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Negative Financial Impact of Communication Inefficiencies in Hospitals

August 07,2015

Don't Miss This. It Could Cost You Millions If You Do.

The delivery of healthcare critically depends on effective and efficient communication. It demands rapid and timely access to information and the ability to locate stakeholders at any point in time. The hospital environment however is plagued by communication inefficiencies which, in addition to raising quality of care and patient safety issues, negatively impacts an institution's financial performance. Missed calls, phone tag, pagers, faxes, overlooked emails and non-standardized EMR/EHR all result in a discontinuity of care and unnecessary costs.

Estimates indicate time wasted due to inefficient communication modalities in hospitals equates to $800 million annually for physicians and $4.9 billion per year for nurses. Also, the economic waste due to increases in length of stay attributable to poor coordination and communication during discharge planning is approximately $6.6 billion annually. The overall economic burden due to communication inefficiencies among care providers and delays in patient discharges is in excess of $4 million per year for a 500-bed hospital. (1)

A Ponemon Institute study evaluated the economic impact of ineffectual communication as it relates to patient admissions, emergency response coordination and patient transfer.

Respondents in the study indicated that securetext messaging could increase productivity resulting in significant cost savings.

The following summarizes the estimated time savings across the three clinical workflows by using text messaging and the extrapolated economic value of this time savings, which equates to more than $918,000 per U.S. hospital per year and an industry-wide savings of $5.88 billion annually.

Cost Savings Resulting From Using Text Messaging For Clinical Communication

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(2)

Any action that hospitals take to streamline communication processes can have a significant bottom line impact. Secure real-time messaging can save time, improve efficiency and reduce costs.

1. “Quantifying the Economic Impact of Communication Inefficiencies in U.S. Hospitals”, STL Communications, Journal of Healthcare Management 55:4 July/August 2010

2. “The Imprivata Report on the Economic Impact of Inefficient Communications in Healthcare”, Ponemon Institute, June, 2014