U.S. Hospitals Waste $12 Billion Annually Because of Poor Communication
Biggest Losses Seen in Patient Delays and Unnecessary Stays
To put the
“Simply stated, the average hospital wastes a figure that is in substantial proportion to the amount it makes,” said
In an article, Agarwal and CHIDS researchers say the solution to these inefficiencies rests largely in investment in information technology that would help streamline communication among hospital caregivers. Theirs is a timely observation following the
“An infusion of IT investment in the U.S. health care system is sorely needed as a step toward ensuring long-term sustainability,” said Agarwal. “This research quantifies and supports what we’ve intuitively known for some time – information technology is a critical component in creating the cost efficiencies that will enable us to revamp and repair our beleaguered health care system – efficiencies that will be passed along to the consumer to significantly improve patient quality of care and access.”
Agarwal points to solutions that include location-based technology that would help staff identify caregivers’ locations at all times and shared communication systems that would allow nurses to identify an attending physician. These investments would significantly reduce the amount of time and resources wasted identifying and locating attending caregivers, as well as the likelihood of hospital error. She also suggests telecommunications systems to facilitate remote consultations with specialists, thereby reducing patient travel and waiting time. Future CHIDS papers and studies will look at how process changes and applications of technology at the hospital level can alleviate these inefficiencies.
In conducting the research, Agarwal,
CHIDS’ research and mission is connected to issues currently under discussion as critical to the nation’s economy and future. As an academic research center with collaboration from industry and government affiliates, it is designed to research, analyze and recommend solutions to challenges surrounding the introduction and integration of information and decision technologies into the health care system. CHIDS’ corporate members include: Cisco Systems, Inc., Johnson & Johnson and CNSI, Inc. More information, including the research briefing “Quantifying the Economic Impact of Communication Inefficiencies in U.S. Hospitals,” can be found at the center’s Web site: www.rhsmith.umd.edu/CHIDS.
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The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 13 colleges and schools at the
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