RapidConnect Ensures Continuity of Care and HIPAA Compliance for Hospitalists

The use of hospitalists is now standard practice in the United States, with more than 44,000 hospitalists in the country today. Hospitalists provide a number of benefits to hospitals, referring physicians and patients as a result of their understanding of a hospital’s procedures, information systems, and personnel. But, a lack of familiarity with a patient and his/her history could result in discontinuity of care.

Ensuring continuity of care

Ensuring continuity of care top of mind for WakeMed Health and Hospitals as it sought to improve communication between their hospitalist service, the ED, inpatient care team, specialty consulting services and primary care teams. They turned to RapidConnect for help.

Connecting with providers through traditional methods of communication via offices, P2P lines and answering services can be cumbersome, time consuming and unsecure. Supporting direct and speedy communication between services hinges on ensuring that up-to-date on-call information is easily accessible to providers as they move from location to location.

Streamlining communication

RapidConnect streamlines the collection of on-call information through a user friendly call schedule builder and cross platform integrations including LightingBolt, AMiON, Qgenda, and others. QuickCover allows for coverage changes to be handled directly from a provider’s mobile app and RapidConnect’s automated message routing eliminates the stress of remembering practice-specific coverage rules.

HIPAA Compliance

RapidConnect sped up provider to provider communication while ensuring HIPAA compliance, making it easy for providers, inside and outside the hospital, to share specific patient health information, and reducing possibilities for discontinuity of care. WakeMed Physician Practices- Hospital Medicine, while sending and receiving over 12,000 messages a month on RapidConnect, maintains average response times of under 4 minutes, enabling more efficient communication with specialists, primary care providers, nursing and ancillary staff – connecting the entire care team and ultimately improving patient care.

See the complete use case here.

Startup culture equals teamwork, not plush chairs or ping pong tables

Tech startups often make a big deal about company culture, which somehow equates to ping pong tables, Herman Miller chairs and Friday afternoon beer. What I have experienced in my first job with a healthcare technology startup, is that the way we treat each other and the energy and expectations we each bring to work, are in fact the true measures of company culture.

Understanding each other’s strengths, skills (or even lack of skill) and roles contributes to our ability to function as a team. Together, we can meet company goals and customer needs, and of course have fun along the way.

When we recently spent a holiday volunteer day together at the Wake County Salvation Army, we should not have been surprised that we carried that same team culture with us into that very different setting.

We spent hours filling stockings and sorting clothing for each child. It was an amazing morning, with a wide range of people from different organizations working together to help families in need.

As we walked out to the parking lot, we laughed at how each of us seemed to have automatically jumped into our normal team role. Without thinking twice, we actually expected each other to contribute in our own unique and customary ways. With expectations already set and a shared energy to get to work, we were immediately functioning as a team.

It played out like this. The account managers jumped right into the sorting of stockings and clothes, smiling and talking to all the new friends. Our CTO first had questions about the process and objectives that needed to be answered so that we could systematically achieve the goal. Our marketing team worked eagerly but had to stop frequently for that perfect photo shot. Our CEO kept us all bound together, checked in with Salvation Army leaders and offered assistance where needed.

It was a fun day that was served as a great reminder of why working at MD Interconnect is so rewarding. We value each other. We trust one another and we expect each other to show up. We work together to dive into any project and complete it with excellence.

We are proud of the collaborative, team-oriented approach we take with our customers as well. We work closely with them to understand their needs in detail including the roles each of them play, and bring the power of our diverse team to bear on their behalf.

Our solutions are creative and impactful because each of us brings different backgrounds, experiences and skills to the table.

So, who needs a ping pong table? Friday afternoon beer, on the other hand – well we may have to rethink that one!

Is your EMR setting you up for Secure Messaging success?

Most EMRs today have a secure text messaging component as part of their offering. The thought of having everything in one suite of products may seem appealing. But in reality, few EMR secure messaging applications actually meet the functional requirements and user preferences of today’s physicians.

If your physicians and providers aren’t willing to use the secure messaging EMR then you might as well not have it.

This is the first blog post in a multi-part series to help you determine if an EMR secure messaging solution is the right fit for your organization and physicians.
If you are thinking about using your current or future EMR for secure messaging, here are a few things that should be considered:

Communicating beyond hospital integrated providers

Let’s start with the fact that the EMR messaging solution is typically limited to care providers within the same EMR system. What about the providers outside your EMR system such as private practice physicians with their own practice based EMR?

While outpatient messaging volume may be less than 20% of total message volume, this area actually has the greatest potential to impact patient experience and collaborative patient management. This is particularly true when trying to manage care transitions across the continuum. Furthermore, by engaging your entire care community, you increase referrals and decrease leakage from your network. To truly have a successful secure messaging strategy, you must include providers and care teams across the entire healthcare continuum, not just with integrated providers.

Does your EMR messaging application do the following?

  • Allow for broad distribution to outpatient-based physicians, including locally based private practice and regional referring doctors without running afoul of anti-kickback laws.
  • Allow practice call schedules to be viewed in system?
  • Provide information about patients who are being directed to an Urgent Care/Emergency.

Reaching the right people at the right time

Service lines have varied workflows that can utilize different team members (i.e. residents, APP, fellows, attendings, etc) at different times of the day depending on the type of message, as well as the availability of personnel. Each service line has their own “rules” about which resource should receive messages when. This often can change multiple times during one 24-hour period. For example, within the Urology service the APP might receive all ED consults until 5:00 pm, at which point message routing will switch to the Urology resident, then after 10 pm it might switch again to the on-call attending. This change in message routing rules occurs more often now due to residency work hour restrictions.

Does your EMR messaging application route messages based on the following?

  • Patient’s location (in hospital? In ED? In physician office?)
  • Patient/provider history (Established patient vs. new consults)
  • Service line ‘rules’ established workflows, hierarchies and call schedules

Giving physicians more control

Physicians are one of your most valuable resources. Keeping them satisfied and preventing burnout is critical to their productivity and longevity within your organization. Many physicians already struggle with being too available to their colleagues and patients. Your secure messaging solution has to not only fit within their existing workflow, but is it must offset any concerns your physicians have about making themselves even more accessible.

Does your EMR messaging application allow your physicians to do the following?

  • Easily control when others can reach them without signing in/signing out at every transition.
  • Automatically limit access, based on call schedules
  • Assign a staff proxy to check their messages WITHOUT accessing the their personal phone or asking for their EMR password.
  • To transfer their on-call status to someone else from a mobile app (virtual “hold my pager.”)

These are just a few of things you should consider when evaluating solutions to ensure they meet all of your functional and user requirements. To learn more about how your EMR secure messaging solution measure up, see our complete checklist for Mobile Communication System Success or schedule a time to speak with someone who can help guide you through that process.