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How Healthcare Communications Tools Drive Efficiency

Close-up of nurse using mobile device in hospital room with patient in background

Patient safety, experience and outcomes always come first for care teams. But clinicians flooded by surging patient volumes are also under pressure to minimize the cost and maximize the value of every outcome—often while struggling with inefficient, disjointed healthcare communications systems that create significant barriers to quality patient care. 

Communications barriers in healthcare are a costly drag on the efficiency and quality of patient care. They result in thousands of preventable adverse events (AEs) every year, as well as poorer, less satisfying patient outcomes and billions in additional healthcare spending.1-5 

The risks and costs associated with these barriers are pervasive and profound: 

  • Patients who face these healthcare communications barriers are up to 3 times as likely to experience a preventable AE.1

  • Roughly a third of medical malpractice claims and lawsuits involve breakdowns in healthcare communications—costing the healthcare system $1.7 billion annually.2

  • 50-80% of sentinel events involve clinical communications failures.6

Inefficient communications also consume up to half of clinicians’ caregiving time. Nurses spend up to 6.3 hours per shift communicating with their care team, charting or waiting for critical patient information, instead of delivering direct care to their patients.7 Dissatisfied, underserved patients and their HCAHPS then inflict up to $462,000 in annual costs due to withheld reimbursements.8


Where to start 

Streamlining and reducing inefficiencies in care team communications provides a significant opportunity to enhance cost efficiency and elevate patient outcomes. Solving communications barriers in healthcare could improve both patient health and organizational performance, leading to an estimated 671,440 fewer preventable AE cases as well as an annual cost savings of $6.8 billion.1

Patchwork healthcare communications systems and technologies are among the most serious barriers that care teams contend with on every shift. Disjointed communications systems strain care teams’ ability to communicate effectively, share vital data in a timely and consistent way and cost-efficiently deliver care that both heals and satisfies patients. 

Breaking down these barriers starts by equipping care teams with technological solutions that simplify clinical communications and collaboration and that ensure a real-time flow of critical insights from the bedside, to the care team, and to their organizational leaders. These solutions can be a critical factor in empowering clinicians to cut through the complexity of each patient call so they can focus on delivering efficient, high-quality care. 


Selecting the right healthcare communications solutions

To overcome the communications barriers created by disjointed systems and technologies, care teams need solutions that ensure a steady flow of real-time patient data and timely clinical insights. Key features like these are vital to care teams’ ability to deliver smarter, faster and more cost-effective care.

  • Interoperability: Efficiency starts at the bedside, with care teams’ ability to swiftly and securely share crucial patient data with their care team. Care communications solutions like HillromTM Nurse Call and the Voalte® Mobile Solution streamline clinical workflows, centralize collaboration and simplify secure transmission of patient data to and from the EMR. Patient monitoring devices like Welch Allyn® Connex® vital signs monitors boost efficiency and reduce the potential for transcription errors by accelerating vitals sessions and wirelessly integrating them with more than 150 EMRs.9

  • Predictive analytics: Rapid data processing helps care teams stay ahead of patient care crises, and step in proactively to prevent costly complications. The HillromTM Nurse Call platform integrates enterprise reporting functionality that compiles and analyzes over 1,100 data points to provide actionable insight for enhancing patient safety and patient satisfaction.

  • Real-time insights: Care teams need the right information at the right time to deliver care with confidence. Mobile communications platforms send that crucial patient information straight to care teams’ smartphones, helping clinicians communicate more efficiently and accelerate their patients’ care.10-13

Empowered by features like these, care teams can keep their focus where it matters: on maximizing the efficiency and impact of the care they deliver. Breaking down communications barriers with solutions like these enhances the speed, safety and personalization of that care, and unlocks care team capacity to manage today’s ever-increasing patient volumes.9-16  


Ready to drive quality and efficiency across your care teams?

Let’s start by simplifying their care communications and equipping them with solutions that break down communications barriers in healthcare, and keep healthcare providers connected with their patients and each other at every step. Contact a Hillrom expert to explore the best approach for your care teams and organization. 


Explore more Hillrom clinical communications solutions

Complimentary eBook

5 Solutions for Simpler, Smarter Clinical Communications

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Solving Inefficiency in Clinical Communications

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1. Hurtig RR, Alper RM, Berkowitz B. The cost of not addressing the communication barriers faced by hospitalized patients. Perspect ASHA Spec Interest Groups. 2018;3(12):99–112. 

2. “Cost of communication failures in healthcare settings: 5 study findings.” Becker’s Hospital Review. Pub Feb 4, 2016. Retrieved Apr 2020.

3. Bartlett G et al. Impact of patient communication problems on the risk of preventable adverse events in acute care settings. CMAJ. Jun 2008;178(12):1555–1562.

4. Taran S. An examination of the factors contributing to poor communication outside the physician-patient sphere. Mcgill J Med. Jun 2011;13(1):86.

5. Sutcliffe KM et al. Communication failures: An insidious contributor to medical mishaps. Acad Med. Feb 2004.79(2):186-194.

6. Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare, November 21, 2017.

7. “Top 10 Clinical Communication Trends,” Voalte, May 2013.

8. Wheeler. Overview of the Hospital VBP Purchasing. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Page 37. Feb, 2015.

9. Going One Step Further for Patients and Nurses: Eliminating manual vitals signs documentation to prioritize value-added care. Welch Allyn.

10. Perna, G. “The mHealth Method to Communication in Central New Hampshire.” Healthcare Innovation. Pub Sep 13, 2013. Retrieved Apr 2020.

11. Kevin Spolini and Leigh Ann Ambrose (November 2016). Using a unified communication platform to improve clinical workflow. Session presented at VUE16, Sarasota, FL. 

12. Gallot-Reeves S. “Achieving an 82% ROI with smartphones.” Guest blog on Pub Feb 2015. Retrieved Mar 2020 from 

13. Hansen JE et al. Reducing Interdisciplinary Communication Failures Through Secure Text Messaging: A Quality Improvement Project. Pediatr Qual Saf. Feb 2018 6; 3(1): e053.

14. Hillrom Customer (Central). Nurse Call interview. 2016. Data on file.

15. Hillrom Customer Interview (GC) 2016. Data on File.

16. Hillrom 2019. Scotland Memorial Hospital improves safety and satisfaction with clinical communications platform solution 209858 rev 1. Data on file.