Inefficient communications during critical clinical workflows cost the average U.S. hospital about $1.75 million annually, according to a new report from authentication and access management platform vendor Imprivata and the Ponemon Institute.

The report finds that a significant amount of time is wasted during these workflows, primarily due to the inefficiency of pagers and the lack of adoption of secure text messaging. The report also finds that the use of secure text messaging could reclaim more than half of this wasted time, and minimize the economic loss.

The report's authors surveyed more than 400 healthcare providers in the U.S. to identify areas of communications inefficiency in three specific clinical workflows: patient admissions, coordinating emergency response teams, and patient transfers. Respondents agree that a significant amount of time is wasted during each workflow due to ineffective communications, primarily due to the inefficiency of pagers (as cited by 52 percent of survey respondents) followed by the inability to use text messaging (39 percent). Respondents also think that the use of secure text messaging could increase productivity, estimating that it could help reclaim about half of the wasted time.

“Our research reveals a number of interesting findings about the impact of inefficient communications on provider productivity and patient care. For instance, patient admissions and transfer times are often inefficient because of the use of pagers and other outdated technologies,” said Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute. “The research reveals that providers believe there are more effective methods of communication that can improve patient care and reduce costs.”

The report, titled the “Imprivata Report on the Economic Impact of Inefficient Communications in Healthcare,” is available here (registration required).

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