We've written pretty extensively about how healthcare collaboration can cut readmissions and decrease length of stay. We see really consistent, measurable, and immediate return on investment from our customers that use iClickCare for medical collaboration. Forget "the right thing" -- the kind of healthcare collaboration that iClickCare facilitates pays in terms of care, in terms of results, and in terms of cost savings.
So a recent comment that we heard from someone in the field was shocking to us: "Communication," she said, "Has no role in reducing readmissions."
The comment was frustrating because it seemed to undermine so much of what we, and our colleagues, stand for. Assuredly, the investment in a tool like iClickCare is simple and obvious to us, both in terms of a pay-for-performance context and in the simple terms of caring for patients.
The more we thought about it though, the more the comment actually made sense. Communication, in itself (as with secure texting) can't really influence anything.
Move the process up a step step and make turn communication into a conversation. That is a start. At least two providers will think about the problem. Maybe even they will come to a conclusion. Often though, this is based on hierarchy and answers the needs of the system and not the needs of the patient.
What about collaboration, the process of communicating, conversing, and working together to create a solution that is as close to ideal as possible. The dictionary definition is “the process of working with someone to produce or create something." That is where real care can happen and providers can become less burned out and lives can be saved.
"Collaboration" has a pretty extensive entry in Wikipedia, and gives examples from many human endeavors. But there is just one short line about Medicine: “In medicine the physician assistant - physician relationship involves a collaborative plan to be on file with each state board of medicine where the PA works. This plan formally delineates the scope of practice approved by the physician." It's not really about a multi-directional working relationship -- it's about approval and simple transmission of information. Note that the patient is left out. The regulations are left in.
Providers, payors and systems need to realize “that working with someone to produce or create something” -- healthcare collaboration -- is more than communication and more than conversation.
It is the essence of our evolution and the satisfaction in our daily lives.
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