Waiting for information delays population health efforts, survey finds

Although hospitals and health systems are engaged in efforts to improve population health, many face difficulties in communication, which inhibits care coordination.

Many physicians, nurses, case managers, hospital administrators and office managers feel that difficulty in obtaining a patient's medical records slow efforts to improve population health through care coordination. A survey commissioned by PerfectServe that included 955 healthcare professionals found that 98 percent of respondents felt improved communication with patients is required for improved population health managed, but only 25 percent of physicians strongly agreed that they can usually contact colleagues for collaboration or consults effectively, according to a news release.

Approximately 69 percent of clinicians felt patient care is often delayed while waiting for important information about the patient, and more than half said they didn't always know the correct care team member to contact in any given situation. Nearly half of physicians reported being frequently contacted erroneously when not caring for a particular patient, and 71 percent of responding physicians said they have wasted time trying to communicate with a broader care team, according to a news release.

Some of the hangups come from technological difficulties. Only 12 percent of physician respondents reported using an EHR to communicate with a broader care team, with 83 percent regularly using phones. Nearly one-third of medical professionals are dissatisfied with their current secure communication technology because either members of the community use different technologies that do not interoperate or not everyone has access to the secure communication device, according to the news release.

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