25 Shocking Healthcare Stats You Need to Know

07.26.19 TigerConnect Healthcare
25 Shocking Healthcare Stats You Need to Know

We’ve Compiled a List of Statistics That Will Shock You

Because healthcare is such a broad and multi-faceted industry, it’s easy to lose track of emerging trends, even if you’re a healthcare professional logging time in the trenches. To keep you in the know, we’ve compiled a cutting-edge collection of 25 statistics related to healthcare communication that will shock you.

Healthcare Communications is (Mostly) Broken, But There’s Hope

First, the bad news. For those care professionals saddled with embarrassingly outdated technology, the nightmare is real. Many healthcare organizations are still mired in the past with millions of pagers still in use and a culture where fax communications reign supreme. Antiquated technology causes enormous efficiencies, puts patients at risk, and costs the country literally billions of dollars.

  • A 500-bed hospital loses more than $4 million annually as a result of communication inefficiencies (NCBI)
  • Fax machines account for 75% of all medical communication (VOX)
  • 80% of serious medical errors involve miscommunication during patient transfers (Joint Commission)
  • Almost 80% of hospitals are still using pagers (Journal of Hospital Medicine)
  • Pagers and other outdated communication systems cost hospitals $8.3 billion annually in lost productivity and increased patient discharge times (Fortune)

Key Takeaway – Make Communication a Strategic Initiative: Healthcare organizations and leaders that embrace communication as a strategic initiative will not only address the immediate challenges of making it easier for teams to collaborate, but they’ll see a ripple effect across a wide range of metrics from care quality to happier staff.

SMS is an Overlooked Security Vulnerability

Data breaches and cyber attacks are becoming more and more prevalent in the healthcare industry. With vulnerable patient health information (PHI) and information systems on the line, healthcare facilities need to be proactive when it comes to security:

  • Nearly 50% of US adults are extremely or very concerned about their healthcare data security (Health IT Security)
  • 17,000 patient records are breached per day on average (ReferralMD)
  • Health data breaches cost the U.S. healthcare industry an estimated $6.2 billion (EHR in Practice)

Key Takeaway – Replace SMS with a Secure, Encrypted Messaging Solution: Healthcare staff are naturally going to resort to what’s easy and familiar—SMS and popular messaging solutions like iMessage or WhatsApp. Start with the obvious by providing healthcare staff with an easy alternative to standard, unsecured text messaging. Even better, healthcare messaging apps are purpose-built with features that solve common clinical workflow communication challenges so there’s an important, often unexpected upside to making the switch.

EHRs Are NOT Communication Platforms

Electronic health records (EHRs) do a great job of storing data, but they tend to make it hard to make that information “actionable” for care providers. Since the enactment of the HITECH Act in 2009, we’ve started to see the true impact of EHRs on the healthcare industry as a whole:

  • When doctors were asked if their EHR investment was worth the effort, resources and cost, “no” was the reply given by nearly 79% of respondents in practices with more than 10 physicians (EHR in Practice)
  • For every hour a physician spends with a patient, they spend two hours on EHR-related clerical work. (PNHP)
  • Only 41% of physicians have EHR systems capable of giving patients timely access to their medical records (HIT Consultant)

Key Takeaway – Extend your EHR with a System of Action: EHR systems are all about clicking and coding and dropping a bill – that’s not what patients need and it’s certainly not why physicians got into practicing medicine. This is why technologies like TigerConnect are gaining interest. Unlike an EHR, solutions like TigerConnect bring everyone involved in patient care together to exchange critical information and to ensure it’s delivered to the right person, and subsequently read, and acted upon.
 

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Navigating the Phases of Clinical Communication

 

Better Communication Can Lower The High Cost of Healthcare

Healthcare costs in the United States are staggering and seem to be getting worse every year. Clinical communication platforms like TigerConnect can help care teams save time and collaborate more effectively while moving the needle for healthcare executives:

  • More than half (55%) of U.S. hospitals lose money on each patient they serve (HIT Consultant)
  • Referral leakage costs American hospital systems over $150B a year (ReferralMD)
  • It costs nearly $250 billion to process 30 billion healthcare transactions each year (15 billion are faxes) (ReferralMD)
  • Missed appointments cost the U.S. healthcare system more than $150 billion a year (ReferralMD)

Key Takeaway – Improve Communication to Patients and Providers: Poor communication in healthcare is one of the largest contributors to overwhelming costs for hospitals, health systems, and patients alike. Often, this communication friction happens in a thousand little ways that collectively add up to soaring costs that are difficult to pinpoint when the common thread is actually breakdowns or inefficiencies in team communication.

Clinical collaboration solutions have the power to improve communication beyond the four walls of a single facility and extend it to all parties involved in the care of a patient, including skilled nursing facilities, primary care physicians, home health professionals, and even the patient themselves. This can have an enormous impact on improving the patient experience while also driving greater efficiencies and savings.

Physician Burnout is Real

With 1 in 50 physicians in the U.S. planning to leave medicine altogether in the next two years, and physicians having a suicide rate twice the level of the general population, it is quite clear that healthcare has a major crisis on its hands. And the problem extends beyond physicians. On a daily basis, physicians, nurses and allied health professionals face communication challenges that attribute to burnout, alarm fatigue and the potential for medical errors:

  • 25% to 50% of referring physicians do not know whether their patients see the specialist (ReferralMD)
  • 20% of malpractice claims involve a missed or delayed diagnosis due to deficits in hand-offs between providers (ReferralMD)
  • About half (51%) of physicians reported frequent feelings of burnout in 2017, up from 40% in 2013 (Becker’s Hospital Review)
  • One out of every 50 physicians in the U.S. is planning to leave medicine altogether in the next two year. (Mayo Clinic)
  • Physicians have a suicide rate twice the level of the general population. (WebMD)
  • Physicians in private practice caring for Medicare patients interact with as many as 229 other physicians at 117 different practices each year (Columbia Medical Review)

Key Takeaway – Make Collaboration a Focus to Ease Burnout: In most healthcare facilities, care teams are stretched thin and under immense pressure. More focus on strategic communication and collaboration solutions can make caring for patients easier and help alleviate some of the burnout experienced by the care team.

Consumers are Taking Charge of Their Healthcare

More consumers are taking an active role in their own medical decisions and expect experiences similar to those they receive while shopping, paying bills, or making other daily decisions.

  • Nine out of every 10 consumers prefer to be in control of their care decisions. (Altarum Institute)
  • 70 percent of consumers report they look up their symptoms online rather than going to the doctor first. (Altarum Institute)
  • 90 percent of consumers have expressed some level of concern about their ability to pay unexpected medical bills (Altarum Institute)
  • 33 percent of consumers believe they have the ability to shop for better healthcare prices. (Altarum Institute)

Key Takeaway – Focus on Patient Engagement & Outcomes: With consumer frustration growing on data access and high costs associated with healthcare, it’s no surprise that value-based care is coming into focus. Savvy healthcare organizations – particularly ACOs – are looking at things like AI and population health detection, telehealth, and more and finding success both in increased Medicare reimbursements through reduced readmissions and better overall health of their patient base.

To learn more about the TigerConnect clinical communications platform and how it can impact you and your healthcare facility, visit our website and sign up for a guided product demo.