Poor communication is costing hospitals

Dec 1, 2015 | Hospital Finance Efficiency

Poor communication not only wastes time, it's wasting a lot of money, too. A new study, conducted by the Virginia-based communications company Spok, found that poor communication is costing about $12 million a year for major healthcare organizations nationwide and $4 million annually for 500-bed hospitals. 

The study estimates that roughly a quarter of each hospital shift is dedicated to communication, and nearly half of that time is spent collaborating with other physicians, which takes away from time that could be spent caring for patients. These kinds of unnecessarily lengthy communications are negatively impacting quality of care. Spok's study says that hospitals can prevent this kind of waste by equipping their staff with the communication tools to achieve communication efficiency. The study emphasizes that while smartphones have improved workflow, but for maximum effect, they need to be used as a platform for other efforts such as up-to-date contact information and on-call schedules as well as secure message channels.

"Having the same information shared among the web directory, on-call scheduling, and operator console solutions has been seamless and communications are more efficient," Mac Stanford, director of biomedical/communication services at North Mississippi Medical Center, explained to Healthcare Finance.

Another study published in the Journal of Healthcare Management explained that inefficient communication can lead to delays and longer stays for patients. Using data from interviews with hospitals as well as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the study could attribute 53 percent of wasted cost to a patient's length of stay. According to the study, the four main areas affected by poor communications in hospitals are: the efficiency of resource utilization, the effectiveness of core operations, quality of work life, and service quality.

For more solutions on how to increase the financial efficiency of your healthcare organization, contact Professional Medical Services today.