The importance of collaboration in healthcare has been the findings of numerous studies done on organizational excellence. Traditionally, members of a team tasked to render care to a particular client convene face to face, or exchange emails to collaborate. Nowadays, with the advent of new technology and innovation, collaboration can become more time and process efficient through the use of collaboration software, giving your organization a competitive advantage.
Consider this traditional scenario. Imagine a scattered workforce from several branches or departments needing to communicate to collaborate on some important issue. Let's say you are on your way to accreditation and things just aren't working out for you and your teams. They exchange emails, they make phone calls, and they meet face to face. What troubles do they encounter just to collaborate?
Relevant information from emails gets lost as they pile up. If you have forgotten the subject of the thread you are working on, you will get lost in the search. You will spend hours searching for that particular email. Phone calls are convenient. But the exchange of information has no evidence. A colleague claims she has mentioned the change over the phone. The person over the phone claims he has not discussed such. Ok, so now you prefer to meet face to face, but scrambling through your tight schedule, you have to cancel your dentist appointment to give way to collaboration. Meeting face to face is not an option when the person you are collaborating with is halfway across the globe.
So how does collaboration software help in this regard?
Collaboration software enables collaboration to happen through an electronic medium by meeting communication needs through a unified platform within an organization.
What can you do with a collaboration software?
These are few of the features that can be available from different providers or sellers.
- Enables multiple users to connect and work together on a task or project with the use of cellphones, computers or any similar devices. Think of decentralized workforce working on a project.
- Scheduling is easy because employee availability is plotted and available to see.
- Message boards with groups, chat threads are never lost, unlike emails.
- Reorganization of teams become less of a hassle because members can be deleted or added to a virtual group. Furthermore, teams have all information made available by the software.
- VoIP services and video-conferencing are possible
- Receiving messages and documents is just a click away. The speed of delivery matters.
- It usually comes with a knowledge portal. Think of an e-library or a medical wiki, only better, and more customized according to your organization’s need. As a manager, have a less worrisome day when the latest clinical updates have been received and acknowledged by recipients.
Given these excellent features of collaboration software, what do organizations expect out of employing this software?
The benefits of the software outweigh the investment you would have to put in. The list below gives a clear picture of the advantages of collaboration tools to an organization.
- Increased efficiency
It will save valuable time because search, file sending, collaboration on a project, message sending and video conferencing reduces the need for face time. It will also be process-efficient because communication becomes organized, structured and would be happening in one common portal. It will enable a user to respond to the most urgent matter, too.
- Improved productivity
Productivity is increased by 20-25% by the proper and timely interaction of workers through social technologies. (source) Searching through emails and sorting out messages is a productivity killer. Well, this is because it is not considered a productive task, but rather a disruptor task. The interrupt time becomes longer when searching for lost information in the email. Removing or reducing the interrupt factor would also mean improved productivity, because employees have more time for things that matter most, like patient care.
- Improved collaboration
Imagine coming up with a plan to improve a patient's heart condition. Each member receives a copy of the draft of the plan. Every team member provides input, makes edits, gives suggestions, and everyone in the team knows who did what. It becomes less time-consuming coming up with the final plan.
- Communication becomes easier
Communication through plain e-mails and phone calls can be cumbersome because information exchange among team members is not simultaneous and efficient unlike with a collaboration software.
- Creates organizational transparency
All in the group who needs to be in the know-how of a project is in one group discussion. Each one is in the light of what is transpiring between members. No gray areas. Only black and white.
- It can involve managers
E-mails fail to do this. A cc or a bcc simply won't be able to do it because e-mails do not show the interrelatedness of tasks as well as simultaneous comments and feedback from subordinates. In e-mails, the staff receives each feedback separately. It becomes hard to look at the big picture. A collaboration software enables tracking of employee progress, and that is one major burden off the manager's administrative tasks.
The features of collaboration software are improving and increasing over the years, and employing one for your organization means reaping all the benefits we mentioned above. What if you can even gamify tasks, and provide a recognition system to improve employee engagement as well as track employee progress over time? What you can accomplish can be boundless when you employ a collaboration software that will meet your needs.