Hospitals Need Secure Text Messaging-Plus to Support “Mobilized” Clinicians
Patient care happens in many settings other than hospitals, but now, in the era of COVID-19, even acute care is being forced outside the four walls of the hospital. Triage is being done in tents in parking lots; convention centers and other municipal facilities are being transformed into COVID care wards.
As healthcare providers adjust to new physical environments and constraints amidst the patient surge brought on by the current pandemic, the challenges clinicians face are not purely a function of the space they are working in. Health IT systems that lack interoperability, intuitiveness and speed also can be a significant problem. These shortcomings can hinder interprofessional collaboration at a time when consistent and reliable care team coordination is perhaps more vital than ever.
Obtaining ready access to patient information is not only a challenge between provider organizations with different EHR systems – the context in which “interoperability” typically is discussed – it also can be an issue for clinicians within a facility. Most EHRs are hardwired within the hospital, forcing clinicians to find an available workstation – on a cart, or at the nursing station, or in a patient room – in order to review or enter data into the patient record, or share information electronically with others on the care team.
Now that COVID-19 has pushed acute care beyond the walls of the hospital, and surge situations have created a need for more fluid and geographically dispersed care teams, the requirement for and value of access to EHRs from mobile devices, as well as instant messaging among care team members on phones and tablets, is undeniable. It is no longer just an option but rather a necessity for provider organizations to adopt HIPAA-compliant texting solutions (PHIPA-compliant in Canada) that give clinicians the ability to easily and securely communicate among physicians, nurses, and ancillary care team members, anywhere at any time.
Texting is one of the most useful and familiar communication tools of our time. By implementing HIPAA-compliant texting with embedded patient context, providers can exchange messages and patient records on their mobile devices, improving care team coordination and, in turn, creating better patient outcomes.
Secure texting is a start, and 100% critical, but the true value of secure texting lies in the integration of the messaging application and the EHR, so clinical content is easily incorporated into the message.
To learn more about HIPAA-compliant texting and other healthcare communications tools, read more here.