The 6 People You Need on Your Clinical Communications Improvement Team

When hospitals and health systems take on the monumental task of transforming their clinical communications, the importance of cross-departmental collaboration cannot be overstated. Integrating technology into healthcare settings is a complex operation, requiring more than just management approval. It requires a concerted effort by a specialized task force, committed to leveraging tech for the betterment of patient outcomes. 

The creation and utilization of an interdisciplinary team of tech-savvy, clinically knowledgeable, and adept project managers are crucial from the get-go. By bringing together divergent perspectives and expertise, you avoid the development of isolated solutions that miss the mark on everyday clinical needs. Instead, you foster the creation of robust communications systems that clinicians will actively use, ones that improve workflow, minimize errors, and support patient safety. 

Let’s take a closer look at the six key roles essential for enhancing your clinical communications improvement team:

1. Chief Medical Officer (CMO)

Under a CMO's guidance, there will be significant alignment between clinical providers’ activities and overarching physician strategies concerning the project. Their front-row view into operational efficiencies allows them to collect genuine feedback from care teams and patients. This insight is critical in pinpointing specific areas within communication workflows that require attention and enhancement. 

CMOs undeniably hold sway in influencing and defining the communication procedures adhered to by care team members. Their leadership and authority are pivotal in fostering acceptance and implementing new communication protocols. By shaping these standards and protocols, CMOs ensure that any improvements in communication are not only instituted but ingrained within the hospital's culture. 

2. Chief Nursing Officer (CNO)

A CNO possesses a comprehensive understanding of the challenges faced by nurses on the ground. They are key figures in devising strategies that enhance patient care and facilitate a more seamless and efficient workflow for nurses. When assembling a clinical communications improvement team, their expertise becomes invaluable. 

CNOs bring an eagle-eye perspective to the refinement process, ensuring that the changes introduced are not just theoretically sound but practically executable. Furthermore, they are adept at nurturing an open dialogue with nursing staff, which is pivotal for identifying deep-rooted issues. By seeking feedback directly from nurses, CNOs help unearth the pain points that might otherwise be overlooked. This feedback is instrumental in sculpting a robust clinical communications framework that resonates with the realities of nursing care.

3. Chief Information Officer (CIO)

CIOs make sure that both old and new tech tools are in sync with the hospital's big-picture goals. Their job is to ensure that tech investments make a difference in patient care and help healthcare teams communicate better. By evaluating and ranking IT projects, they use their strategic insight to spotlight the initiatives that promise the greatest impact and best use of resources. 

CIOs have a unique chance to untangle and refine the IT infrastructure that supports clinical communication. By doing this, they tackle inefficiencies head-on, enhancing the flow of communication in clinical settings. Plus, their forward-thinking approach allows them to spot opportunities to streamline vendors. By trimming down the number of software and service providers, they achieve cost savings without compromising the quality of services provided.

4. Security Compliance Manager (SCM)

The SCM typically operates under the guidance of the Chief Information Officer or the Chief Information Security Officer and is dedicated to safeguarding your institution from digital threats. 

In the healthcare environment, where patient data is both precious and private, the SCM becomes the guardian of this sensitive information. Their expertise is integral to navigating the complex regulations that govern patient confidentiality and data security, such as HIPAA requirements. By having them as part of your improvement team, you ensure that any new technological solutions or communication protocols foster efficiency and strengthen your hospital's cyber defenses. 

The SCM spearheads the evaluation and endorsement of secure solutions, confirming that every innovation meets—or surpasses—the stringent security benchmarks mandated in healthcare.

5. Clinical Applications Manager (CAM)

With the CAM directly reporting to the CIO, they bring strategic insight into technological advances and their potential impact on clinical workflows. Their responsibility extends to the complete lifecycle of clinical applications—from development and maintenance to optimization—that turns them into an invaluable asset during the selection process for technical solutions. 

The technical acumen of the CAM simplifies complex decisions, making them the primary liaison for vendors of clinical applications. By serving as the hospital's technical ambassador, they play a crucial role in negotiations, ensuring that any selected application not only integrates seamlessly with existing systems but also contributes to the integrity and security of the whole network.

6. Project Manager (PM)

The PM keeps the project on time and within budget. They develop detailed project plans, including timelines, budgets, and risk mitigation strategies. They also play a vital role in coordinating the project's internal efforts by managing tasks and providing status updates. A PM is essential to any clinical communications improvement project due to its complexity, high stakes, and the need for cross-departmental collaboration. 

To sum it up, securing the participation of key stakeholders and having a balanced team with diverse expertise is crucial to the success of your clinical communications improvement project. However, it's not the only factor. Our comprehensive guide walks you through every step of planning and executing such a project, from setting baseline metrics to assessing potential partners. 

Download our guide