How Trinity Health ensures communication and continued learning among clinicians and physicians

While new health IT innovations have helped healthcare providers engage patients outside of the hospital's four walls, many providers still struggle with another type of communication: clinician-to-clinician.

In a webinar sponsored by Jive Software and presented by Becker's Hospital Review, Amy Castillo, senior learning consultant at Trinity Health, and Bill Klco, director of healthcare at Jive Software, discussed how Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health overcame fragmented internal communication to improve collaboration across its 93 hospital systems.

Trinity Health used Jive Software's communication solutions to provide clinicians with an interactive platform where they could share best practices, new research and other information with their peers.

Ms. Castillo detailed two specific ways the health system successfully used this platform to enhance clinician communication and collaboration.

1. Connecting providers across the continuum of care

One of Trinity Health's main challenges was streamlining communication across its dispersed staff. "We are quite a large and diverse system, so our challenges around communication and collaboration are significant, as you might imagine," Ms. Castillo explained. "Our biggest challenge is bringing our employed and our affiliated teams together."

In total, the health system boasts 5,300 employed physicians and 23,900 affiliated physicians across 22 states. Ms. Castillo said the health system needed to create a channel of communication between providers across the entire care continuum, including acute care, ambulatory care, home care, hospice care, rehabilitation and senior living facilities, alongside affiliated physicians' offices.

"We really were challenged in finding a way for our internal and external clinical colleagues to reach out to each other, to come together and share best practices," Ms. Castillo said. "Our affiliated providers don't always have an easy way to access our intranet, our shared drives or even things like our document management system."

Trinity Health's solution was to bring all providers — employed and affiliated — into a single digital workspace. Trinity Health built a central integrated care coordination online community on the Jive platform, which includes clinicians across the entire healthcare continuum. The platform also houses eight communities with designated specialties.

In these communities, specialty clinicians can share best practices or discuss questions specific to their specialty. "This kind of platform is really a place where people are doing work, so it's a lot of living, breathing content, as opposed to a bunch of static documents," Mr. Klco said.

Ms. Castillo noted executive leadership support was a central component of the Jive platform's success. She explained how one of the hospice and palliative care leaders at Trinity Health worked to drive clinicians to the Jive community.

"When people came to her and asked questions that the community could answer, she redirected them to Jive," Ms. Castillo explained.

Within the Jive platform, palliative care clinicians were able to find finalized documents and a place to collaborate without accessibility issues they experienced with traditional modes of communication, such as email.

"Instead of her being the hub, she redirected it back to the community," Ms. Castillo said.

2. Hosting virtual leadership summits

In the past, Trinity Health held annual two- to three-day leadership summits, which proved popular among clinicians for their educational and networking value. However, C-suite executives identified a need to continue this engagement throughout the course of the year and on a smaller budget.

To address this issue, Ms. Castillo and her team developed online leadership summits, during which clinical and industry leaders tune in virtually to discuss different healthcare topics. Trinity Health uses Jive to distribute interactive content, exercises and polls during the virtual events, along with engaging clinicians with discussion questions prior to the summits.

By offering five of its recent leadership summits virtually online, rather than physically in-person, Trinity Health saved $250,000 in 2016. Ms. Castillo said conducting the summits online enabled clinicians across the country to participate, leading to a 150 percent increase in attendees. Trinity Health continues to offer these events every other month, in addition to planning virtual summits for other programs.

"We're getting the knowledge, participation and engagement out to a much larger audience," Ms. Castillo said. "Sometimes, our clinicians and physicians couldn't get away for two to three days, but now they can join the learning event for an hour or two, and then get right back into the practice of their work."

One particularly successful virtual leadership summit focused on the health system's perinatal patient safety initiative. Eighty clinicians attended the previous in-person conference on this topic.

By switching to a one-day virtual summit, Trinity Health was able to increase the number of attendees to about 350 clinicians. It also enabled the health system to incorporate presentations from national experts and industry leaders, along with their internal clinicians. Based on positive results from last year's PPSI online summit, Ms. Castillo's team is currently planning another for 2017.

"From a learning perspective, this doesn't really fit people's common preconceptions about what learning is," Ms. Castillo said. "We're breaking the mold. Learning isn't just in a classroom. Learning is coming together and learning from each other every day, asking each other questions and answering them. It's not just a didactic experience."

Listen to the webinar recording here. View the webinar slides here.

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