The importance of fast, accurate and trusted communication came into sharp focus during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. From sharing patient information across a multi-disciplinary team to making rapid decisions regarding admitting a patient or referring them back to the community for outpatient care, the ability to rapidly share concise, effective and consistent information has been critical.
Of course, the value of excellent communication throughout health services has never been in doubt; but as working models change and patients’ complex conditions increasingly demand collaboration across departments and care providers, that communication needs to be underpinned by both up to date, trusted information and a robust audit trail.
Yet effective communication is extremely difficult to achieve, especially at scale. From the recent addition of remote working and virtual consultations, to the perennial problems of language barriers between practitioners and patients and ineffective collaboration between multi-disciplinary teams, healthcare providers face significant challenges in embedding robust communication into proven, repeatable processes.
Simple changes, such as the use of email and messaging services such as WhatsApp by clinicians to gain second opinions, make referrals and move towards mobile working look effective at first glance. But, as a recent white paper reveals, the risks to patient safety and clinical liability are significant. Messages are insecure. There is no audit trail. Critically, without integration with patient records there is no managed follow up – or even a way of confirming the correct patient identification. The value of immediate communication is undermined by the lack of control and the associated risk to patient safety.
Making it Work
Effective communication is fundamental not only for patient safety but also the patient experience. A health care provider that can enable effective, secure sharing of patient data can deliver enhanced access to services and reduce the risk of medical errors. Providing everyone within a multi-discipline team with access to the complete depth of medical record can enable more accurate diagnosis, better treatment pathways and improved patient adherence.
At Cegedim Healthcare Solutions we have invested heavily in a portfolio of solutions designed to support collaborative working across shared care settings by ensuring secure and clinically safe communication between patients and clinicians, as well as across multi-disciplinary teams. The suite includes four main apps: Vision Anywhere, Shared Appointments, Tasks and Community.
Vision Anywhere is an internet first secure app that provides healthcare professionals with 24/7 remote access to patient records on the device of their choice. It is an agnostic solution that works seamlessly across different clinical systems and healthcare settings, allowing clinicians to share and update patients' records in real time. Working with or without an internet connection, Vision Anywhere means consultations can be carried out in a clinic or away from the practice. With the ability to view and update patient records remotely, Vision Anywhere supports the delivery of care in the community or during extended hours. It offers assisted data entry for ease of use and drug decision support to facilitate safe and smarter prescribing. Vision Anywhere is also fully scalable, meaning it can be used either in a single practice or at scale across larger teams and different healthcare settings.
One of the unique and important things to note about Vision Anywhere, is that it can be used in combination with both Vision 3 and EMIS clinical systems. In fact Vision Anywhere is the only solution on the market today that is designed to be implemented easily into multiple software ecosystems. From a CCG perspective, it doesn’t matter whether the local practices are using Vision 3, EMIS or a mixture of systems, the same detail is accessible from the patient record through Vision Anywhere, which uses a single user interface and login.
Shared Appointments is an innovative app enabling patient appointments to be booked, amended or cancelled across multiple organisations from one screen. Staff can quickly search for available appointment times, using multiple viewing options – such as named doctor or diabetes service – to speed up the process. Feedback from practices using Shared Appointments confirm that empowering the wider team to manage patient appointments has revolutionised the reception desk and delivered a more responsive and efficient service to patients.
Tasks is a secure collaboration tool for use across multiple organisations. It can be used with or without a full clinical system, providing links to the patient record, conversations, attachments and full traceability of assigned tasks with one to-do list for each user. Unlike tools such as WhatsApp and email, Tasks’ security is provided through the use of role based access controls and clinical system authentication. Linking back to the patient’s clinical record, the tool records tasks and conversations associated with the tasks, providing the GP and other health care professionals with full visibility of conversations relating to each patient’s care pathway. Tasks also allows files and attachments to be shared, including images and reports, providing a complete picture within the communication. All tasks and messages are traceable, ensuring everyone in the group knows when a message has been received, read and actioned.
Community is another secure internet first collaboration tool that enables community teams to be connected. Electronic caseloads, direct GP referrals and shared patient notes enable teams to plan and monitor patient care quickly in a way that is safe, secure and reliable as well as inclusive of the wider care team.
Cegedim Healthcare Solutions in Practice
These tools transform communication, improving efficiency whilst safeguarding patient well-being. All team members have access to a shared patient record, and secure collaboration tools for managing tasks and appointments across the team, whilst critically ensuring the patient’s clinical record remains up to date. Furthermore, to support population level healthcare the local NHS authority is able to aggregate data from multiple GP practices using Outcomes Manager and analyse trends as well as identify opportunities for cost saving and improving patient outcomes using real-time THIN Dashboards.
For more information on how Cegedim can overcome your communication challenges please get in touch.