Solving the Top Healthcare Transfer Center Challenges


Though patient transfers are a common process in the course of patient care, healthcare transfer centers often encounter substantial communication and logistical challenges that hinder referring providers, operators, and receiving departments/facilities. These common challenges are caused by a variety of factors and can lead to negative outcomes like patient care delays, higher referral leakage, and lower provider satisfaction.

How do you combat these issues and empower both operators and referring physicians to see the transfer center as an intuitive point of contact that facilitates efficient care delivery? Let’s look deeper at some of the common transfer center challenges and ways to mitigate them.

Common Healthcare Transfer Center Issues

Legacy Systems Often Struggle
Outdated, on-prem operator console technology can be a major contributor to poor patient transfer operations. This is due in part to limited functionality—such as lack of support for integrations—and the often-convoluted processes that are implemented to work around it. But no matter the reason, outdated tech opens the door to operator queue buildup, long hold times for referring physicians, and delayed patient care. These are frustrating outcomes that can lead to an increase in referral leakage and revenue loss over time.

What’s the best way to avoid these problems? Invest in a modern operator console that supports a wide variety of integrations to streamline communication. An operator console should integrate with other key hospital systems that play a role in supporting or coordinating patient care and the people who provide it, including: 

  • On-call schedules
  • Clinical directories
  • Secure texting
  • EHR

Convoluted Workflows = Care Delays
Legacy operator consoles inhibit patient care with inefficient workflows that delay communication. If operators have to jump between multiple programs to manage call queues and reference directories, click fatigue, frustration, and errors are almost inevitable. The stress becomes even worse if operators are frequently met with outdated schedules, which makes it that much harder to find the right person to contact. All of this workflow confusion serves as an impediment to efficient transfers.

So, how can a health system address this issue? Invest in a modern operator console for the transfer center that simplifies communication workflows with an updated UX. With improved functionality, operators can: 

  • Access accurate, real-time provider schedules
  • Easily manage and track call queues
  • Give referring providers a much-improved call-in experience with shorter wait times
  • See the clinical directory, schedules, call queues, and more all in one place to limit click fatigue
  • Quickly send messages to the patient’s nurse, on-call physician, hospital unit clerk, or another member of the care team

Communication Gaps
Effective communication is vital for all patient care processes, and transfers are no exception. But legacy operator consoles often lack a unified communication platform capable of tracking message delivery. Uncertainty about message status leads to delays, higher abandonment rates, and discontent among referring providers, all of which open the door for a loss in transfer revenue. What’s more, if an audit is needed, communication trails are muddy at best. This kind of poor communication hygiene is too rudimentary to adequately support patient care operations in today’s healthcare environment.

What’s the best way to fix this common struggle? Invest in an operator console that empowers operators and care teams to collaborate within a unified communication ecosystem equipped with modern features. This solution should: 

  • Allow operators to monitor when messages have been delivered and read
  • Be accessible even during power outages, updates, and other emergencies
  • Boost operational efficiency by streamlining operator and care team communication
  • Improve bed allocation for incoming transfers 
  • Enable healthcare organizations to put the right teams and resources in place for inbound patients

Improving Hospital Transfers with Powerful Solutions

If you’re sensing a common theme with these challenges—namely, dated tech that makes real-time communication far too difficult in already complex transfer situations—you’re onto something. Everybody involved in patient transfers means well and understands the importance of expediting care, but when operators don’t have the right interface at their disposal, coordinating a transfer can easily become a manual, multi-step process that takes far too long and may or may not be successful in the end. Far too often, on-prem solutions don’t prioritize interoperability, and they often don’t have the modern features required to make transfers an efficient experience.

To get a deeper understanding of what causes these common transfer center hurdles, and to learn how modern technology can vastly improve the transfer process, download our guide for improving hospital transfers. You’ll get a free, easy-to-reference PDF that will help you on your path to making the transfer center a well-oiled machine.

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