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Posts Tagged ‘patient engagement’

Precision Nudging and Patient Engagement: Using PHI to Improve Outcomes

Friday, January 20th, 2023

Precision nudging is a new buzzword in the patient engagement space. But what does it mean, and how does it apply to your email engagement efforts?

precision nudging email with PHI

What is Precision Nudging?

Forrester defines precision nudging as “the act of notifying or sending a message that prompts action by the patient to overcome patient-specific barriers to action at the right time and place for scalable, sustained behavior change.”

Precision nudging is a preemptive and proactive approach to patient communication. Reminding patients about appointments before they occur can ensure they do not miss important screenings and checkups. By receiving timely diagnoses and treatments, it saves money and improves health outcomes in the long term. Automating these processes at scale can streamline clinical communications and improve patient satisfaction. Beyond appointment reminders, there are many applications for this strategy.

Precision Nudging Strategies

The most critical part of precision nudging is delivering information to the patient at the correct time. Some common ways organizations are adopting precision nudging include:

  • Appointment reminders
  • Medication refill reminders
  • Pre and post-surgery instructions
  • Chronic condition education and resources
  • Mental health check-ins
  • Annual screening reminders

Sending notifications that nudge patients into taking necessary actions is a practical patient engagement strategy. Engaging with patients more frequently can build trust with the provider and encourage patients to take early action that improves their health. Precision nudging can prevent unnecessary visits to the hospital and ultimately drive down spiraling healthcare costs. So many unnecessary hospital admissions occur because patients do not understand or adhere to treatment plans. Nudging patients to change bandages, take medication, or get preventative screenings increases the likelihood of better health outcomes.

How to Use PHI in Precision Nudging

When communicating with patients about their healthcare, it’s essential to use a secure and encrypted communication channel. Regular texts and emails won’t cut it. 93% of patients prefer to communicate with their healthcare provider via email, so it’s wise to start there.

Also, make sure these messages are not locked behind a patient portal. Use TLS encryption to secure the email to make it as easy as possible to read and respond to, while staying in compliance.

Once you have determined your channel, determine your audience. It makes sense to start small. Maybe you want to encourage individuals who have skipped an appointment to reschedule or want to help people recently diagnosed with a chronic condition like diabetes better manage their condition.

Then, create your message. Make sure it is clear, concise, and has a simple call to action. Also, personalize it to fit the audience’s preferences. If the patient primarily speaks Spanish, provide a message in their native language.

Once you’ve established the proper cadence, you can expand your use cases to some examples above. Using a scalable and HIPAA-compliant platform like LuxSci’s Secure Marketer or Secure High Volume Email makes it easy to personalize, send, and review the results of these campaigns. Contact us today to learn more about how to incorporate precision nudging into your clinical communications efforts.

The Benefits of Dedicated IP Addresses vs. Shared

Thursday, December 22nd, 2022

Choosing a dedicated or shared IP address may seem like an inconsequential decision, but it can significantly impact the effectiveness of your patient engagement efforts. Learn why dedicated IP addresses are preferred for transactional and marketing emails in the healthcare industry.

dedicated ip address

What is a Dedicated IP Address?

An IP address is a string of unique characters that can be found in the headers of your sent emails. Internet service providers use them to identify the origin of the email message. ISPs use the IP address’s reputation to determine if the message is spam and should be delivered to the recipient.

Dedicated IP addresses belong to your organization and cannot be used by other customers of your email service provider. By having a dedicated IP address, the server’s reputation and delivery power are a function only of the organization’s sent mail. Dedicated IP addresses have several advantages, including:

  • No shared resources with other senders
  • Reputation management and brand safety
  • Improved email deliverability
  • Easier to troubleshoot blacklisting issues

We will discuss the benefits of dedicated IP addresses and what they mean for your organization later.

What is a Shared IP Address?

In contrast, a shared IP address does not belong to your organization and is shared among the customers of an email service provider. Shared IPs are the default option for many email service providers. Upgrading to a dedicated IP usually incurs an additional fee, so many organizations get started using a shared IP address. It is a cost-effective solution for some smaller organizations with limited or small sending needs. No IP warm-up is required since the address is active and in use, meaning it’s easy to start sending quickly. However, as organizations grow and their sending needs increase, they may be frustrated with the following:

  • Slow email delivery
  • Undelivered emails
  • Emails frequently flagged as spam
  • Blacklisted IP addresses

When email becomes a critical business channel, it’s often time to switch from a shared IP to a dedicated solution.

The Benefits of Dedicated IP Addresses for Patient Engagement Emails

Healthcare organizations that rely on email should strongly consider using dedicated IP addresses to improve trust and ensure critical communications are sent on time and are received in patients’ inboxes. If patients cannot receive critical information about appointments, prescriptions, or other healthcare needs, it will negatively impact their experience and may cause them to choose another provider.

No shared resources with other senders

When sending substantial quantities of time-sensitive emails, your sending speed may be limited by others using a shared IP address. Important emails (like password resets and appointment reminders) can get stuck in long sending queues, and you will have no control over when the messages are sent out. In contrast, you have complete control over your sending speed and resources when using a dedicated IP address (or multiple IP addresses). External users will never slow you down.

Reputation management and brand safety

Another perk of using a dedicated IP address is that you can match it to your company’s DNS records. To do this, your mail server’s IP address to send outbound emails must have a “Reverse DNS.” This is the responsibility of the email service provider (at LuxSci, we set this up automatically). If set up incorrectly or missing, you will have significant deliverability issues.

When someone performs a reverse DNS lookup on a company’s dedicated IP address, it will clearly identify the sender and provides additional information about the company. This data builds trust and improves your reputation with ISPs.

Improved email deliverability

The main reason many choose dedicated IP addresses is to improve the deliverability of their emails. If email service providers do a terrible job vetting their customers and allow spammers to use their service, bad actors can quickly contaminate reliable IP addresses. When using dedicated IP addresses, you can control the IP warm-up process and prevent employees from engaging in spammy practices. By having full control over your IP reputation, you can improve the deliverability of your emails and prevent them from being flagged as spam.

Easier to troubleshoot blacklisting issues

Though most ISPs will not acknowledge “whitelists,” senders using dedicated IP addresses can subscribe to Complaint Feedback Loop (CFL) programs to help minimize complaint rates. If you participate, ISPs will forward complaints from users about emails sent from your organization’s IP addresses.

Even if you can’t get on a whitelist, understanding when and why your IP address is blacklisted is valuable information. When using a shared IP, it’s impossible to know why it was blacklisted. Another user could have sent spammy content, used a paid list, or sent a large mailing to an old contact list. To get off the blacklist, troubleshooting the issue, fixing it, and avoiding future mistakes are essential to increasing reputation and staying out of the spam filter. It’s easier to identify which emails are generating spam complaints when you aren’t sharing IP addresses.

Conclusion

Consider using dedicated IP addresses if your organization uses email for patient engagement efforts. They provide the reliability and reputational benefits you need to execute these campaigns at scale. Contact us today to learn more about how to engage patients with personalized email campaigns.

Rules for Using PHI in Patient Engagement

Friday, November 11th, 2022

As you know by now, we believe strongly in the benefits of using protected health information (PHI) to create highly targeted and personalized email campaigns. However, before you dive in and kick off your campaigns, you must be aware of the complex compliance requirements governing healthcare organizations’ marketing communications.

using PHI for patient engagement

Reminder: What is PHI?

PHI, or protected health information, is “individually identifiable protected health information.” Protected health information refers specifically to three classes of data:

  1. An individual’s past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition.
  2. The past, present, or future provisioning of health care to an individual.
  3. The past, present, or future payment-related information for the provisioning of health care to an individual.

For protected health information to be “individually identifiable,” the data can be linked to a specific individual (even if this is very indirect). There are 18 types of identifiers for an individual. Any one of these identifiers, combined with “protected health information,” would constitute PHI.

It’s often more complicated than it looks. For example, if you are running email campaigns, an email address is an individual identifier because it can be connected to a specific individual. That, combined with the email content, which often refers to the name of the provider, information about their health conditions, insurance coverage, or upcoming appointments, means that most communications from a healthcare practice could qualify as PHI.

HIPAA Rules for Using PHI in Patient Engagement

HIPAA regulates patient privacy. Healthcare organizations and their associates must obtain consent and implement technical safeguards before starting marketing campaigns.

HIPAA Privacy Rule

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Servicesyou must acquire consent to send marketing communications under the HIPAA Privacy Rule. It reads, “With limited exceptions, the Rule requires an individual’s written authorization before a use or disclosure of his or her protected health information can be made for marketing.”

The Privacy Rule defines “marketing” as “a communication about a product or service that encourages recipients of the communication to purchase or use the product or service.” This also applies to many patient engagement communications.  

Generally, if the communication is “marketing,” then the communication can only occur if the covered entity obtains an individual’s authorization. Organizations must keep track of who has consented to receive marketing communications and allow them to opt-out at any time. We further discuss the nuances of patient consent for marketing communications here.

HIPAA Security Rule

All covered entities and their Business Associates are subject to the HIPAA Security Rule. If you are working with a vendor (like a marketing consultant, email marketing platform, or ad agency) that will have access to PHI, you need to enforce a Business Associate Agreement.

The HIPAA Security Rule categorizes the necessary safeguards into three categories: Physical, Administrative, and Technical Safeguards. More details about the requirements for each can be found here. Any vendor you choose to work with must follow these regulations. Some basic requirements include the following:

  • Physically protecting data and where it is stored,
  • Training staff on handling PHI, and
  • Setting up technology to protect PHI properly.

Assuming your patient engagement campaigns are primarily occurring via email, at a minimum, you must ensure that the email marketing vendor will:

  • Protect data at rest and
  • Protect data in transmission.

This means utilizing encryption to ensure that PHI cannot be eavesdropped on. Many popular email marketing vendors do not encrypt PHI in transmission. It’s extremely important to choose a provider who can protect PHI following HIPAA regulations.

hipaa compliant applications

The Benefits of Using PHI for Patient Engagement

Once you have established the proper policies and procedures, signed a BAA, and put any technical requirements in place, you can start segmenting and personalizing emails using PHI. Here are some segmentation and personalization ideas to get started.

By applying these techniques and using PHI in your patient engagement strategy, you can:

  • Design targeted patient journeys
  • Deliver better patient outcomes
  • Improve ROI and reduce costs

Contact us today to learn more about how to securely engage patients using PHI.

4 Email Personalization Strategies for Member Engagement

Friday, November 4th, 2022

For many benefits administrators, it’s open enrollment season! During this period, individuals can make changes to their insurance coverage. It’s vital to engage members to educate them about their plans and benefits to increase satisfaction, retain members, and acquire new enrollees. This article presents four email personalization strategies for member engagement.

member engagement strategies

Insurance Information is ePHI

Before we get to strategies for improving engagement, it’s worth reflecting on the regulatory hurdles. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, healthcare payers, insurers, and benefits administrators are covered entities. This means they must abide by HIPAA regulations when transmitting and storing protected health information (PHI).

Emails about an individual’s insurance coverage and eligibility, plan types and offerings, health status, and financial information are considered PHI and must be protected accordingly. We’ve written extensively about the HIPAA requirements for email elsewhere, but in brief, this means that emails containing PHI need to be encrypted and archived appropriately. Do not proceed with the following strategies until a HIPAA-compliant email solution is implemented correctly.

 

4 Email Personalization Strategies for Member Engagement

Segmentation and personalization are the keys to crafting messages that appeal to your audience. Particularly when it comes to healthcare coverage, there is no one-size fits all approach. Personalization techniques allow marketers to create highly relevant emails that the audience will find beneficial.

Age-Related Changes

In the US health insurance market, insurance coverage is often tied to age. As individuals reach new stages of life, there is an opportunity for them to change their insurance coverage. For example, insurers and benefits administrators can create targeted messaging to:

  • 26-year-old individuals about to enter the healthcare marketplace and
  • 65-year-old individuals who qualify for Medicare

It would not make sense to send these messages to a sizeable non-segmented email list because they would be irrelevant to the majority of recipients. By segmenting your email list by age and creating targeted messaging, you will receive a better response and return on investment from your email campaigns.

Plan and Benefit Educational Opportunities

There are many different types of health insurance coverage and benefit plans. Educating enrollees on their plan benefits makes them more likely to utilize their coverage and be satisfied with their plan. For example, if eligible members are not taking advantage of a dental benefit, it may be wise to create an email campaign that educates them on what they can access with their benefits.

Geography-Specific Messaging

There are often differences in enrollment periods, eligibility, and benefits in the US market on a state-by-state basis. Creating personalized messages based on the recipient’s residence makes the messages more relevant. For example, sending recipients the accurate enrollment date based on their residence is essential to getting people to sign up!

Health Status Messaging

You can also use information you know about your members to craft messages that can help improve their health. For example, it may be possible to know who is overdue for an annual appointment, and email messages can help them reschedule care. Similarly, several standard preventative screenings are tied to age and gender, like annual mammograms for women at 40 years old. By sending an email to all members who meet that criteria reminding them to get screened, it can improve population health and reduce costs.

Conclusion

Today’s consumers prefer email communications from businesses and brands. Personalizing your approach can improve your campaign performance and deliver significant results. If you want help improving your enrollment outreach with HIPAA-compliant email, contact LuxSci.

LuxSci and Compliancy Group Work Together to Transform Healthcare Communications

Wednesday, September 14th, 2022

Boston, MA- September 2022 – LuxSci, a provider of HIPAA-compliant email services, is pleased to announce a new partnership with Compliancy Group, a leading software solution for healthcare compliance. By partnering with LuxSci, Compliancy Group can offer best-in-class email security solutions to close technology gaps identified by their proprietary compliance platform.

“The way healthcare organizations communicate with patients is constantly evolving. These organizations often fail to realize that HIPAA regulates the ways in which providers can communicate with patients and the tools that they are permitted to use. As a forward-thinking email service provider, LuxSci has taken the steps required to meet HIPAA’s communication standards.” Kelly Koch, Director of Dental Relations, Compliancy Group.

The Covid-19 pandemic forced healthcare organizations to adopt new digital technologies quickly. Many turned to Compliancy Group to navigate the complex HIPAA compliance questions associated with new technologies like telehealth. Likewise, providers rapidly implemented digital tools, like LuxSci’s suite of HIPAA-compliant email solutions, to engage patients. The partnership allows LuxSci and Compliancy Group to help healthcare organizations address the difficult compliance questions that arise during digital transformation.

“Compliancy Group offers a vital service to healthcare organizations and vendors in these rapidly changing times. Their comprehensive compliance platform allows providers to navigate this heavily regulated environment with the confidence that they are complying with HIPAA. LuxSci is proud to partner with Compliancy Group to help their customers secure email communications and engage patients with HIPAA-compliant technology.” Heather Clark, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, LuxSci.

Compliancy Group enables healthcare organizations and vendors serving the healthcare industry to achieve HIPAA compliance through an easy-to-use software platform and live guided coaching. The Guard, its proprietary compliance platform, covers all the necessary parts of the HIPAA regulation to protect organizations in case of an audit. Compliancy Group awards clients the HIPAA Seal of Compliance upon successful completion. The Seal can be used in marketing and proves they are dedicated to protecting patient information and have completed the steps required to satisfy the law.

LuxSci provides secure email solutions to help healthcare organizations meet compliance requirements and protect patient data. LuxSci’s SecureLine encryption technology helps healthcare providers reduce risk profiles while providing easy-to-use email tools. LuxSci’s top-rated US-based support team goes above and beyond to help organizations stay protected.