Improving Interdisciplinary Communication in Healthcare Organizations

Client: New York­Presbyterian Hospital – Interdisciplinary Communication
Faculty: Anthony Kovner, Willie Manzano, Rosemary Sullivan
Team: Mary Anne Badillo, Elizabeth Farley, Susan Lantz, Diahann Roberts­Smith, Glodean Yorrick
Year: 2011
Effective interdisciplinary communication is associated with reduced length of stay, improved patient safety, and increased employee satisfaction. However, communi­cation breakdowns are common in com­plex hospital settings and multiple com­munication structures often exist within the same organization. The Capstone team sought to evaluate current communication systems and make recommendations for improving interdisciplinary communication in hospital settings. After conducting site visits and staff interviews at Columbia and Cornell, the team identified highly functional interdisciplinary teams at both campuses. The team also evaluated best practices in interdisciplinary communication during site visits to other organizations. Based on characteristics of the highly functional teams, detailed interviews, site visits, and research from an extensive literature review on this topic, the Capstone team developed a pilot program for implementing an effective interdisciplinary communication structure on a hospital unit. Significant components of the pilot program include greater accountability, a focus on teamwork, and strong support from leadership.