As I meet with more and more healthcare providers and work with their clinicians, I continue to be surprised by the lack of technology integration in hospitals. I don’t mean that they don’t have or use technology, because they do. They have lots of tools that I’m grateful for, and healthcare would not be able to accomplish many modern-day miracles without these capabilities. What I am saying though is that these technologies don’t all speak to each other, which creates a bottleneck for clinicians to be effective and efficient in delivering care in a way that accomplishes the Quadruple Aim.
For example, one nursing unit that I visited was spending 3+ hours every day pulling information from multiple areas of the EMR for each patient, and then manually compiling that information into a handwritten report to share with care teams. All this time which would otherwise be spent with patients, is instead spent on information gathering. The ability to have a snapshot of all relevant patient information on a hospital floor in one aggregated list could significantly impact the delivery of care. Our conclusion was if we could create a centralized location where anyone on the care team can quickly access this necessary information then the clinical staff could reduce their administrative overhead and get back to doing what they love most, taking care of patients.
Thankfully, Microsoft has already developed this technology with our Care Coordination templates for MS Teams.
Not only does this centralized data allow clinicians to get back to serving their patients, it also empowers them to focus on healing their patients and getting them discharged in a timely manner. From this experience, I have learned about a term called "avoidable days". An avoidable day is when a patient is medically ready to leave the hospital but for some preventable reason they are not discharged. Some reasons for these situations could be their insurance paperwork is not done, the outpatient care facility is not ready for them, or their transportation was not arranged in time to get them where they needed to go. Each of these items can be avoided if the care planning and management processes were done differently. By reducing the average length of stay or eliminating avoidable days everyone wins! Patients get to go home to be with their families sooner, nurses can free up a bed for someone else who needs it, and hospital systems can reduce the cost of care and improve the clinician experience!
MS Teams is a great solution for care teams to use when working alongside an EMR. We are not trying to replace the EMR or take over as the system of record. Instead, we want to work in parallel to improve care delivery with the collaboration and communication pieces that are often lacking. By bringing EMR data in the form of a "Patient List" into a Team in MS Teams the care team can quickly see and share relevant patient information, have accountability and real time updates on action items, and effectively coordinate care delivery with each other throughout the day.
By reducing the average length of stay or eliminating avoidable days everyone wins!
If you think having EMR integration into MS Teams would add value to your nursing unit or clinicians at your hospital please reach out to myself or your MS Account team to explore how we can work together to implement this solution!
Thanks for reading, I wrote this is collaboration with Josh Thompson