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Unified Communications Improves Patient Care

April 27, 2015 by

Imagine you're a doctor on a hospital floor. While you're on duty, it's your responsibility to provide top care to your patients. Unfortunately, that's not always possible with limited channels of communication. No matter the situation, medical professionals need to be reachable by patients and coworkers in order to provide the best care.

Promoting Health Care With Unified Communications

According to a survey conducted by Harris Polls, 29 percent of health care providers are unhappy with the communications services used within their hospitals. Part of the problem is that 68 percent of professionals in the area utilize different technology and 55 percent do not have access to secure communications. With this lack of consistency, it is impossible for the health care system to be completely unified.

"Policy makers, hospitals, and health systems are rightly focused on improving population health, but these survey results demonstrate a very real pain point that needs to be addressed before the industry will ever succeed in making that a reality," Jennifer DeBruler, M.D., medical director of Advocate Health Care's Contact Center, said in a press release. "Without unified communication across providers, boosting population health, and realizing the associated cost and care benefits, will be impossible."

Another issue is that not all doctors and nurses know the inner workings of their buildings. Approximately 52 percent don't know who to get in touch with in certain situations, and nearly half reported that they have been mistakenly contacted, according to the study. Unified communications offers new solutions for physicians and nurses to access contact information and presence awareness to know who is available for conferencing in specific departments. Health care professionals then have multiple methods for initiating contact, such as email, VoIP, or instant messaging.

EHRs Not Reaching All Audiences

In 2004, former U.S. President George W. Bush called for the transition to electronic health records to increase compatibility between medical providers. His Executive Order 13335 established the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, which still continues its attempt to implement EHR software in all medical offices and hospitals. However, the ONC's meaningful use program has not fully reached its potential, as EHRs are only used by 12 percent of health care providers to access information, according to the study. Nearly 69 percent of doctors also feel that patient care is put on the back burner while they wait for information.

Approximately 94 percent of nurses surveyed by Black Book Market Research don't believe communication has increased with the use of EHRs, Healthcare IT News reported. However, with UC solutions, contact between nurses, doctors, and patients can increase. Through the use of presence, instant messaging, audio, and video conferencing, health care professionals can reduce response times, errors, and patient handoffs. By providing more options for communication, discussion between everyone can increase dramatically, whether they're on or off site.

While the medical industry is mostly efficient in providing care, its communication between patients and health care professionals could be better. With UCaaS, accurate and increased communication can be provided for everyone.

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