Eliminating Delays in Patient Care and Improving Patient Throughput with Faster Consults
An article provided by Proficient Health a CIHQ Partner
Description:Streamlining processes to reduce time to consult and decrease average length of stay in health systems with provider communication app used to reach the right provider, every time.
Challenge: Inefficient processes for sending specialist consults can cause delays in patient care and extended average length of stay in hospital
Solution: Provider communication app used to reach the right specialist right away
Results: Reduced time to consults and decreased ALOS across the hospitals
It’s very common for patients in the hospital to require a consultation with a specialist – in fact, hundreds of inpatient consults are ordered every day. Ordering these consults for a hospitalized patient is a fairly straightforward process in most EHRs, however, getting that consult delivered to the right person can be complicated, require multiple resources, and take many hours – delaying patient care and extending average length of stay.
In the most straightforward process, where the consult is to a specific provider (i.e.. Dr. Jones), after the consult is entered into the EHR it will be ‘in-boxed’ directly to the requested provider. However, there is no way to know if that provider is working, on-call, or on vacation. It could be hours before the EHR inbox is even checked.
If a group or specialty is indicated (i.e. “Smith’s Cardiology”, or just the “Cardiology Service”), it is typically tasked to a unit secretary to track down information to find out:
Regardless of how the consult is ordered, physicians frequently rely on unit secretaries to monitor consult orders and notify or remind consulting providers via phone call, page, emails, or in-basket if the consult does not happen.
The bottom line is that there is not a streamlined, automated process to ensure the delivery of requests directly to the consulting physician or to actively alert that physician about a consult. This inefficient process often leads to confusion and frustration for everyone involved in the consult process, in addition to delays and unnecessary costs for both the patient and hospital.
Hospitals are using Proficient Health’s provider communication app, PH Connect, to reach the right provider every time and to do so quickly and efficiently. PH Connect integrates with the EHR to automate message routing, enable real-time notification, and optimize care delivery.
PH Connect uniquely and intelligently routes messages based on many different factors, including clinical service resource availability (residents, PAs, etc.), time of day, consulting physician workflow and preferences, to ensure that the consult is automatically delivered to the right person – the first time.
Providers are ‘actively’ alerted through their phone or pager to a new consult. PH Connect even allows providers to queue messages as appropriate, with the understanding that some less urgent consults can wait or should be batched together for early morning delivery.
PH Connect supports preferred workflows for not only the consulting provider, but also for the ordering physician. The ordering physician doesn’t have to open PH Connect at all. They simply log into the EHR and request the consult as they normally would. They receive a notification that the message has been read, with the date, time and reader saved to the EHR.
The immediate notification of a consult request has dramatically improved time to consult and decreased average length of stay (ALOS) across hospitals using this feature of PH Connect.
PH Connect can be rolled out on a service by service basis or system-wide. The new process allows providers to order consults in the EHR with the desired specialist or practice – and the appropriate on-call provider automatically receives a secure, HIPAA-compliant text message, via PH Connect, within seconds.
Additional advantages have included:
More than 300 consults are ordered everyday at WakeMed Health, a 900+ bed system located in Raleigh, NC. WakeMed is using PH Connect to streamline the process for sending specialist consults resulting in efficient patient care and decreased average length of stay in hospital.
“As a hospital that frequently runs at full capacity, we know that being able to get consults completed quickly has a direct and positive impact on average length of stay and our bottom line,” said Denise Warren, WakeMed Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer.
Today, more 2400 providers, including 72 physician specialties and 43 ancillary specialties, are participating in this more efficient process. Thousands of messages are sent through PH Connect each month and the median read time for inpatient consult requests is less than a minute.
“PH Connect’s immediate delivery of consult orders to the right resources (physician, resident, NP, etc.) ensures that our patients are getting the clinical care they need as quickly as possible,” explained Ted Tsomides, MD, WakeMed Health and Hospitals.