Whiteboards Are Improving Interprofessional Collaboration Among Hospital Providers

Feb 19, 2021

doctor and nurse

Interprofessional collaboration, the process by which healthcare providers from different fields work with one another to effectively treat a patient, is an integral part of patient treatment, and its effects are felt by patients and providers alike. A major metanalysis of over 4,700 abstracts revealed that effective interprofessional collaboration has a positive impact on patients, hospital staff, and other organizational factors within hospitals. These positive impacts included lower staff turnover and error rates and increases in patient satisfaction. 

patient’s hospital experience is inevitably more pleasant when the staff are well organized, knowledgeable about the patient, and appear to communicate and coordinate care with ease. A major part of this process is the implementation of hospital whiteboards, which can greatly improve interprofessional collaboration.  


Connecting the Dots: The Great Need for Interprofessional Collaboration 

The patient’s journey—from the moment they step into a healthcare facility all the way through their discharge— is filled with an interconnected care team comprised of any combination of physicians, nurses, therapists, pharmacists, radiologists, and many other healthcare professionals. Diagnosis and treatment consist of a large collection of spaced-out “dots,” each representative of an individual healthcare professional, that are connected by communication and interpersonal collaboration. 

For example, a radiation treatment plan for cancer includes several moving parts involving multiple providers, including:


  • A radiation oncologist in charge of communicating the rationale and the intent of the imaging
  • Simulation radiation therapists in charge of immobilization and image acquisition
  • The radiation oncologist, therapist/s, and others working together to generate target and normal tissue contours
  • A therapist/dosimetrist, oncologist, medical physicist working together to create a treatment plan
  • Therapists, physicians, and nursing staff working together to implement treatment

Even a patient that enters an emergency department (ED) for chest pain requires the collaboration of the ED doctor, cardiologist, radiologist, primary care physician, nurses, physical therapists, dieticians, and even possible social workers. The need for effective collaboration is urgent, and healthcare professionals need all the tools they can get to simplify interpersonal collaboration and make it more effective and beneficial for patients and providers. 


Improving Interprofessional Collaboration with Whiteboards 

The benefits of using whiteboards to communicate with patients are clear, but there is also a large advantage to using them as communication tools that relay information back and forth among physicians, lab technicians, nurses, and any other care team member involved in the care of specific patients. 

Whiteboards are routinely placed at nurses' stations to serve as coordination and communication tools. They are also normally placed in emergency departments to track incoming patients and at hospital labs and imaging areas to coordinate patient tests and results. 


  • When kept up to date with the latest patient information, these types of hospital whiteboards can help: 
  • Reduce medical errors (including adverse drug reactions, mortality, falls, hospital-acquired infections, and incorrect medication dosages.
  • Increase the speed and efficiency of patient transfers, test results, and tasks necessary for treatment.
  • Reduce process inefficiencies by streamlining communication and coordination among care team members
  • Improve staff relationships and reduce workplace stress
  • Improve patient satisfaction and care outcomes. When hospitals operate more efficiently and are more organized, patients feel that they are receiving the best professional care possible.
When communication and interpersonal collaboration are at an all-time high, hospitals also stand to reduce their costs through increased efficiency, higher HCAHPS scores (which leads to higher reimbursements)and lower rates of staff turnover. 

According to the 
World Health Organization, “implementing interprofessional collaboration and learning to work together...multiple disciplines can work more effectively as a team to help improve patient outcomes.” When placed in all areas of a healthcare facility and used effectively, custom whiteboards can make a significant difference in the level of communication and collaboration among care team members.  


Let us help you create a whiteboard that encourages collaboration, increases communication, and helps your staff provide better care for their patients. Get in touch with Ghent Healthcare today!