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Demand clinical communication/EMR convergence to enable collaboration

Patient care has been demonstrated to improve when clinicians (doctors and nurses) openly, effectively and efficiently share information, discuss patient condition and treatments.  Paper charts were an obstacle to immediate and precise clinical discussion.  Meaningful Use initiatives have largely eliminated this obstacle.  Separate initiatives to facilitate proactively managed, effective staff communications (secure, workflow managed clinical texting and voice communications products) are readily available and deployed at many hospitals and larger clinics.  Enabling technologies are available and may even be in place today to take another step forward with clinical quality, convenience, efficiency and effectiveness.

It is time to encourage vendors to provide data hooks and workflow support to converge speech and text tools with Electronic Medical Records.  his move will provide medical and clinical support staff contextual information automation now routinely available to financial services and other industries’ call centers and consumers.

A nurse or physician should be able to initiate a clinical conversation with a colleague from anywhere in the electronic chart.  The conversation partner should receive the conversation on their smart device and be presented with clinical material being referenced by their conversation partner.  Control of chart presentation is shared, enabling examination of diagnostic reports, trended presentations, medication administration and other relevant patient data to facilitate a convenient, clear, technology enabled discussion that is supported by up to the minute patient information.

Communications technology convergence with patient data presentation will accelerate clinical satisfaction, support and adoption of charting tools and processes.  Intuitive ease of use will encourage clinician interactions and minimize, maybe even eliminate frustrations with patient data access and chart navigation.  In today’s practice, it is still likely that a nurse calling a physician to discuss a medication order change is likely to be asked to read relevant information back to help the doctor get oriented to a particular patient’s condition.  Imagine the convenience if the call is supported by a link taking the doctor to the patient’s record and the information in the record that is relevant to the question at hand?

This sort of clinician collaboration support would also facilitate collaboration with or treatment management by a remote medical staff.  The integration of Electronic Medical Records with clinical speech and text tools can provide an enabling foundation for broad tele-medicine partnerships between community and urban hospitals and medical staffs.  Second opinions, supervised delivery of more complex care locally, pre and post procedure patient care by a community hospital staff for local patients treated by an urban hospital team can all be facilitated by these services.

Synergy is the experience of 3+3=6 becoming 3×3=9.  EMRs x converged clinical communications capabilities = increased, precise, clear clinical collaboration, both inside a hospital and medical staff and with remote medical staff partners.

The opportunity to improve pace, cost, risk and outcomes of patient care cannot be underestimated.  We can take this step.  The pieces are largely in place.  EMRs are now broadly deployed and reliably in use. It is time to take another step to realize value from our investments.

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