Dynamic presentations and panel discussions covered all the hot topics at the Healthcare Informatics HealthIT Summit in Philadelphia last month. Katherine Schneider, CEO of the Delaware Valley ACO, kicked it off with a keynote titled, “Patient engagement is not an app.” She hit the nail right on the head when she said essentially, the trick to patient engagement has nothing to do with technology, but is all about human beings interacting with human beings. That certainly is a different way to start a technology conference, but I think Katherine and the summit’s organizers are on to something.
In fact, I’d echo that sentiment and say, “Healthcare communication is not an app.” While smartphones may have been implemented initially as a way to send secure text messages within the hospital, today a comprehensive communication platform encompasses much more than a simple texting app. Clinical communication is now a critical part of the hospital infrastructure, and thus requires many people from multiple departments to work in concert.
The topic of healthcare governance as it pertains to clinical communication came up in the Health IT Summit panel discussion, “Modernizing and improving clinician-to-clinician communication.” Voalte Founder and CEO Trey Lauderdale sat on the panel with several other healthcare industry leaders, and their conversation shed light on how hospital leaders need to work together to ensure that rapid improvements in communication technology translate to a successful shift in the way caregivers communicate.
“From our Voalte Platform installations, we know that healthcare organizations shouldn’t underestimate the widespread impact of a clinical communication system,” Trey said. “You need IT involvement of course, plus the telecom team, networking and Wi-Fi experts, involvement from your security team in regards to PHI, nursing and clinical informatics leaders, and biomed for connecting to multiple devices. Deciding who ultimately ‘owns’ the clinical communication project is a difficult but important decision that will ensure continued support.”
The other panelists, as well as audience members, agreed that clinical communication is a critical component of the hospital’s infrastructure, and requires the involvement of people from many departments, plus input from physicians and nurses.
As panelist Emily Mallar, Director of Care Management at Cayuga Medical Center, said, “This is a team initiative. You need leadership support and IT support, but if you don’t have end user buy-in, it will be difficult to support them going forward.”
As healthcare becomes more and more reliant on technology for high-quality care, it’s important to remember that even the most powerful tools require input and support from many real human beings to be truly successful. In other words, it’s about the people, not about the technology.
Dennis Gallagher is VP of Business Development at Voalte.