Clinical communication and care coordination is stuck in the 80s. But the future can be yours in bite sized chunks.
This month, Dr. Michael Giuffre, Former AMA president and current member of CMA Board of Directors, published an insightful article on how medical clinics can progress by taking small, comfortable, steps forward - rather than waiting in the past for a silver bullet to catch up your clinic in one fell swoop.
The basis of the article stems from Dr. Giuffre’s stance as both patient and physician advocate as he continues to push for greater medical practice efficiency. He recognizes that when healthcare organizations of all shapes and sizes run smoothly, benefit flows to the patient and eventually the entire medical system, the goal being an improved quality of life for all stakeholders in the Canadian healthcare system - starting with the clinics on the front line.
Dr. Giuffre calls for the abandonment of outdated technology like the fax machine that is keeping many processes in the 80’s, but recognizes that even the idea of change can be daunting to most clinics already operating well above reasonable capacity. Care coordination is the biggest job of the healthcare system and its constituent parts, yet there the continuity of care is fragmented by institutional segmentation and technology incongruence with multiple incompatible software tasked with similar jobs in orgs expected to communicate efficiently. The cost of maintaining fax machines alone costs AHS millions of dollars each year.
Dr. Giuffre writes, “To be effective, Healthcare communication needs to catch up to the rest of society. Progress in our inpatient and outpatient services, in the clinics we run, must start with accepting the deficiencies in our process and looking for incremental ways to better align practice with the realities of the society and culture in which we serve.”
The answer, says Giuffre only starts with policy, but really rests on the efforts of individual clinics to enact change. The kind of change he suggests isn’t wholesale, it’s incremental, sustainable, and progressive rather than disruptive. He talks of managing progress through small adaptation that align practice communications with modern life - targeting clinic communications with patients and other clinicians as the most impactful processes for change.
Read the full article starting on page 12 of the November 2016 issue of Vital Signs.