Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation

Enhancing Care Team Communication

Nurses and physicians reported saving an average of 60-90 minutes a day using a shared communication platform.


Effective communication among providers in the hospital is critical to improve quality, safety, and efficiency.

Past studies have shown that technology may improve operational efficiency and provider and patient satisfaction with communication.


We observed and engaged care team members on two medical floors over a two-day period to understand communication barriers and needs for patient care teams. In the current state, different care team roles use different communication tools. This limits their ability to identify and engage one another to deliver and obtain patient information. After learning about care team experiences and preferences, we created simple sketches representing iPhone applications that appealed to needs we identified:

  • Reduce time to identify the right care team member.
  • Reduce time to “close the loop” or get the info you need.
  • Increase employee satisfaction.

We showed these to care team staff to get reactions and test assumptions. This allowed us to engage individuals and clearly define what they were solving for.


The insights gathered from this 48 hour contextual and generative study informed three directions within the health system to experiment on how we might enhance care team communication:

  • A pilot with an existing platform, cureatr™, that reportedly saved nurses and physicians an average of 60-90 min a day in communication.
  • A collaboration with a local start-up to develop a "patient centric" communication platform, which would allow communication to be based around each individual patient's current core care team.
  • Enhancing our current mobile EMR application “MedView Mobile” with communication capabilities.

This project was selected among 31 competitive entries from hospitals and health systems across the region as a second place winner in the 2014 Delaware Valley Quality and Patient Safety Awards. In recognition of this honor, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania received a grant of $2,000 toward the advancement of quality and patient safety initiatives.


Neha Patel MD
MS Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine Section of Hospital Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

William Hanson MD
Chief Medical Information Officer, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

House and Nursing Staff of the Cardiovascular Service Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

The House-staff Quality and Safety Leadership Council Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

Full Case Study:
> iPhone Project Report

Project Poster: accepted to Annuai IHI forum.
> IHI Story Board

Delaware Valley Patient Safety and Quality Awards
> Second Place Winner Video

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Learn More:
> Contact the Project Team