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Posts Tagged ‘patient engagement’

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.

Addressing Health Equity with Digital Communications

Tuesday, April 19th, 2022

According to a HIMSS Market Insights study, nine out of ten healthcare executives see health equity as a top business priority. Improving health equity can drive value for other business metrics including patient satisfaction, provider retention, health outcomes, and cost reduction. Using personalized, scalable digital communications can be an effective way to address health equity issues.

health equity

 

What is Health Equity?

According to the CDC, health equity is “achieved when every person has the opportunity to attain his or her full health potential and no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances.”

Under President Biden, the Department of Health and Human Services has prioritized health equity in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 highlighted the racial, economic, and social disparities of the healthcare system. COVID-19 killed Black, Latino, and Indigenous people at double the rate of White people. Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders remain three times as likely to contract the illness compared to White people. Addressing the social, cultural, racial, and economic factors that contribute to this disparity is essential to improving individual and population health.

Improve Health Equity with Digital Messaging

Digital messaging is just one tool that can be used to improve health equity. Today’s technologies make it easier to communicate with patients at scale. Email and text messaging are two scalable and cost-effective options for engaging with patients. To address health equity issues with email and text messaging, it is essential to utilize segmentation and personalization techniques.

Segmentation and Personalization

Thanks to the widespread use of EHR systems, healthcare marketers can access a wide variety of patient data. These health records not only contain information about health conditions, but also information about demographic and racial categories.

Marketers can create segments of patients that share common characteristics and develop messaging that speaks to their needs. Redpoint Global found that personalized messages had a response rate that was 7x that of generic messages. By personalizing digital communications, it is possible to reach more patients and improve health outcomes.

An Example of Personalization and Segmentation

Let’s use the COVID-19 vaccine rollout as an example. The vaccines were available for certain age groups first, with some exceptions for those with pre-existing conditions or job roles. Using demographic data from the patient database, marketers sent targeted campaigns to segments of patients when they were eligible for a vaccine appointment. These highly relevant emails were very effective at encouraging sign ups.

Age is one way to segment the audience, but let’s take it another step further to address health equity. In addition to age information, a health record also contains information like the patient’s native language and communication preferences. By further segmenting the patient population using these factors and personalizing the message content, it can increase response rates and close care gaps. For example, sending a Spanish version of the vaccine sign-up communication to Spanish-speaking patient populations increases the likelihood that those patients will understand and act on the message. Another example is sending a text message instead of an email to households that lack broadband access. This ensures that everyone receives the message, regardless of income level or geography.

For more information, learn how this Colorado health care provider used personalized text messaging in their COVID vaccine rollout. They reached nearly 80% of their patient population with targeted outreach and community support.

Conclusion

Digital communications like email and texting can be highly effective ways to reach marginalized patient populations. However, do not forget about HIPAA compliance! Communications personalized and segmented using ePHI need to be secured.

LuxSci offers secure email services and texting designed to meet HIPAA requirements. If you would like to learn more about how to address health equity with secure communications, please contact us today.

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

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