How to Enhance Your Clinical Communications Improvement Project

Female clinician on phone

Undertaking a clinical communications improvement project within the healthcare system is a journey that holds the promise of profoundly impacting patient care. The stakes are high, with lives hanging in the balance. Your clinical communications solution isn't just another addition to your tech arsenal; it's a crucial asset that must seamlessly integrate into your facility's daily healthcare operations, driving patient safety and regulatory compliance without fail. 

Navigating the implementation process can be particularly demanding given the unique requirements of the healthcare landscape. Your clinical communications solution directly influences patient outcomes and must operate seamlessly 24/7, with minimal downtime. Moreover, it must adhere to stringent regulatory and security standards while seamlessly integrating with EHRs and other clinical applications, all within budget and on schedule. 

As the Chief Nursing Informatics Officer at symplr, I can tell you that selecting the right partner for your clinical communications project makes all the difference. One key element that sets symplr apart is our clinical focus—we were founded by clinicians, for clinicians. We understand the ins and outs of clinical workflows and don't just deploy technology for the sake of it; we integrate solutions that truly improve patient care and streamline operations. Our unique approach consolidates disparate communication tools into one unified solution. When clinicians hear a particular alert tone, for example, they know it's regarding emergent, high-priority communication, allowing them to respond more efficiently and effectively, ultimately enhancing patient care.

There are four key steps you can take throughout your clinical communications improvement project to significantly enhance outcomes and expedite your organization's journey to value realization.

Arrange for a thorough onsite review with key stakeholders

Though it’s not uncommon for solution partners to conduct an assessment as a first step before proposing a solution, the efficacy will directly influence the quality of the prescribed solution.  

With that in mind, we suggest replacing the regular whiteboard sessions in the boardroom with the following: 

  • Interviews with clinical applications system analysts to understand integration workflows and needs 
  • Interviews with technical resources to deep dive into the technical environment 
  • Interviews with clinical managers to understand key clinical workflows for real-time mobilization 
  • Clinical walkthroughs of units to review communication patterns with key clinical users 

These activities will help your solution partner uncover issues your organization may have yet to consider that a clinical communications platform could solve.

Ask for an overview of the clinical, technical, & financial ROI

Delivering value should be top-of-mind for any solution partner. And they will likely have a plan or framework in place to help you prove the value of your investment. But, as we’ve seen from the above, it helps to be thorough. 

This ask is best done during the proposal stage. Not only should your solution partner develop a plan to address the identified challenges and deliver the desired outcomes, they should also quantify the value of each activity from a clinical, technical, and financial perspective. 

How much value would reducing the time spent communicating and coordinating across the organization create? How much could the organization save if staff retention levels improved? What is the value of improving clinical workflow efficiencies to reduce patient length of stay? These are some of the key questions that need to be answered.  

If you’d like a preview of what to expect, our value calculator is a good place to start.

Rule out unwelcome surprises

Once your solution partner has demonstrated the value of its technology and how it can help your organization, proceed to align on the scope of the project and how success will be measured. 

Start by identifying major milestones to help monitor progress and ensure the project is on schedule. Include events such as kickoffs, meetings, and handoffs. Next, identify exclusions so that you’re clear on what is not included in the project scope. Delineating the boundaries of the project would help manage expectations and prevent scope creep. Lastly, create a risk management and contingency plan. Identify potential risks and impacts, as well as strategies for mitigation in the case of unforeseen challenges. 

Work with your solution partner to create a detailed go-live sequence. Ensure support teams are deployed alongside your project team to help clinicians adapt their workflows to changes in shifts, making sure to address any issues that may arise when the clinical communications platform is deployed.  

Plan for continuous improvement post go-live 

The project's go-live should not be seen as the end of your project, but as the start. There are still many issues to overcome and value to be realized. 

Collaborate with your solution partner to create a plan for frequent check-ins post-launch with the goal of optimizing the solution for your evolving processes and goals. 

Your solution partner should continue to support you with dedicated account management and onsite workflow optimization. Be sure to implement an aggressive release schedule that incorporates user feedback, and establish a knowledge center to accelerate staff training. 

A successful clinical communication project demands thorough stakeholder engagement, clear ROI demonstration, meticulous planning, and a commitment to continuous optimization. These steps will ensure that your project meets healthcare’s stringent demands, enhances patient outcomes, and delivers sustained value to your organization.  Download our comprehensive guide

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