How to Measure Inter-professional Collaboration in Healthcare
Many healthcare providers wrestle with communication challenges within their care teams. Such challenges can exacerbate thorny issues including physician burnout, alert fatigue, and poor patient experience. For hospital leaders who take the proactive step to implement new technology solutions to address this problem, the next question becomes how to measure success. When it comes to effective communication in healthcare, there are several metrics that healthcare leaders can track to gauge whether their programs are making a positive impact.
Below are four key metrics to consider when measuring interprofessional collaboration in healthcare:
- Patient referrals: When care teams are in close and frequent communication, providers should begin to see a rise of referrals within their healthcare system. Clinicians who are able to easily exchange in-context information such as lab results and patient notes through a secure portal can help to drive the instance of referrals and create a seamless experience for the entire care team.
- Patient engagement and experience: To understand how patients perceive their experience in the care setting, many health systems use the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS). Measuring findings from this survey and other patient engagement initiatives can help determine how effectively a communication initiative is working. When the care team is not closely aligned, patients notice, resulting in a negative perception of care. More than one survey respondent has said something along the lines of, “It was obvious the attending, cardiologist and nurse aren’t speaking because I got three different versions of why I am here.”
- Readmission rates: Hospitals are always focused on reducing readmission rates. While this can also be used as a metric for measuring effectiveness of communication between the patient and the provider, it can also serve as a metric for how well the care team, including clinicians, nurses, administrators, and revenue cycle staff, communicated with one another to provide optimal care and ensure the patient is well informed and prepared for discharge.
- ED throughput: Approximately 145 million patients a year receive care from emergency departments (ED). For hospitals, keeping the ED running smoothly without straining resources is a major priority. Long wait times, overcrowding, and unnecessary visits can lead to negative patient experiences and safety issues. Providers that invest in care coordination software should see improvements to ED throughput.
For hospital leaders looking to improve healthcare communication, ensuring proper and consistent evaluation is in place will help them to validate investments in collaboration technology and understand how well it is being adopted across the care team. Performance indicators such as those listed above must be tracked to ensure technology is implemented effectively and the full benefits of the solution are being realized, delivering sound return on investment, and ultimately improving the health systems’ bottom line.