I love listening to a podcast called Rework. They talk about work and business in interesting ways -- and although they're certainly not in the medical field, many of the insights apply.
Last week's episode really stuck with me as important and made me realize just how far behind the healthcare field is. The episode, Interruption is Not Collaboration, looked at the cost of interruptions in the workplace.
If you're like most healthcare providers, the thought of even talking about "interruptions" seems ridiculous. In a medical setting, the day is one long interruption. There's so many things scheduled and happening simultaneously, that we become used to the situation, not noticing the cost.
In fact, as is cited in Rework's episode, when we are interrupted, it takes about 23 minutes to recover from that interruption, in terms of productivity and the quality of your focus. In other industries, business leaders have started putting in place systems and tools that limit interruptions. Not for emotional reasons, but because the interruptions are "expensive" in their impact on work, in productivity, quality of insight, and errors made. But in the world of healthcare, we accept interruptions as normal and do little to try to minimize them.
I believe that many of my colleagues have little interest in medical collaboration because when they hear "collaboration" they think of interruptions in the form of:
- Text messages
- Phone calls (or calls they have to return)
- Videoconferencing appointments
- More meetings to attend.
Of course this is what providers envision when they think of collaboration -- because these are the common forms that collaboration ends up taking. But these forms of collaboration come at such a high cost in terms of the provider having to interrupt or step away from the rest of their work -- that the collaboration becomes very much not worth the trouble. The other challenge with collaboration taking this form is that because the medium is so ephemeral, the conversation is not archived or accessible over time. Once the question is answered (like so much in our virtual world), it ceases to exist.
This is why we believe so firmly that healthcare collaboration needs to take the shape of Hybrid Store-and-Forward® telemedicine. It's absolutely crucial that care coordination and healthcare collaboration be sustainable, and supportive of the rest of the provider's workflow. Providers need to be able to ask and answer questions on their schedule, in their own time. With this form of collaboration, questions and answers don't interrupt the rest of your work, you can answer in a way that works with the rest of your schedule, and the case is archived for future review. That means that all of your patients get the most focus you can provide, and that you get the satisfaction of finishing one thing before starting another.
Your work matters too much to allow interruption to be the way things happen. Demand more for yourself -- and demand more for your patients.
To learn more about Hybrid Store-and-Forward telemedicine, download our free quick guide: