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An Electronic Communication Workflow Optimization for Inpatient Specialist Consultation at an Academic Health Care SystemFunding This research was supported by NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS) UCLA CTSI Grant Number UL1TR001881.
Background and Significance
Specialist team consultation is a mainstay of modern medical practice due to the increased complexity of inpatient medicine. Timely consultation can be crucial to patient assessment and treatment plans; however, delayed consultation can occur due to communication barriers. Communication for specialist consultation in the inpatient setting is often dependent upon the use of hospital phone operators, pager devices, and web-based systems that are separate from the electronic health record (EHR). Given the growing amount of multidisciplinary care, limited human resources, and time constraints, it is advantageous to eliminate inefficiencies in communication wherever possible.
The adoption of inpatient technology-based EHR solutions for inpatient communication has been explored to address these inefficiencies. Weigert et al demonstrated that a web-paging system standardized with required fields improved user satisfaction. Other efforts have demonstrated potential for decreased errors, including permanent team pager numbers, care team identification, and messaging platforms.    One system to contact consultants directly improved team communication, though there is still need for further research to determine the most effective method for consulting specialists, and what the impact would be on time to consult by directly reaching consultants through the EHR.
* Co-first authors.
** Co-senior authors.
Protection of Human and Animal Subjects
The study was performed in compliance with the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki on Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects, and was reviewed by UCLA Institutional Review Board.
Received: 31 January 2022
Accepted: 05 May 2022
Article published online:
06 July 2022
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