Communication is the most critical element of the healthcare workflow and patient safety is one of the top reasons to create an effective communication fabric within a hospital. Our client reached us with an aim of improving the internal communication among their frontlines. They had a very clear goal of improving patient's and employee’s experiences alike. To achieve the goal they wanted to integrate the best technology to break down the departmental silos and render the most crucial, pertinent, and timely patient information for the best decision making.
We started with evaluating how the frontlines currently communicate, and what are the modes of sharing data and updating medical records with necessary details. What are the different modes of communication within the teams, email, phone calls, pagers, employee portals or any other app? It was important for us to evaluate their current technology infrastructure and what is not working right for them at the moment. We figured out the most lovable means of internal communication and its shortcomings. Knowing these answers helped us determine and suggest the best solution to our client.
3.The business challenge
It’s estimated that 80% of serious medical errors occur due to ineffective communication among healthcare providers, hence a good hospital staff communication is the key to optimal care. In a usual scenario, a single patient may receive care from multiple healthcare professionals during an average hospital stay which necessitates a zero error internal communication for the frontlines. They need to feel informed and empowered to take the right decision for the right patient at the right time. We worked along with the frontlines to evaluate the communication gaps, and figure out the most common causes for such gaps? We observed that the most opportune times for the miscommunication typically occurs during shift changes and handovers.
Voice for everyone
We proposed an internal mobile/web based application that secures, consolidates and sleeks all communication within the hospital, with highest privacy and security standards. It empowers the frontlines to connect securely within and outside the team, with real-time graded notifications & alerts. The application allows text/video messages, multiple video/audio & picture attachments to share with the team. The application reduced the increased cognitive loads and distractions within the teams, with role and priority based smart notifications.
Design to appeal
The UI and UX design of ping made easy app was a challenging task, since there were multi-department stakeholders involved. We created the right personas to evaluate the requirements as closely as possible. Prototyping and testing of the prototype led to several iterations to make sure that the interface is designed exactly for service users. The design and development were also divided into several iterations with a lot of co-creation before passing on to our development team. A complete documentation and sign-off were taken from the key participants.
Patients’ perceptions of healthcare quality is highly dependent on the quality of their interactions with the frontlines in a hospital. This project was challenging & very interesting at the same time. To minimize the error in care coordination, there should be a streamlined method for employees who need to relay pertinent information to their colleagues, which we solved through the new app. However, we also realized that technology alone is not always the answer to communication issues in hospitals, the other root causes could be lack of training or if the frontlines are not comfortable using technology, they may avoid it entirely. Therefore, co-creation was the biggest essence of this project as we saw some early buy-ins.