Note: This is the second of a two part series on the importance of provider communications in today’s healthcare delivery environment.
An Associate Press (AP) story recently reported that most people will experience at least one wrong or delayed diagnosis at some point in their lives, a blind spot in modern medicine that can have devastating consequences. The Institute of Medicine report cited in the AP article calls for urgent changes across healthcare. The report found that diagnostic errors get too little attention.
According to Dr. John Ball of the American College of Physicians, who chaired the IOM committee, the biggest needed change is to make patients central to a solution. Dr. Ball said that means better teamwork and communication between health providers — doctors, nurses, lab workers — and making the patient part of the team, too.
He goes on to make the point that when the patient's third doctor finally gets the right diagnosis, it should become the norm, not an embarrassment, for that physician to call the others and say, "It turned out this patient had X and not Y." Another committee member, Dr. Christine Cassel, president of the National Quality Forum, said, "That's the only way we can really learn."
The problem is that members of care teams in most facilities have no way to communicate with each other. It’s not that they do not have the communication media, it’s that they can’t find where and how to contact other physicians.
A unified provider management (UPM) platform would eliminate this communication blockage. A UPM allows healthcare organizations to unify, manage and share a single verified, custom profile on each of their providers, regardless of where that data exists in their multiple legacy IT systems. It also provides a national database of physician contact information, so doctors can find their peers across town or across the country.
This single, accurate source for provider information can foster communication among physicians and healthcare facilities and enhance diagnostic work that will improve future medical outcomes.