Nonadherence to appointments and physician’s treatment plans is a significant barrier to improving care delivery and reduced healthcare expenses. A recent study conducted by the Council for Affordable Health Coverage revealed that nearly two-thirds of patients in the United States don’t adhere to their medications. Their nonadherence costs around $100 billion or more each year. Patients are often unaware as to which information should prompt a call to their physician. In today’s digitally transformed value-based healthcare scenario, it’s mandatory to understand these patients and deliver timely care at a reduced cost.
Patient-provider engagement is one of the solutions to improve population health outcomes and reduce health care costs. Engagement, especially among high-risk populations, might be challenging, but it is possible through digital health interventions. Hence, the need of the hour is to build a multi-channel, patient-centric engagement platform to monitor patients' health with prompt alerts, help people, especially elders, get access to convenient care, provide satisfaction for the caregivers, and improve medication adherence.
Touchpoints for patient engagement
The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions conducted a national survey of US adults from February 2018 to March 2018 to determine the trends in health care consumer engagement. They found three touchpoints during a consumer’s healthcare journey: searching for care, gaining access to new channels of care, and sharing health information.
Searching for care
About half of the consumers preferred online health care providers, according to their convenience.
Accessing new channels of care
About one-third of the consumers preferred to use apps for identifying symptoms and health-related training.
Thirty-five percent were interested in using a virtual assistant to identify symptoms and proceed with the consultation.
Thirty-one percent were interested in getting connected with a live health coach that offers 24/7 text messaging for exercise, nutrition, stress, and sleep management.
Twenty-nine percent of consumers were interested in voice-recognition based app to recognize depression or anxiety.
Tracking and sharing health data
Sixty percent of the consumers preferred to share their health data generated from wearables with their physicians for better health outcomes. The utilization of tools for measuring health and fitness shifted from 17 percent in 2013 to 42 percent in 2018.
How is patient engagement achieved?
According to the Grand View Research Inc. report, the global patient engagement solutions market size is expected to reach US$ 56.92 billion by 2026. The increasing awareness and utilization of mobile healthcare services with the supporting government initiatives drive patient engagement solutions universally. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) define mHealth as “the use of mobile and wireless devices to improve health outcomes, healthcare services, and health research.” Text messaging via smartphones improve all these three.
Texting reaches more patients quickly, which saves time for physicians and improves convenience to patients. Engagement platforms that securely automate text reminders about appointments, lab results, alerts, or free services like vaccinations enhance the coordination between patients and their providers. Research studies reveal that patients prefer appointment reminders via text compared to calls. Even the medication reminders via texting improve adherence to medication regimes. According to Pew’s national survey on healthcare and technology, 1 in 3 smartphone users searched for health information or downloaded health apps on their phones. Patients receive real-time information and scheduled personalized messages regarding prevention, wellness, recovery, medications, therapies, and surveys to improve continued coordinated care. The platform complies with federal privacy regulations, and the messages are customized to patient preference with varied options like PDF, video, and links, for utmost patient engagement.
Why engagement via text-based?
Patient engagement via text-based was implemented based on the following facts about text messaging and SMS.
An average American checks his phone 46 times per day.
The average adult consumes 23 hours a week by texting.
It takes 90 seconds to reply to a text message.
American women text more than men by 14%.
Text messages are read within 5 seconds and have a 98% open rate on average.
An average millennial exchanges around 67 text messages per day.
According to the JMIR Formative Research 2017 research work, around 97% of patients carry a cell phone. All cell phones are anyway preinstalled with both short message service (SMS) and voice applications. As per the research findings, 28,386 text messages and 24,017 calls were sent to 929 patients over nine months. Patients also responded to 80% to 90% of messages by allowing the system to detect 1164 clinically significant events. Hence, patients reported increased satisfaction and communication with their providers.
Benefits of text-based engagement:
Reduces the no-show rate: The entire appointment management process, including scheduling, keeping reminders, developing waiting lists for specific appointments, and filling the canceled slots, is fully automated. The staff need not intervene, and they can focus on other activities. Hence, the providers become more productive, and patients are seen quicker.
Increases patient participation in healthcare: Previously, staff members would call patients to inform them about preventive services. Hence, only a few patients signed up for the recommended services. But now, these services are automated and personalized. Nearly 45% of patients who receive these texts register for preventive screening, and they get more involved in looking after themselves.
Frees staff time: As the system automatically fills appointments and sends online personalized services, the staff need not follow up with the patients every month.
Increases patient access: Patients can book online appointments, and they need not have to call or meet the assistants directly. They can check many were on the waiting list and proceed for consultation accordingly.
Receives real-time patient feedback: Each patient would receive a personalized message asking their recommendation rating for the clinic. The patient would also be linked to a survey to provide extensive feedback, shared on a real-time basis.
Improves communication: The miscommunication among the patients, treating physicians, and departments may lead to medical errors. Instant texts would fill this gap and improve communication.
Boosts patient satisfaction and care coordination: Medication adherence, compliance with treatment, and recommendations through secure text messaging (the preferred method by 80% of surveyed users in one American College of Surgeons research study) improve health outcomes efficiently.
Is it possible to see how a texting platform can help reduce no-shows?
Yes. Texting platform can help in reducing no-shows by using the ROI calculator.
For instance, if the average number of appointments comes to 100 per month, if the current cancellation rate is 10 percent, and if you earn $100 per appointment, then your current monthly lost revenue comes to $1000/-. The average reduction in no-show rates ranges from 20% to 70%. Hence, if you would like to reduce your no-show rate by 20%, your final increase in monthly revenue would come to $200/-.
Our hiCare is an easy, secure, automated, powerful, and customizable texting platform that can deliver a patient-provider engagement platform in a reliable, scalable, and consistent way. Our engagement platform will significantly improve clinical outcomes, increase productivity, and reduce costs through a feasible SMS/phone call + web service platform.
Our hiCare texting platform includes the following features:
Cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) solution
Scalable and easy to use
HIPAA compliant and secure platform
Easy integration with your existing systems
Multiple texting solutions starting from appointment reminders to surveys and much more
Through technology, we can create an experience that improves patient satisfaction by providing an automated, text-based platform backbone as the future of patient engagement.