You’ve probably experienced it before: you’re working on something that you could probably finish by yourself but you’d much rather have the inputs of another expert in the specialised field. It’s a natural tendency for us to refer to domain experts when conducting specialised tasks we’re less familiar with, regardless of the industry or job role. It helps move the project along faster, and allows all experts to bring their best skills to the table and fill in the gaps for each other.
In the context of healthcare, when doctors consult other experts in such a manner, it’s called interprofessional collaboration.
What is interprofessional collaboration in healthcare?
According to the World Health Organisation, interprofessional collaboration is a circumstance when “multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds work together with patients, families, carers (caregivers), and communities to deliver the highest quality of care.” To break it down, healthcare collaboration allows doctors to provide patients with vastly improved services, by putting their best skills on the table and partnering with known experts in other fields. It is a team-based practice that involves the dedicated exchange of knowledge, and has the potential to reduce medical errors when in critical situations involving patient care.
The salient benefits of encouraging interprofessional collaboration in healthcare
- Improve patient care and medical outcomes
When doctors from various fields collaborate, they increase the quality of patient care, and ensure that only the best of the lot are providing the services they excel at. As a result, medical outcomes are also much brighter, especially in critical life-or-death cases.
- Reduce medical errors
Medical errors have caused devastation across countries, and many of them could have been prevented had the right doctor been consulted in special cases. By encouraging interprofessional collaboration in healthcare, the rates of medical errors can reduce significantly, and this can save hundreds of lives on a global scale. Seamless doctor-physicians communication also bolsters the reputation of individual doctors as well as facilities as a whole.
- Begin faster diagnoses and treatments
Oftentimes, doctors are too swamped to take on more patients, leaving many people’s health in limbo. However, facilitating interprofessional collaboration can lead to faster treatments, as experts can correctly and quickly diagnose problems and make recommendations. It also reduces the need to travel between hospitals for second and third opinions, and helps the presiding doctor for a more holistic diagnosis for correct treatment.
- Reduces healthcare costs
By reducing diagnoses- and medication-related errors, ensuring a smooth and positive patient experience and delivering better medical outcomes, interprofessional collaboration can reduce healthcare costs significantly. Studies have shown that successful instances have reduced fall rates and length of patient stay. It has also prevented late starts and surgical delays, and helped doctors manage their time more effectively, which translates again to reduced costs.
- Improve staff relationships
Hospital communication ensures all important players are given their fair chance to showcase their expertise, while reducing the monopoly of head doctors or certain departments. It levels the playing field and puts the patient above all, be that during in-person visits or virtual care.
The use of in-app chat to power interprofessional collaboration
Healthcare apps have revolutionised the field, and they in turn have hugely benefited from in-app chat solutions that make doctor-to-doctor communication and doctor-patient communication that much more accessible and effective. This is highly critical in time-sensitive environments like hospitals and clinics, and prevents patients from falling off the system so that they receive the care they deserve.
It goes without saying, then, that in-app chat features empower interprofessional collaboration in healthcare. They help bridge gaps caused by distance and schedules, and reduce the world to the palm of one’s hand. As a result, healthcare communication can span geographies, allowing physicians to tap into expertise in any other country with just a few clicks. The use of a HIPAA-compliant communication platform ensures that all data stays private and confidential.
The benefits of in-app chat for healthcare communication
During these times, when digital health and virtual solutions are picking up speed, telemedicine has become a critical feature to increase the quality and accuracy of patient care.
In-app chat helps to keep all communication on one app, reducing the chances of missing or leaked data through emails or other communication methods. It helps patients consult with nurses and doctors on the go, and receive information at lightning-fast speeds.
In-app chat solutions also reduce travel time for both doctors and patients. For the former, it means more hours to work and take rest, which leads to higher levels of accuracy. For patients, this means hospital trips can be saved for big issues, while regular consultations can be conveniently carried out through the confidential doctor-patient chat.
Doing interprofessional healthcare collaboration the right way
Interprofessional collaboration can be hindered by restrictions of time, comfort and egos. However, these blockers can all be scaled for the greater good: providing the highest quality patient care in the shortest amount of time.
To be able to do this, it is essential that doctors and allied health professionals build a congenial rapport even outside immediate cases. This can be done by showing interest in their work, starting casual conversations about common interests, and introducing one another to larger circles.
It is also critical that each person in such a collaboration understands the value of the others, and stays prepared to step back and hand the proverbial scalpel to someone else. In medical scenarios, one misstep or forcing of a “me first” attitude can put patient lives at severe risk.
Interprofessional collaboration in healthcare is one of the keys to providing high quality care and ensuring that focus is on the best skills, and not on hegemony or partiality. An HIPAA-compliant solution goes a long way in facilitating such collaboration; better still, if it has an in-app chat that reduces miles and minutes to become negligible.
MirrorFly provides highly secure and customisable healthcare messaging solutions that can be integrated into existing apps. Whether the need is for an in-app chat API or an in-app chat SDK, their robust and scalable infrastructure can take all communication loads, from the smallest clinic to the largest hospital network.