Safe and Seamless Clinical Communication? It’s All in Good Planning.


This year's National Healthcare IT Week made for some excellent Twitter conversation for anyone interested in the future of clinical communications. Naturally, many threads pointed to the need to continue innovation, while weighing carefully ever-growing cybersecurity concerns.

It was especially fitting, then, that the Washington Post reported on a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report focused on the exponential growth of threats to health care information.

According to the report, 113 million electronic health records were breached in 2015—an astonishing leap over the 12.5 million breaches recorded the year before. Looking further back to 2009, the number of breaches or hacks was less than 135,000. Large group breaches—affecting records of 500 or more individuals—have also grown dramatically, from zero in 2009 to 56 last year.

And yet, mounting risk does not alter the fact that streamlined clinical communication has emerged as a key element of strong clinical care. Secure Electronic Health Records, amongst other healthcare IT solutions, allow practitioners to better coordinate their efforts and to share more accurate information between primary doctors, specialists, and other care providers. With a robust, integrated clinical communication system, they can transfer invaluable knowledge seamlessly and instantly to others all along the patient journey.

In addition to improving public health, strong technology solutions also benefit the bottom line. Previous GAO analysis found that poor care coordination can increase health care costs by $148 billion to $226 billion per year.

The best of both worlds: Planning for secure and seamless communication

The good news is there are great ways for healthcare IT teams to securely tap the manifold benefits of more robust clinical communications. What is key, as we have detailed in "A Better Care Environment Is Calling: The New Age of Clinical Communication" is to work collaboratively in building a thoughtful design and implementation roadmap.

With a multidisciplinary governance committee to ensure that all stakeholders are represented, and a rigorous look at value propositions and impact to critical workflow, healthcare leaders can prepare the technical infrastructure and train for clinical communications adoption. Also critical, they can also ensure an optimal balance between security and seamlessness.


November 3, 2016