89% of Healthcare Service Providers Still Use Fax Machines and 39% Use Pagers as per TigerConnect Survey

TigerConnect’s 2019 State of Healthcare Communications Report showed that dependence on decades-old, ineffective communications technology is adversely affecting patients and is further increasing healthcare costs.

TigerConnect’s report involved the participation of over 2,000 patients and 200 healthcare workers in a survey to evaluate the present condition of communications in healthcare and obtain information on areas with inefficient communication.

The results undoubtedly indicate the brokenness of communication in healthcare. 52% of healthcare companies are have disconnected communication that affects patients every day or a few times per week.

The report shows the majority of hospitals still heavily rely on 70s communications technology. 89% of hospitals continue to utilize faxes and 39% still use pagers in certain divisions, jobs, or even throughout the entire business. The world probably has advanced, yet healthcare has not, though healthcare is the sector that benefits the most from using mobile technology.

The HHS’ Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) is lobbying for the elimination of fax machines at the close of 2020 and want healthcare organizations to use safer, dependable, and effective communications techniques. Considering the numerous application of fax machines, that goal may be hard to accomplish.

There is considerable cost brought about by communication problems in healthcare. As per NCBI, over $4 million is lost each year by a 500-bed hospital because 70% of all medical error fatalities are due to inefficient communication and errors.

Healthcare employees definitely feel the communication problems when valuable time is wasted on combating inefficient communications systems. According to the report, 55% of healthcare companies think the healthcare industry is not up-to-date when it comes to communications technology, in contrast to other consumer sectors.

One of the major problems confronting healthcare professionals is the inability to contact members of the care team when needed. 39% of healthcare specialists said that communicating with more than one care group team members is hard. The problems in communicating immediately and effectively are creating work problems all through the care system. Quick communication is crucial for offering premium quality patient care and enhancements are done, although slowly. Secure messaging is currently the main method of communication in general for nurses (45%) and doctors (39%). Landlines are the primary way of communication for personnel outside hospitals (37%) and allied health experts (32%), though secure messaging platforms may be used by all groups anywhere.

Although there is a growing mobile labor force in healthcare, healthcare companies still rely heavily on landlines. People use landlines when there is no secure messaging available. Organizations likewise use landlines 25% of the time where secure messaging is available.

A lot of healthcare companies that have implemented secure messaging platforms to improve communication are unable to enjoy all of its benefits. Too often, secure messaging technology is applied in silos, with diverse groups utilizing varied techniques and tools to converse with one another. When not using secure messaging, for example when using the platform only by particular persons, communication is very problematic.

Patients feel communications problems. About 3/4 (74%) of surveyed patients who’d been in the hospital for two years, either getting treatment or seeing an immediate family, said the inefficient processes are frustrating.

The most typical complaints were

  • slow-moving discharge/transfer times (31%)
  • ED time with physicians (22%)
  • lengthy waiting room times (22%)
  • the capability to communicate with a physician (22%)
  • the amount of time required to get laboratory test results (15%).

A lot of these issues can be resolved by improving care team members’ communication.

The survey likewise showed that hospital employees have a tendency to underrate the degree of frustration felt by patients. The survey additionally revealed that clinical and non-clinical personnel are not in-line. Non-clinical employees underrate communication problems, and 68% of non-clinical employees probably won’t say communication disconnects are adversely affecting patients every day.

Communication issues were reported as causing

  • late discharges (50%)
  • delays in consultation (40%)
  • lengthy ED wait times (38%)
  • transport delays (33%)
  • slow inter-facility transfers (30%).

There is a 50% better chance of everyday communication disconnects adversely affecting patients when not using secure messaging.

TigerConnect has a number of recommendations regarding how to improve communication in healthcare:

  • Prioritize communication as a method
  • Concentrate on enhancing communication to relieve major bottlenecks
  • Incorporate communication platforms with EHRs to achieve the best value
  • Standardize communication throughout the organization
  • Clinical leadership must be included in designing a solution
  • Quit using patient websites to connect with patients and begin using patient messaging as an all-around communication strategy.

The survey gives important information about the status of communication in healthcare and evidently shows what needs to be improved. The full TigerConnect 2019 State of Communication in Healthcare Report is available free of charge on this link (registration required).