfied with their care. Dated solutions or disjointed patient care experiences can send them searching for smoother, more accessible, and more modern interactions.

In 2019, Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS)—America’s premier academic medical center focused on musculoskeletal health—wanted to elevate patient outcomes and experiences by improving care team communication across the organization. To do this, they implemented PerfectServe’s enterprise Clinical Collaboration solution.

PerfectServe brought significant improvements to care delivery workflows while also reducing stress and frustration among care team members. Not surprisingly, better clinical communication, more efficient care delivery, and happier clinicians contributed to improved patient satisfaction.

In fact, Press Ganey survey results from the quarters before and after PerfectServe’s go-live showed increases in the following categories (on a 0-10 scale):

  •  “Hospital rating” increased by 2.3 points.
  • “Hospital recommend” increased by 0.9 points.
  • “Staff address emotional needs” increased by 1.2 points.
  • “Response to concerns” increased by 1.2 points.

Faster Clinical Response Times

Critical Lab Results

Before PerfectServe, HSS relied on a manual process for delivering critical lab results—the lab tech had to call the ordering provider and ask them to log in to Epic. Leaving a voice message was not permitted, as a live verbal exchange was required to satisfy HSS’s internal protocols.

But physicians’ hectic schedules and fluctuating workloads meant delays in this process were common. Precious time was lost, and the risk of patient harm increased.

But now, once a critical result is verified, PerfectServe automatically delivers an alert to the appropriate provider using its proprietary Dynamic Intelligent Routing® technology. With all relevant information and patient context in the message, the provider can acknowledge and act upon the message right from their PerfectServe inbox—no phones, no callbacks, no delays.

After implementation, HSS looked at 1,100 critical lab alerts and noted an average 42% improvement in acknowledgment times. The quickest turnaround—from verification in the Laboratory Information System to provider acknowledgment—was just seven seconds. That’s less time than it takes just to dial a provider’s phone number.

PerfectServe also tracks when each result is received, read, and either accepted or declined by the recipient. Accepting closes the loop, while declining sends a message back to the lab for follow-up. Messages that are unacknowledged after six minutes are automatically escalated to the next provider in line.

Specialty Consult Requests

HSS also relies on PerfectServe’s Dynamic Intelligent Routing to automatically direct requests for neurology and stroke protocol consults. Regardless of who’s on-call or what kind of schedule changes have happened at the last minute, the right provider receives the request almost instantly.

Since implementation, PerfectServe has helped contact preoperative medical doctors over 8,000 times, with 80% of urgent messages read in less than five minutes. Similarly, HSS’s neurology department has received over 500 consult requests, with 85% retrieved in five minutes or less.

Sepsis Notifications

HSS uses PerfectServe to send out sepsis alerts using a two-part workflow:

  • The nurse alerts a physician assistant (PA) about a possible case. Then, if necessary, the PA alerts the responsible physicians (Modified Early Warning Score [MEWS] and Pediatric Early Warning Signs [PEWS]).
  • If needed, an alert is sent to the Sepsis Response Team and automatically escalated every minute until a doctor responds.

Since going live, nearly 700 messages have gone out to the MEWS and PEWS groups, and only nine of those have been further escalated to the Sepsis Response Team. PerfectServe’s ability to quickly and preemptively initiate the MEWS and PEWS teams is largely credited for keeping the sepsis alert number low.

Rapid Response Teams

Additionally, PerfectServe reduced HSS’s rapid response wait times to less than two minutes. These are scenarios when a patient’s clinical condition may be worsening dramatically, so fast intervention is critical. A review of the “signal one” alerts (similar to code blue) determined that PerfectServe reduced the median response time from two and half minutes to just 40 seconds— an improvement of 73%.

Staff Response Times

Additional analysis found that PerfectServe enabled HSS PAs to read 96% of initiated conversations from the PACU and inpatient floors in under 15 minutes. These were part of 8,000-10,000 monthly conversations where the average response time was less than 3.5 minutes.

These efficiency gains freed clinicians’ time and contributed to HSS’s improved Press Ganey survey results. Scores for both the “Response to concerns” and “Staff address emotional needs” categories rose by 1.2 points on a 10-point scale.

Reducing Readmissions

Because PerfectServe also provides HSS with a system-wide answering service, covering roughly 175 clinics, all the organization’s clinics have a built-in workflow for post-operative patients.

When one of these patients calls an HSS clinic, PerfectServe enables an immediate connection to a clinical nurse practitioner with the press of a button. Regardless of the reason for the call or the level of urgency, giving post-operative patients quick and easy access to a provider is a key part of care plan adherence and avoiding potential problems.

Better Communication, Better Care

Reducing obstacles that impede fast, accurate communication can go a long way toward improving patient care and satisfaction. Manual, inefficient workflows have been around for so long that they can sometimes seem like the only option. But for every delayed communication cycle, misdirected consult request, or unactioned critical lab result, there are countless potential ramifications that can negatively impact patient outcomes.

Thankfully, technology exists today that can automate clinical workflows, remove error and confusion from the communication process, and ensure that care team members are free to focus on keeping patients happy and healthy. Isn’t that the way it should be?

Reach out to learn more about how PerfectServe can transform the way your organization cares for patients while making your clinicians’ lives significantly easier. You can also download the HSS case study to learn more about their experience with PerfectServe.

AnesthesiaGo: How Software Can Help Operating Room Scheduling

Healthcare is a noble profession, but as many will attest, clinicians still have to overcome far too many daily obstacles to do what they were trained to do—treat patients.

Eliminating these obstacles with smart technology has been PerfectServe’s remit for 25 years. To be sure, medicine will always require some level of human oversight, but when you can automate manual processes that cause delays and add frustration, you’re going to make clinicians very happy. 

Provider Scheduling has been doing this for years by automating the creation of provider schedules, and the newest solution to join the PerfectServe fold—AnesthesiaGo, which auto-generates daily OR case schedules—is cut from the same cloth.

Disrupting the Operating Room Case Scheduling Process

When AnesthesiaGo’s founder, a practicing anesthesiologist by the name of Dr. Mike Bronson, was unexpectedly given the responsibility of building daily OR case schedules for his group, he came face to face with a vital process that was in desperate need of a revamp.

Image of Dr. Mike Bronson

This responsibility is usually given to a senior anesthesiologist, and it’s normal to find them building the next day’s schedule in the late afternoon or early evening—after they’ve dispensed with their clinical duties. Depending on the size of the group, it can take anywhere from 45 minutes to a few hours to finish this process. After the schedule is sent out, it’s also inevitable that the creator receives texts, phone calls, and emails requesting revisions.

Taking on this kind of tedious task after finishing a day of procedures is, to say the least, not ideal. And that’s why Dr. Bronson was convinced he could do it better with technology.

With help from a friend who had deep experience in the fields of data analytics, advanced algorithms, and UI/UX designs, Dr. Bronson spent four months studying past data and figuring out different ways of scheduling. The next ten months were spent building the basic solution infrastructure, laying a foundation for the algorithms, and then optimizing said algorithms.

Image of clocks and provider schedules

Case Scheduling with AnesthesiaGo

The solution born from all of this work, AnesthesiaGo, has four main goals:

  • Be Faster: Save hours (or even days) each week by cutting time required for schedule creation.
  • Use Automation: Leverage technology to reduce administrative burden.
  • Reduce Human Error: Minimize double-bookings, scheduling someone at a location for which they’re not credentialed, not leaving enough time for travel between locations, etc.
  • Improve Efficiency: Find a better way to create daily case schedules.

To put it simply, AnesthesiaGo aligns the best anesthesia provider to the best case schedule, promotes efficiencies and transparency for all surgical staff, and helps prevent delayed or canceled cases associated with less optimal—but still very common—manual scheduling methods.

12 Minutes to deliver care

The proof is in the pudding, too. AnesthesiaGo customers can now auto-generate and deliver a daily case schedule in just 12 minutes on average, which is down by 44 minutes versus traditional manual scheduling methods. That’s almost an 80% improvement!

And taking it a step further, AnesthesiaGo also leans heavily into provider wellness by supporting the concept of teaming (sometimes called “best matches”). For a variety of reasons, it’s common for anesthesiologists and surgeons to have well-defined preferences about who they work with during a procedure, and AnesthesiaGo will pair these optimal teams as frequently as possible. It sounds pretty simple on its face, but by including this functionality, AnesthesiaGo helps to improve provider satisfaction and wellness while facilitating continuity of care.

Anesthesiologist and Medical Providers with a Checkmark

In an interview with AIMed, Dr. Bronson noted that anesthesiologists often deal with life-threatening, traumatic events. But despite the high stakes of their clinical duties, “the most stressful part [of our jobs] is not about saving lives, but handling the paperwork that needs to be completed in the shortest possible time.”

AnesthesiaGo can make that stressful paperwork a thing of the past. Learn more about our Case Scheduling for Anesthesia Staff, or fill out the form below if you’d like a member of our team to contact you for a demo.

How to Improve Medical Response Times for Nurses

We sat down with three PerfectServe nurse leaders to understand more about the heart of a nurse and how they can improve workflows in both acute and post-acute care settings. Watch the interview below on your next 20-minute break.

Read more about nurses communication and collaboration daily needs.

Recognizing the Heart and Role of Nurses

Did you know cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death among women in the United States?1 To raise awareness about this epidemic, the American Heart Association recognizes women’s cardiovascular health every year in February. Women account for 85% of the nursing workforce and as much as 90% in other healthcare occupations, such as medical assistants, nurse midwives, and speech pathologists.2

One of the core principles—you might even call it the heart—of the nursing profession is having the compassion to care for others. But who is taking care of nurses to reduce the stresses and strains associated with their work? They’re the backbone of the care team, and they’re in need of tools that allow them to provide care as efficiently and effectively as possible. 

When caring for a critically ill patient, being able to quickly and easily send a message to the right care team member may relieve elements of the daily exhaustion nurses face. There are two effective ways to facilitate this: (1) having an accurate real-time on-call schedule and (2) integrating a secure text messaging system that reduces the number of steps to communicate with providers and patient family members.[/vc_column_text]

I think it’s about taking barriers out of the way for our clinicians and our nurses and the entire care team to do what needs to be done, you know, with a limited amount of time, we have to break down barriers and make things easier.

-Annie McCoy, Enterprise Account Executive

 

Improve Medical Response Times with an Accurate, On-Call Schedule

A nurse’s time is far too valuable to be spent on looking for an up-to-date physician on-call schedule at the nurses’ station. Imagine a nurse flipping through a morning schedule (that has since changed) dangling from the wall. She takes several minutes to look up how a provider wants to be contacted at that particular time of day, further delaying response times and treatment for a patient. Later, the nurse finds out the provider she paged is no longer on call, and now she has to page someone else, first by repeating the manual process of looking up schedules.

In the meantime, the patient’s symptoms are worsening, the patient’s family is becoming increasingly anxious, and the nurse is fatigued—juggling the patient’s needs and the family’s concern while tracking down the right provider is a delicate dance. To put it simply, it’s exhausting when you don’t have tools that seamlessly facilitate the most basic—but still important—elements of your job.

To ensure timely patient care and protect clinicians from burnout, it’s important to have an accessible, dynamically updated on-call schedule that can be tightly integrated with your organization’s secure messaging solution. This simplifies the process to initiate communication between nurses and providers.

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Time saving is both in acute and the ambulatory space. Who was on call? Who was covering that unit? It can be a web that is very difficult to untangle. Where we need to be headed is more engagement into the patient and family member. How do we take a congestive heart failure patient?…They need to see these details beyond the acute and ambulatory side of things.

-Kelly Conklin, Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer

 

Helping Nurses by Using a Secure Text Messaging Solution

Many technologies, like pagers and walkie talkies, can be tedious, unreliable, and not well-designed with clinicians in mind. For nurses, minutes matter, and all of these seemingly minor inconveniences and delays can add up fast. This increases stress on a nurse’s heart, as well as the heart of their patients.

Heart Issues in the Emergency Department (ED)

Consider STEMI: the primary focus of care is to restore blood supply to the heart as quickly as possible. If nurses can expedite notifications and coordination of care, the better outcomes the patient will have and a higher likelihood for survival.

Several steps are required to manage patients with STEMIs, and a variety of care team members need to be notified along the way. 

For example, the EMS notifies the ED charge nurse of an incoming patient with chest pain. An ED provider needs to be assigned to care for the patient. An ED nurse is needed to prepare for the patient’s arrival. An ED Tech is needed to perform the ECG, and patient registration needs to register the patient. Pending the results of the ECG and laboratory studies, further communication is needed to activate the cath lab team and the on-call cardiologist to re-oxygenate the heart as quickly as possible.

All of these steps require the ED charge nurse to maximize coordination and notifications to the appropriate team members to ensure the patient receives timely care. A secure messaging platform integrated with the on-call schedule expedites the process of notification to the ED team, cath lab, and cardiologist during these critical events.

Additionally, when EMS uses a secure messaging platform integrated with the on-call schedules, this supports communication of a STEMI diagnosis and preactivation of the cardiac cath lab team while en route to the hospital. The results of the ECGs can be shared with the ED provider or cardiologists to confirm findings. 

This direct communication determines if the patient is eligible to bypass the ED and be transported directly to the cardiac cath lab. Bypassing the ED not only reduces the burden on already strained ED resources, but saves the patient time that is needed to reperfuse their cardiac tissue, improving outcomes, and decreasing mortality.

They have a tool that can mimic the technology in their day-to-day lives. It takes up to 10 years to catch up to technology in healthcare. Real-time technology helps nurses. The last implementation feedback: “This is so easy.” They can just pick up this device, communicate in real-time, at their fingertips. It’s amazing to hear. They don’t like to hear, “Not another technology you’re making me learn again.”

-Michelle Hamland, Senior Clinical Consultant

 

Give a Nurse’s Heart a Break: Strengthen Their Workflow

At PerfectServe, we’ve spent 25 years improving patient care by listening to the nurses and doctors that perform patient care. Time-sensitive emergencies, such as STEMIs, require quick decisions. Nurses equipped with efficient communication technology and scheduling solutions reduce common barriers in their everyday workflows.

For more information, read how other hospitals have used automated, real-time communication to decrease rapid response times and improve communication workflows for nurses and clinicians.

1American Heart Association. The Facts About Women and Heart Disease. https://www.goredforwomen.org/en/about-heart-disease-in-women/facts

2Cheesman Day, C., Christnacht, C. (2019, August 14). Women Hold 76% of All Health Care Jobs, Gaining in Higher-Paying Occupations. The United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2019/08/your-health-care-in-womens-hands.html

Healthcare Trends in 2022: Top 6 Needs to Consider for Medical Groups

The pandemic has accelerated some of the healthcare trends that were on the rise before 2020. In our interview with Dr. Rodrigo Martínez, practicing otolaryngologist and Chief Medical Officer with PerfectServe, and Matt Kothe, Manager of Corporate Communications, they unpack the six factors healthcare organizations need to understand for their staff and patients.

Read below for a deeper explanation of these trends and needs expressed in the interview with Dr. Martínez.

Digital Transformation Management

Digital tools allow individuals to send messages through methods like HIPAA-compliant secure messaging. Whether it’s between clinicians, or to patients and family members, it’s crucial to implement a controlled workflow for this communication. Without digital management in your healthcare system, you run the risk of potentially overwhelming clinicians, which is less than ideal given observed burnout levels across the industry.

When a patient takes time to log into a portal and send a message, not getting a timely response can dissuade them from trying to engage with their healthcare provider in the future. If that patient includes important medical information and nothing is being done, it can have devastating consequences.

Here are a few questions an organization can ask when setting up new technologies:

  • Is someone sending a message to someone else? 
  • If yes, who is it going to, and who is responding? 
  • Does the current workflow include the appropriate recipient?

Developing basic workflow hygiene will help, especially when the communication involves time-sensitive medical issues. 

Adapt to Competitors

With consumer behaviors evolving, the ability to create a better patient experience is key to the success of your organization. Competitors like large retail pharmacies now offer on-site healthcare services, with customized, easy reminders and interfaces for patients. They are leveraging technology to provide all-encompassing healthcare services—a push health systems can no longer ignore.

A few examples:

  • CVS Pharmacies now have the ability to schedule appointments and exchange information online, in addition to having a pharmacy on site. CVS offers services for their walk-in patients called the MinuteClinic®, which provides care similar to a primary provider for things like skin conditions, minor illnesses, and wellness check-ups.
  • Walgreens started offering similar walk-in services at their Community Clinic in 2017, treating chronic conditions and patients 12 months and older.
  • One Medical is also leveraging technology to provide a more all-encompassing healthcare approach and currently offers options in major cities across the U.S.

Interoperability

Sharing critical information with competitors hasn’t been in the best interests of many companies. Instead, the burden of moving or transmitting medical records from one format or location to another often falls to clinicians, nurses, and even the patients themselves.

In non-clinical settings, it’s possible to send an SMS message using multiple tools, but the problem is you cannot typically send messages between these tools. Exchange standards have not been established, and connecting these disparate tools is challenging. Even so, progress has still been made between a few EHR vendors, which use technology that functions as an intermediary.

True interoperability with “one app to rule them all” is not a reality at the moment, but it’s still the “holy grail” of healthcare technology needs. Not enough tools are robust or extensive enough to handle the complexities of modern healthcare. However, solutions are underway to build integrations and other interoperability workflows, such as PerfectServe’s simple one-tap messaging features.

Address Provider Wellness and Burnout

There is no silver bullet for improving clinician wellness by addressing burnout. Pre-pandemic burnout influences are certainly different from the ones experienced post-pandemic. In the initial phase of the pandemic, even with the overwhelming number of sick patients, clinicians and providers rose to the challenge, thinking, “Okay, this is what I’ve trained for all of my life.”

But, the simple truth is that sustaining an emergency state can tire and negatively impact humans in a very profound way. It creates unendurable situations where people are physically and emotionally drained. Adding to the challenge is the fact that a sizable portion of the population in the United States has not been vaccinated, which has created a bit of an “empathy gap” for some medical professionals who desperately need relief but continue to see avoidable COVID hospitalizations. When developing technology, it’s important to be sensitive to current circumstances so you can offset some of the more onerous inputs clinicians deal with every day.

Nursing Shortage

Nursing shortages affect all layers of healthcare. This trend has been on the radar for a while, but the COVID pandemic has exacerbated the problem as some nurses have left the profession entirely for a number of reasons. Further, if you’re a nurse or physician, you’re also a husband, wife, brother, sister, son, or daughter. If your loved ones get sick, you’re not able to serve patients at the same time. When you throw in additional patient surges, it makes the workload of those who remain more challenging, creating a snowball effect.

Empathy in Healthcare Technology

The people on the front lines of the pandemic have always been heroes, but their efforts have truly been herculean over the past few years. If we develop collaboration technology in these circumstances—which PerfectServe certainly does—we have to be proactive and responsive to current needs while using our product innovations to offset and redirect some of the administrative or logistical inputs that add to care team toil. Much of PerfectServe’s technology reduces these kind of burdens for health systems and their staff every day.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Invest in the Patient Experience

In the U.S., healthcare is not just the individual interactions between a patient and their physician, nurse practitioner, or other caregiver. It takes a team to provide optimal care for an individual patient. Examining how to facilitate and maintain these workflows efficiently needs to be at the forefront of patient care.

Healthcare Technology Solutions for Patients

When designing clinical collaboration solutions, healthcare software providers need to keep the patient experience in mind.

As people grow older and acquire chronic diseases, personalizing care will be important. We have the remote technology to reach patients outside clinic and hospital walls, yet it’s the application and collaboration of these tools that will make a difference in patient outcomes.

As more emphasis is placed on taking care of patients at a distance, the pandemic has forced us to move into the realm of what you might call “healthcare 2.0.” Some of these advances are long overdue, while others are just in the beginning stages.

The intelligent application of analytics and AI could help siphon through data to emphasize important things so the right people can take timely action, or automate the correct action. Using technology this way should ultimately lead to improved and more personalized care for all patients.

Asynchronous Healthcare Delivery

What comes to mind when you think of an ideal experience with a provider?

Whether it’s seeing your physician, having an interaction with a nurse in the hospital, or a visiting with a team of chronic disease care nurses, these consultations can happen face-to-face, by phone, or over a video call.

With technology, you can start collecting most of the information for better care ahead of time without having to wait for a live interaction, minimizing the need to fill paper forms on-site.

How does this help healthcare professionals and their patients?

Asynchronous Healthcare Delivery Outcomes

Asynchronous technology offers a new convenience for individuals who are comfortable revealing their information to the healthcare provider, feeling confident everything has been packaged correctly in written form. Many adults don’t seek in-person care because it can be inconvenient, taking hours to plan and get to a clinic. This technology creates more convenient methods for patients to seek quality care.

It allows access to healthcare for individuals whose schedule may not align with the provider at the moment of the live visit. This helps care team members in the prioritization process. Digital, asynchronous technology can allow one person to interact with many people, improving care outcomes for all of them.

Safe and Transparent Healthcare Communication

Technology helps medical providers gather a lot of patient information ahead of time, and it allows everything to be collected and then placed in a queue so a human can review it. A digital intake form is just one example, and sometimes patients are more comfortable writing down a message about their health condition versus talking about it during a face-to-face interaction. Sometimes patients prefer a phone call and don’t want to be seen on Zoom, or they’re perfectly happy writing out information for the physician to get back to them.

5 Ways Clinical Communication Technology Reduces Clinician Workload

A clinical collaboration platform can make it easier and quicker for physicians to coordinate care inside and outside the organization, giving physicians more time to focus on patients.  With increased demands for documentation, streamlined communication can help reduce click fatigue and better support physician work-life balance. Click on the image below to get the infographic!

Ready to see what PerfectServe can do for you?