Building a strong, secure communication system for healthcare organizations

How to design a compliant unified communication tool for the healthcare industry

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Integrate workflows

Knowing the MVP is just the start, you can use the CI/CD pipeline implemented to continuously evolve the product based on user feedback and data analytics.    

For this healthcare service provider, the feedback and analytics suggested integrating workflows. Onboarding, credentializing, and scheduling were the main focus for workflow integrations.  

Onboarding

Recruiting and onboarding people is a lengthy, detailed process filled with screenings, interviews, and background checks. Hiring a provider in healthcare organizations takes anywhere from weeks to several months. The process often follows the same process:

  • Candidate identified or applies   

  • Initial screening  

  • Phone interview  

  • On-site interview  

  • Reference checks  

  • Credentialing  

  • Provider hired, starts working 

Challenge: Tracking communication and status

As a candidate, managing communication and tracking status is difficult, confusing, and time-consuming.  As a recruiter, responding to and keeping candidates updated throughout the process is a lot to manage and time-consuming.

This feedback loop creates noise and is a challenge to navigate. Information sits in emails, texts, or other systems. Recruiters then need to gather this information and re-key data into other systems required for each step of the way for every candidate—while also keeping candidates updated. 

When onboarding takes a long time, candidates move onto pursue other opportunities. As a result, fewer providers are available to fill shifts. This negatively impacts the business by increasing rates for healthcare service providers to fill shifts with less staff and increasing the overall cost of operating the facility.  

Solution: Deep integration across systems   

Our communication tool integrates with a microservices layer which communicates with multiple systems to pull the information and push it to candidates and recruiters in real-time. 

Recruiter interface: 

  • Employees can manage applicants, recommend shifts, and more. 

  • Peer-to-peer (P2P) and group messaging support large-scale coordination of resources. 

  • Broadcasting of last-minute shift availability allows schedulers to fill a higher percentage of opportunities.

When the candidate moves onto the next step in the onboarding process, they are immediately notified via push notifications. If something is blocked, recruiters are informed immediately. Candidates are aggregated by their status in the pipeline for the organization in one view.   

The level of efficacy this communication tool creates:  

  • A reduction the total number of touch points.   

  • A lower the number of candidates moving onto other opportunities.   

  • An expedited overall process with accessible immediately information. 

Ultimately, this enhancement results in more staff available to fill shifts, reduced cycle time, and lower operating costs for the facility.

Credentialing

Credentialing is the process of gathering and validating the required documents from the candidate so that they can work for a healthcare facility. As candidates move through the onboarding process, credentialing takes a lot of time and requires a ton of communication. 

Challenge: Process inefficiencies

Imagine gathering a set of documents and then reviewing and communicating whether they are sufficient. Documents may have different formats, sizes, file types, and sometimes are non-digital. Channels of communication are not always secure; documents are missing, expired, or blurry. Teams need to continually communicate with candidates to gather these documents somehow to complete their onboarding.      

Again, we see an underlying process for credentialing. 

  1. There is a list of requirements that exists in some shared drive, application or some recruiter’s head. 

  2. The candidate receives the list of requirements. 

  3. The candidate must find all the documents and manually track whether they have everything on the list.    

  4. The candidate then shares the documents with the recruiters.  

  5. Recruiters must then validate all the documents.  

Solution: Augmenting with automation  

By automating and making this process transparent within the communication tool, the amount of communication required to credential a provider/candidate is reduced.

Candidates are provided with the required list of documents. Once filled out, they upload or take pictures of these documents and send them directly to recruiters. Recruiters then approve or reject the documents and automatically notify candidates of each document’s status. By reducing the number of touch points, the chance of user errors goes down. 

Scheduling

Have you ever been to a hospital and then find out there is no doctor available? Chances are your answer is, “No.” Well, to ensure this never happens, there are hundreds of touch points behind the scenes to ensure that critical services continue to be staffed and run smoothly every day. Providers are human. They get sick, take vacations, and experience emergencies just like patients. Healthcare providers need to prepare for planned, and unplanned, time off. 

Challenge: Time-consuming, clunky communication process 

There are schedulers dedicated to regularly contact providers over a variety of channels to fill each empty shift on a one-by-one basis. Each scheduler goes through a long list of providers until they fill the shift. Scheduling is a time-consuming process where the schedulers have zero visibility to the provider’s schedules. This lack of visibility puts healthcare service providers at risk for having to pay higher premiums to fill open slots or pay penalties for not having adequate staff on site for each shift.

Solution: Transparent, integrated automation processes

In the communication tool, there is a built-in directory to contact any provider. The process is now more efficient as a result of integrating the provider’s schedules and automating the shift coverage workflow. Now, instead of making many calls and inquiries to fill a shift, schedulers complete one request form for a shift and only contact interested providers.

These new features:  

  • Reduce the time it takes schedulers to fill shifts.    

  • Lower the risk for potential costs paid out in penalties for not having adequately staffed healthcare facility.    

  • Strengthen conversations around bonuses to incentivize providers to take available shifts.  

  • Improved negotiations resulting in more reasonable rates.

Our job is a people business. It means getting a provider and a patient together at the right time that care is required and doing that very well. So, technology is really about enabling that connection.

- Chief Information Officer

Continue to:Conclusion: Evolving the application