" digital health Archives - LuxSci

Posts Tagged ‘digital health’

Prevent Patient No-Shows with Automated Appointment Reminders

Tuesday, September 6th, 2022

Missed medical appointments are not only bad for your business, but they can also negatively impact patient health outcomes. You can improve attendance and health outcomes without adding to administrative overhead by automating appointment reminders and customizing them according to patient preferences.

auto appointment reminders

Why Implement Automated Appointment Reminders

There are many reasons to introduce automated appointment reminders. People are busy, and many rely on digital calendars to stay organized. Many businesses outside the healthcare industry use digital appointment reminders to improve attendance and make scheduling and rescheduling appointments as easy as possible.

Changing Consumer Preferences

Most (88%) of customers said receiving automated appointment reminders via phone and text is important to them, according to a CVS Health survey. The rapid digitization of the healthcare system due to the Covid-19 pandemic has led patients to expect a healthcare experience that fits into their lifestyles. Reminders for haircuts, car appointments, and other personal care services are extremely common, and people expect that from their healthcare providers. In addition, communication preferences are changing. Very few people answer phone calls from unknown numbers. Instead, the majority of patients prefer less intrusive email and text reminders.

Improved Health Outcomes for Patients

As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Skipping appointments or delaying care puts patients at risk of developing more serious illnesses. Catching conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer early drastically improves prognoses and allows for less expensive and intrusive interventions. Most people don’t intend to skip medical appointments, but life happens. Sending timely appointment reminders before the visit gives overbooked individuals an opportunity to reschedule without a potentially costly missed appointment.

Reduced Administrative Overhead

If your administrative staff members are tasked with making phone calls to confirm appointments, automated reminders can allow them to prioritize other tasks associated with patient care. Keeping the phone lines open to help care for patients with urgent questions improves the patient experience and keeps staff members engaged.

How to Implement Automated Appointment Reminders

Most automated reminders are sent via email, text messaging, or phone calls. We recommend surveying your patient population to find out which communication methods they prefer. By sending the message according to their preference, it increases the likelihood that they will see it and respond appropriately.

Once that is determined, use a tool like LuxSci’s Secure High Volume Email or Secure Texting to integrate with your CRM or EHR and set up trigger points and reminder templates that pull information from the database. For example, maybe you find that five business days before the appointment is the best time to send the reminder. Patients need to have enough time to read the notification and reschedule if necessary. When the appointment is five days away, a message is automatically sent to the patient reminding them of the appointment. Ideally, this message will also include rescheduling options.

One caveat- notice that we mentioned “secure” email and texting. Appointment reminders imply information about health conditions and are PHI that is protected under HIPAA regulations. These messages must be encrypted and follow other HIPAA requirements for access controls, audit logs, and more. Review our HIPAA Compliance Checklist for more information.

Accelerating Digital Health Transformation

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the digital transformation of the health care industry. Telehealth and virtual care delivery rapidly took off out of necessity, but this shift has been coming for a long time. Changing consumer preferences and new technologies are leading healthcare systems to pursue digital transformation.

digital health transformation

What is Digital Health Transformation?

According to HIMSS, “Digital health connects and empowers people and populations to manage health and wellness, augmented by accessible and supportive provider teams working within flexible, integrated, interoperable and digitally enabled care environments that strategically leverage digital tools, technologies and services to transform care delivery.”

Digital health transformation involves using a variety of technologies to improve the patient’s journey throughout the healthcare system. Transformation often starts with the implementation of electronic health records, but it doesn’t stop there. A survey of health care technology executives conducted by Deloitte, found that 92% wanted to achieve better consumer satisfaction and engagement from digital transformation.

Other goals that organizations seek to address with digital transformation include:

  • improving patient satisfaction and engagement
  • improving patient health outcomes
  • ability to compete with disrupters and alternatives
  • increasing revenue growth
  • improving cost efficiency
  • increasing agility and scalability
  • improving employee satisfaction

Why Pursue Digital Transformation in Healthcare?

Consumer preferences are driving changes to the healthcare industry. Today, consumers can order goods online with same-day delivery. There is transparency throughout the order, shipping, and delivery process. People are used to having instant access to consumer goods, and are starting to expect the same experience from their healthcare providers.

The healthcare system is notoriously slow and inefficient. Patients are used to waiting weeks or months for appointments and often have difficulty navigating the healthcare system. Provider referrals, prescription refills, and accessing medical records and lab results can be confusing. Digital transformation allows health care organizations to incorporate technology to meet patient expectations and improve their experiences.

Generational attitudes are also changing the healthcare industry. Younger populations are more likely to switch healthcare providers if their communication preferences are not met. A 2019 study found that patients aged 18 to 24 are three times as likely (61%) to consider switching providers over a poor digital experience compared to the over-65 population (21%).

In addition, the healthcare industry is also dealing with staffing shortages. Many organizations are looking for technology that can automate processes and alleviate administrative burdens, allowing providers to spend more time on patient care.

How to Digitally Transform the Healthcare System

It goes without saying that digital transformation is a long process that requires a clear strategy. After the pandemic-induced changes, many healthcare organizations are now stepping back to define their budget and strategy. A Deloitte survey found that 52% of organizations surveyed still had more than three years remaining on their implementation strategy. An additional 20% were still in the planning stage.

Introducing new technology without a clear purpose or strategy should be avoided. A poorly executed transition can lead to clinician burnout, a poor patient experience, and negative business outcomes.

The possibilities for digital health transformation are endless. For some organizations, transformation could include incorporating technologies like:

  • telehealth
  • AI and clinical decision making
  • Big data and predictive healthcare
  • Virtual reality
  • Wearable medical devices that feed data to a patient’s health record
  • Blockchain data custody

The technology options are endless, but it’s important to focus on organizational goals. For example, putting healthcare records on the blockchain sounds trendy and cool, but it is a major project that requires, planning, IT support, and funding. If the organization’s goal is to improve the patient experience, moving patient data from an EHR to the blockchain may not meet that goal. Instead, organizations should create a list of priorities and explore how different technologies help solve those problems. Perhaps enhancing patient portal messaging would improve the patient experience more than a move to the blockchain.

Conclusion

Many healthcare organizations are pursuing digital health transformation to better serve their patients. When implementing any new technology, it’s important to thoroughly vet options. Switching technology vendors can be even more difficult than implementing a new solution. Make sure that any third-party vendor can implement the solution without sacrificing security and compliance.