Skip to content Skip to navigation

Study: Pagers, Outdated Communication Tech Costing Hospitals

May 7, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints

According to a new study from the Traverse City, Mich.-based Ponemon Institute, collectively, U.S. hospitals are losing $8.3 billion annually due to the use of pagers and outdated communicates technologies. These technologies, the study’s authors say decrease clinician productivity and increase patient discharge time.

Ponemon Institute surveyed 577 healthcare professionals for the study, which was sponsored by the Lexington, Mass.-based security software company, Imprivata. What they found was the average clinician wastes 45 minutes per day as a result of inefficient communication systems. Translated, Ponemon’s researchers found, this costs the average hospital nearly $1 million annually. Furthermore, increased patient discharge times due to these communication failures can cost a hospital more than $550,000 per year in lost revenue.

“Our research uncovered several sobering realities about the negative impacts of antiquated communication technologies and security policies on a hospital’s bottom line as well as on doctor productivity,” stated Larry Ponemon, Ph.D., chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute. “For instance, doctors say they spend only about 45 percent of their time actually interfacing with patients, in large part because they must deal with inefficient communications technologies such as pagers. Outmoded technologies also contribute significantly to increased patient discharge times, which average about 101 minutes.”

Ponemon, who is notable for his organization’s annual healthcare privacy and security report, says smartphones could help solve many of these communication issues. However, he notes, they hospital leaders are hesitant to adopt them because of “challenging regulatory compliance requirements.”

Of those surveyed in the report, more than half say the inefficiency of pagers (52 percent) is the biggest drag in clinician’s time. This is followed by the lack of Wi-Fi availability (39 percent), the inadequacy of email (38 percent) and the inability to use text messaging (36 percent). Overall, clinicians say 45 percent of their time is spent with patients, while the remaining 55 percent is spent communicating and collaborating with other clinicians, or using electronic medical records and other clinical IT systems.

Topics

News

Study: Patients with Low Health Literacy Less Likely to Use Health IT

Advancements with patient-facing health information technology tools, such as wearables, patient portals and mobile apps, have the potential to improve healthcare delivery, yet low health literacy may be a barrier to patients’ use of electronic tools.

Senate to Vote on 21st Century Cures Monday

Following the U.S. House of Representatives passing the 21st Century Cures Act earlier this week, the Senate is expected to vote on the legislation Monday, Dec. 5.

Study: Telemedicine as Effective as In-Person Treatment for Depression

Treating depression with evidence-based psychotherapy via videoconferencing can be a viable alternative to in-person treatment, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Northwell Health, Siemens Partner on Outcomes-Based Research, Population Health

Siemens Healthineers and Great Neck, N.Y.-based Northwell Health have formed a research partnership aimed at developing research projects centered on clinical effectiveness and outcomes research utilizing data analytics-based population health evidence.

Survey: Healthcare Moving to the Cloud for Patient Engagement, Analytics

A survey from HIMSS Analytics and Level 3 indicates that healthcare organizations are ready to embrace cloud technologies, citing cost savings and the more scalable platform as key motivating factors.

IBM Unveils Watson-Powered Imaging Solutions at RSNA

Merge Healthcare and Watson Health, both IBM companies, unveiled new imaging solutions utilizing machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies at the Radiological Society of North America Annual Meeting (RSNA 2016) in Chicago this week.