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5 Tips to Improve Interdepartmental Hospital Communications

4 minute read - Posted by Daniel Wagstaff on Feb 15, 2019 6:00:00 AM

New developments in the healthcare industry are bringing hope to patients every day in terms of medical outcomes that are more successful now than they were in previous years. However, independent of the medical and technological advances that are making it possible, there are still aspects of patient care that need addressing. And unfortunately, sometimes it can even lead to patient death. Therefore, whether you manage a hospital or work in the healthcare industry, it should always be a priority to analyze all possible causes for which patient care is suffering in your institution.

A study conducted by Johns Hopkins shows that medical error is the third leading cause of deaths in the United States. Yet when patient care suffers in quality, most hospital administrators conduct their investigations with the medical act in mind, and often overlook some of the aspects that might influence how hospital professionals operate and engage with patients. The truth is that medical errors can occur due to a lot of reasons, improper hospital communication often being one of them.

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The Relationship Between Patient Care and Hospital Communications

Hospitals need to consider a wide array of aspects in order to provide quality patient care, a lot of which are often related to more than a medical procedure. In fact, one of the main dissatisfactions of patients when it comes to patient care and the way hospital professionals are engaging with them is related to communication. Precisely, related to the manner in which hospital professionals communicate with each other, and with the patients. Interdepartmental communication is one of the most important sectors of all hospital communications, as it links the medical team with the surgical department, the anesthesia team, and others.

Working together towards the wellbeing of the patient also means being able to share vital information at all times, thought efficient and full-featured channels. Miscommunicating during patient handoffs can lead to sever consequences, which is why today we are discussing ways to improve interdepartmental hospital communications. Modern technologies and communication strategies are providing a wide range of solutions for all industries, including healthcare, therefore it should not be difficult to find the one that works for your hospital.

How to Improve Interdepartmental Hospital Communications

It is projected that the revenue of United States hospitals will amount to around $1.29 billion by 2022. Yet hospitals need to use their revenues for investing in medical technologies and qualified professionals, which is why all hospital managers know the importance of cost-effective administrative solutions. When it comes to internal communications, the main aspect to you need to consider is choosing a solution custom-tailored to the needs of your institution and those of your employees.

1. Draft Proper Interdepartmental Communications Plans and Strategies

Before finding a solution that you can use for your hospital communications, you will need to draft in-depth plans and strategies that will cover all aspects of hospital requirements. This means covering aspects such as multi-channel communications, implementing templates, gathering feedback, automating administrative activities, and more.

Make sure you will train all hospital personnel based on your interdepartmental communication strategies, but also draft those strategies based on the feedback provided by both hospital professionals and patients.

2. Use a Mass Notification System

Regardless of the size of your hospital personnel, in order to accurately implement your communication strategies, you will need the help of a reliable, cost-effective, and comprehensive solution, such as a mass notification system. Sending real-time notifications is one of the most important features a hospital needs for its interdepartmental communications, as it facilities the travel of information between various department with swiftness and effectiveness.

A mass notification system will also allow to you collect and analyze data related to your interdepartmental communications strategies, thus being able to improve them in the future.

3. Implement a Common Language

Making sure that the members of all departments and teams understand each other is of utmost importance for all communication strategies. And even though in the case of a hospital it might seem that everyone needs to understand what someone from another department is speaking of, you need to keep in mind that in the of administrative processes, not all employees know how other departments are organized. Therefore, implementing a common language for those communications that are not of common knowledge to every will significantly help in the case of an emergency.

4. Create an Interdepartmental Communications Team

Once they have drafted strategies and implemented them with the help of a modern communication solution, most hospital administrators think it is not needed to update or improved them. Even though your strategies are functional in the beginning, it does not mean they will provide you with the same results all the time, as a hospital’s activity is diverse and challenging. Therefore, you need to have an interdepartmental communications team in place. The team will be in charge of amending procedures, strategies, and templates based on feedback and in-hospital experiences.

5. Use Technology to Simplify or Automate Formal Communication

When possible, formal communication such as management documents containing general information concerning all departments, or any other type of information that is not of urgent matter should be broadcasted as simple as possible. If that communication is ongoing, you can send it via an automated process. Reminders about training sessions, meetings, performance reviews, and other related communication are among the things you can automate. If you are using a full-featured mass notification system, you will be able to implement these processes with its help.

Improving interdepartmental hospital communications is an essential step towards providing patients with an increase in the quality of care they are receiving in your institution. It is also an important step in the direction of improving relationship with and between your employees. Make sure that you are always up-to-date not only with the situation of internal communications in your hospital, but also with industry innovations that might help you better your processes. Also, don’t neglect the role feedback has in providing you with insightful information. Collecting data from both patients and hospital professionals will help you be always aware of what is happening, and indicate possible solutions for any issues that might arise.

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