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Posts Tagged ‘email marketing’

Infrastructure Requirements for Marketing and Transactional Email

Tuesday, June 14th, 2022

To design an appropriate email infrastructure, organizations must understand the types of emails they plan to send. Outside of regular business communications between colleagues, marketing and transactional emails are used to communicate externally with clients and customers. Although they are often lumped together, transactional and marketing emails serve different purposes and require different hardware configurations to successfully send emails with good deliverability.

marketing and transactional email

What are Marketing Emails?

Marketing emails primarily contain content intended for a commercial purpose, like advertisements, promotions, or other marketing messages. Marketing emails are sent to groups of contacts that are prospects or customers to influence them to make a purchase or take a commercial action.

Some examples of marketing emails include:

  • Customer newsletters
  • Promotional offers
  • Event invitations
  • Other types of sales communications

One significant difference between marketing and transactional emails is that recipients must explicitly opt-in to receive marketing emails. It is against CAN-SPAM rules to send unsolicited marketing emails to people who have not consented to receive them. The penalties for non-compliance can be quite severe. Always allow individuals to opt out of marketing emails to stay compliant.

What are Transactional Emails?

Transactional emails are messages that relate to previous interactions or commercial relationships with a company. Users trigger email sending by taking specific actions, and the emails contain only information that is critical and relevant to the recipient.

Examples of transactional emails include:

  • Transaction receipts
  • Order updates and shipping notifications
  • Password resets and security notifications
  • Appointment reminders
  • Review requests

Transactional emails facilitate an already agreed-upon transaction or update a customer about an ongoing transaction. Transactional messages are exempt from most provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act, and recipients do not have to opt in to receive emails. For example, when someone orders a pair of sneakers online, the company does not need permission to email them when the order ships out.

How do I know if an email is a transactional or marketing message?

The email content determines whether a message is transactional or marketing. Some emails can contain both messages. We recommend asking three questions to ensure compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act:

  1. What is the primary purpose of the message?
  2. Whom is the message sent to?
  3. Is the content misleading or deceptive?

First, what is the primary reason for sending the message? If the purpose is to remind a client of their upcoming appointment, that should be evident. Organizations can include a marketing message (perhaps offering them a coupon to use on additional services at their appointment). Still, the subject line and main message should emphasize the upcoming appointment.

Secondly, is there an existing relationship between the organization and the recipient? Did the recipient willingly join a mailing list? Or purchase a product from the company? The answer, in combination with the purpose of the email, will identify what type of mailing this is.

Finally, do not try and launder marketing messages as transactional emails. Sending an email with a misleading subject line like “Your Order Status” containing little to no information about a recent order is not permitted by CAN-SPAM.

Infrastructure Requirements

Most organizations need to send both types of email. The email sending requirements for sending bulk marketing emails differ from transactional emails. Marketing emails are one message sent in bulk to a large list of recipients. For example, a list of previous customers is sent an email promotion announcing a sale on sandals. Sending one email to thousands of recipients at the same time requires different memory and CPU than messages sent on a one-to-one basis. It typically does not matter if the sandal promotion reaches the recipient’s inbox at 10:00 am or 10:15 am. The message contents are not seriously time-sensitive. In the case of a marketing email, sending volume is more important than sending speed.

On the contrary, transactional emails are sent on a one-to-one basis and can be highly time-sensitive. Emails like password resets and order confirmations must arrive in the recipient’s inbox immediately after submission. This requires a different server configuration from marketing emails because speed is more important than sending volume. Designing different server configurations for marketing and transactional email is highly recommended to achieve sending goals.

At LuxSci, we design custom server configurations to meet the volume and throughput requirements for organizations of any size.

HIPAA Requirements

Both marketing and transactional emails could fall under HIPAA regulations. Any communications that imply a relationship between a healthcare provider and a patient should be encrypted and follow HIPAA requirements. LuxSci provides both a Secure Email Marketing platform and Secure High Volume Email services to support the emailing requirements for HIPAA covered entities and their associates.

Contact LuxSci today to learn more about configuring an email infrastructure to support high volumes of marketing and transactional emails.

Promoting Health Literacy with Email Engagement

Tuesday, March 29th, 2022

In the final installment of our series on using digital technology for patient engagement, we discuss how email can promote health literacy and help patients manage chronic conditions.

health literacy

Patient Education and Health Literacy

Chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease require a high degree of health literacy to manage effectively at home. Health literacy is the ability to understand, engage, and act upon health information. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic found that heart failure patients with lower levels of health literacy saw higher hospital admission and mortality rates. Therefore, boosting levels of health literacy for chronic disease patients is essential to improving health outcomes.

Of course, patient education and health literacy start with the in-person interactions a patient has with their health care provider. However, once a patient leaves the office, education should not stop. Using digital channels to reinforce medical messaging and can help keep patients up to date with developments in their treatment plans and prognosis.

Email is an excellent way to engage patients. It is minimally intrusive and asynchronous, meaning patients can read the material whenever it is convenient for them. Better yet, email messages can be personalized to meet the needs of individual patients with minimal time and effort.

Email Campaign Examples to Promote Health Literacy

To illustrate how email can improve health literacy, let’s take an example. A patient recently diagnosed with diabetes has a lot to learn about managing their health. Diabetes is a chronic condition that requires substantial lifestyle changes. Non-adherence to treatment can have serious consequences, including hospitalization and death. A patient is likely to meet with a health care provider on a regular basis to discuss their treatment plan, but the amount of information can be overwhelming. Sending follow up emails that reiterate important information can help patients understand and absorb the messaging received from their doctor.

Some potential campaign ideas include:

  • how to use insulin pumps
  • managing blood sugar
  • what to do if blood sugar is too low or too high
  • learning about A1C levels
  • information on preventing serious complications
  • information on nutrition and meal planning
  • exercise ideas
  • sharing information about diabetes support groups and events

Being diagnosed with a chronic health condition can have serious mental health impacts. Helping patients feel supported with resources and access to medical information throughout the lifestyle changes is very important.

Personalizing Email Campaigns

Here comes our regular reminder: sending emails that contain ePHI like those mentioned above, need to comply with HIPAA. Once HIPAA requirements are met, organizations can personalize emails with patient data. In addition to sending medical information, campaigns can be personalized further using demographic data.

Patients that suffer from chronic conditions and are members of ethnic minority groups often experience worse health outcomes than their white counterparts. To address health equity issues, use segmentation to target select groups with messaging specific to their needs. This could include creating campaigns in multiple languages, addressing diet and exercise tips in a culturally sensitive way, or providing more resources to help these groups afford testing and insulin.

The power of email personalization allows health care providers to provide accurate and timely information to their patients.

Conclusion

Learning to live with a chronic health condition is not an easy task. To help prevent hospital visits and deteriorating health, promoting health literacy is essential. Supplementing doctor visits with personalized email campaigns can help answer patient questions and help them adjust to living with a chronic illness. Contact LuxSci today if you would like to learn more about HIPAA-compliant email marketing campaigns.

Improve Access to Preventative Healthcare with Email

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022

Next up in our series on patient education and engagement, we look at ways to encourage preventative healthcare with digital technologies.

 

Vaccines and Flu Shot Information

It’s challenging to encourage individuals to get a yearly flu shot. There are many reasons that people do not get annual flu shots. Some of these reasons include:

  • not enough time
  • don’t think they need one
  • don’t know where or when to get one

Accordingly, one way to expand outreach efforts is with a series of personalized and educational emails. Using a patient database, it’s easy to identify the patients who are at the highest risk of suffering severe consequences from contracting the flu. Subsequently, the marketing team can put together a series of educational emails that address some of the common questions including:

  • why flu shots are important to public health
  • how to schedule a flu shot appointment
  • promotions to incentivize populations with lower vaccination rates

In addition, patient education can also help combat vaccine misinformation. The Covid-19 vaccine rollout represents a good example. The lack of compelling information from official sources led people to the Internet and social media to search for information about the vaccines. Despite local and national government efforts, the information void was filled by misinformation. Reaching out to patients before they encountered misinformation could have helped increase trust and increased vaccination rates.

Preventative Healthcare Screenings and Testings

Preventative healthcare screenings for cancer, blood pressure, and diabetes are recommended on a yearly basis. Identifying these conditions and treating them early on can drastically improve health outcomes. However, many people do not know when to get screened. Many tests do not apply until patients reach a certain age bracket or if they have certain risk factors. Email campaigns can target patients who meet the criteria for a preventative screening.

Next, let’s look at another example. Breast cancer screenings are recommended for women when they reach 40 years old. A healthcare marketer could create an email campaign to let eligible patients know how to schedule a mammogram. This campaign could provide educational information on why screenings are important, what patients can expect at their mammogram, and how to schedule an appointment. Promotional tactics can also encourage more signups. Early detection of cancer saves lives, and it’s incredibly important to conduct these screenings.

Appointment Scheduling

Furthermore, it is important that patients come in for annual appointments. These appointments are where many screening procedures occur. Skipping an annual appointment can mean missing the early symptoms of a serious health condition. Email campaigns can help close care gaps and encourage patients who have missed appointments to reschedule. Removing barriers to care and increasing the number of communication touch points can improve patient engagement.

The Power of Personalization in Preventative Healthcare

Finally, emails are even more powerful when they are personalized using ePHI. Marketers can use audience segmentation to break down patient populations into distinct groups and create relevant messaging. However, to segment and personalize email marketing messages with ePHI, the organization must use a HIPAA-compliant marketing solution. Read our other blogs for more information on selecting a HIPAA-compliant email marketing platform.

By targeting distinct patient groups, marketing teams can create highly relevant messages that increase patient engagement. Let’s take the earlier breast cancer screening campaign example. This campaign is particularly relevant to women in their 40s and 50s who may be unfamiliar with the screening process and how to schedule a mammogram. If this campaign was sent to an entire patient population, it would be confusing and annoying. Young women may mistakenly believe they needed to get screened, and men would be annoyed by the unnecessary email outreach.

Targeting the right population at the right time with the right message is key to marketing success. Using patient data in a safe way allows the marketing team to create highly personalized campaigns that help patients access preventative healthcare.

Conclusion

To conclude, educational email campaigns can encourage patients to access preventative care that they may not know is available. To achieve the best results, marketers can use segmentation and personalization to create highly targeted email campaigns to help patients achieve desired health outcomes. For more information on creating HIPAA-compliant email marketing campaigns, check out LuxSci’s Secure Marketing tool.

Engage Patients with Educational Messaging

Tuesday, March 15th, 2022

Educating patients about their upcoming medical procedures is an important part of building trust and increasing retention. Using digital technologies to educate patients is just one way to reinforce messaging and improve patient compliance. This article provides some examples of how to digitally engage with patients both before and after undergoing a medical procedure.

patient education

Read the rest of this post »

Should You Integrate Secure Email Sending with an EMR or EHR?

Tuesday, February 8th, 2022

Email is the preferred medium for business communications. Although those in the healthcare industry face restrictions on how they can use email, it is a powerful tool if properly secured. By integrating secure email with an EMR or EHR system, healthcare organizations can automate communications to maximize efficiency.

integrate secure email

What Are EMRs and EHRs?

Electronic medical records (EMRs) are digitized versions of medical records. EMRs are sometimes referred to as electronic health records (EHRs). Even though these terms are often used interchangeably, there are slight distinctions between them.

Let’s start with electronic medical records. EMRs are essentially electronic versions of patient charts. They record a patient’s medical history and treatments at one hospital or practice. EMRs tend to stay at the practice, even if a patient switches to a new provider.

In contrast, EHRs contain a record of a patient’s medical history and treatment. They are long-term records that offer insight into a patient’s health, following them as they seek healthcare from different providers. EHRs are designed for information sharing. They help facilitate care when patients visit new clinics or hospitals.

Simply put, an EMR or EHR is the system used to manage or process these respective types of health records. Both EMRs and EHRs come with many of the same benefits and downsides as other forms of digitized information. The data is easier to find, access, and share, which can help speed up medical treatment and improve care. However, if the right data protection mechanisms aren’t in place, EHRs and EMRs are susceptible to data breaches and violations of privacy.

Why Integrate Secure Email with your EMR or EHR?

One of the main advantages of integrating secure email with an EMR or EHR is the ability to automate communications. Actions taken in the EMR can trigger email sequences. For example, an upcoming appointment can trigger an appointment reminder email. It requires no effort on the part of the office staff to send the email or make a phone call. The IT or marketing team simply creates the email template language and uses dynamic variables to personalize each email with the patient’s name, appointment date, and time.

If an organization integrates secure email with its EMR or EHR systems, they can set up automatic emails for a wide range of actions. Whenever there is relevant activity or an update on a patient’s chart, emails can be sent off without having to lift a finger. Some examples of emails that can be triggered by EMR activity include:

  • a request for a review post-appointment
  • follow up information on lab work or scheduling testing
  • flu shot or other vaccine reminders
  • password resets to access EHR

Ultimately, integrating secure transactional email with an EMR makes it easy to promote the organization and increase patient satisfaction. In addition, automating email workflows decreases the administrative burden on office staff without sacrificing the patient experience.

The Risks of Integrating Secure Email with an EMR or EHR 

It’s extremely important to select the right provider to integrate secure emails with an EMR or EHR. The HIPAA laws that govern medical records are stringent, and organizations face serious repercussions for violating them. The provider must comply with HIPAA regulations and encrypt outgoing emails that contain protected health information.

All encryption is not equal. A secure email provider like LuxSci allows users to choose the appropriate type of encryption to suit their email use cases. TLS encryption, which allows recipients to read encrypted emails directly in their inboxes, is appropriate for emailed appointment reminders, but is not suitable for something like lab or test results. Choose a provider who can meet your encryption needs.

Another factor to consider is desired sending rate. Many email providers use shared cloud servers which limit how quickly emails can be sent from an EMR. However, for emails that are time-sensitive, this can be an issue. Using a dedicated server configuration separate from the office’s regular day-to-day email sending has performance and security benefits. Improve your security posture by keeping EMR or EHR data isolated from other customers of your email provider. Learn more: Dedicated Server Benefits: How They Improve Security and Reliability.

Conclusion

Despite these challenges, services like LuxSci’s HIPAA-compliant Secure High Volume Email are specifically designed to help navigate the complex intersections of the regulations and transactional email sending. Our dedicated email solutions are custom-designed to meet our client’s sending needs while adhering to HIPAA requirements.