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How can care teams combat clinical complexity?

April 1, 2021

Clinical complexities create challenging questions for care teams

For every member of the clinical team, a common mission persists: make the right decisions and deliver high-quality care that drives optimal patient outcomes. But the COVID-19 pandemic, along with a steady increase in healthcare complexity, mean that care team coordination and information sharing are more crucial than ever before.

Meanwhile, clinicians are seeing a higher volume of patients, many of whom are better informed and want to participate in shared treatment decisions. This generates more questions in clinicians’ minds per patient encounter—about diagnoses, treatment plans, drug therapies, and so on. But, 60% of these questions go unanswered because there isn’t enough time to pursue them.1 With so much medical information available from multiple sources—from Wikipedia, YouTube, and Google to PubMed and reference databases—it can be difficult to know what’s accurate and current. It’s also time consuming to evaluate the validity of these sources—which will only get increasingly difficult as medical information continues to grow exponentially. If the care team finds insufficient or conflicting answers to their questions, it can result in an inconsistent care experience for the patient. And the risks are great: for physicians and nurses, it could mean misdiagnosis and carrying out the wrong treatment; for pharmacists, it could lead to an adverse drug event. Avoiding potential negative outcomes requires a new approach. Rather than spend time searching for information across multiple sources, the entire care team needs a single source of relevant, evidence-based content tailored to every question they face—whether it’s a simple, in-the-moment decision or a complex case that requires deeper investigation. But getting there isn’t easy. To improve clinical practice through informed, confident decisions, the care team must overcome numerous challenges, including:

  • Ever-increasing complexity of diseases, medicine, and practice

  • Balancing efficiency and consistency across the care continuum

  • Difficulty keeping up with clinical and patient trends

man in hospital bed wearing mask

Adverse drug events cause nearly 700k ER department visits and 100k hospitalizations each year. (2)