The Cost of Inefficient Health-Care Communications

By Karen A. Frenkel  |  Posted 07-17-2014 Email Print this article Print

American hospitals are wasting $11.2 billion each year because of inefficient communications technologies, according to a new report from Imprivata. Physicians, nurses and other providers who coordinate and deliver patient care rely on antiquated pagers and are hampered by them and the absence of secure text messaging, among other communications problems, such as a lack of Wi-Fi, according to the report, "Economic Impact of Inefficient Communications and Healthcare." The study, which was conducted by Imprivata and the Ponemon Institute, surveyed 400 health-care providers, including physicians, nurses, and operations managers. They were asked about three clinical workflows: patient admissions, coordinating emergency response teams and patient transfers. The report reveals "glaring inefficiencies in provider-to-provider communications," which have found "a substantial productivity and economic impact." The report says it is "incumbent on IT to meet provider demand for more modern and efficient communications technologies while maintaining patient privacy and complying with security and regulatory requirements." To read the full report (registration required), click here

  • Wasteful Communications

    The top reasons why respondents say they communicate inefficiently are: Pagers not efficient: 52%, Text messaging not allowed: 39%, Wi-Fi not available: 37%, E-mail not efficient: 35%, BYOD not allowed: 25%, Faxing not efficient: 18%
    Wasteful Communications
  • Time Wasted During Patient Admissions

    Admitting one patient takes an average of 51 minutes. Of that, 33 minutes are wasted because of inefficient communications. Result: An annual loss of $728,000 per U.S. hospital.
    Time Wasted During Patient Admissions
  • Emergency Response Coordination

    It takes 93 minutes, on average, to coordinate an emergency response team for one patient. Of that, 40 minutes are wasted due to inefficient communications. That's an annual loss of $265,000 per hospital.
    Emergency Response Coordination
  • Inefficiencies of Patient Transfer

    Transferring a patient from a hospital to home care or a hospice takes about 56 minutes, of which 35 minutes are wasted. Annual cost: $754,000 per hospital.
    Inefficiencies of Patient Transfer
  • Labor Costs of Inefficient Communications

    $1.75 million per hospital is lost each year because of inefficient labor practices, according to the report.
    Labor Costs of Inefficient Communications
  • How Text Messaging Could Help

    Respondents agree that secure text messaging could increase productivity and eliminate about half of the economic loss of inefficient communications.
    How Text Messaging Could Help
  • Potential Savings with Text Messaging

    The extrapolated economic value of these time savings could be $918,000 annually per hospital and $5.88 billion annually across the industry. Patient admissions: $2.3 billion, Emergency response: $0.93 billion, Patient transfers: $2.7 billion
    Potential Savings with Text Messaging
  • Time Saved For Clinical Workflows

    Estimated annual cost savings using text messaging for clinical communications for 6,409 U.S. hospitals: Patient admissions: 16 minutes, $385,598 in time saved, Emergency response: 22 minutes, $144,693 in time saved, Patient transfers: 20 minutes, $414,834 in time saved
    Time Saved For Clinical Workflows
Karen A. Frenkel writes about technology and innovation and lives in New York City.


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