Use this banner to inform your visitors of something important.
Blogs

How Direct Messaging Improves Patient Care & Communication

UPDATED:
November 22, 2023
Woman on tablet at home

Effective patient communication is critical in a medical setting. Patient communication goes beyond bedside manner and matters in every step of the process, from scheduling an appointment to paying the final bill. 

Direct messaging can take the guesswork out of parts of the process and keep it moving efficiently. The ability to communicate with one’s physician can make a patient feel comfortable with a provider and his or her staff and factor in the decision to continue working with that particular practice. A provider and practice’s ability to communicate effectively with patients is equally important to their care. The ability for a patient to contact their provider directly can improve their care and make the overall process easier for office management. 

Current Landscape of Patient Care & Communication

Currently, there are many facets pertaining to patient care and communication. Patients and providers face a number of challenges that can easily be addressed with better means of communication. 

Some of these challenges, mentioned below, include difficulties with traditional communication methods. 

Lack of Security

Traditional methods like fax, email, and phone calls often lack robust security measures. The aforementioned methods of communication are susceptible to breaches and unauthorized access. This could negatively affect the patient/practice relationship if healthcare records are not kept confidential. What’s more, tampering with healthcare data can result in inaccurate treatment, which can lead to dangerous consequences for patients. As a result, security is increasingly important in healthcare communications.

Lack of security is particularly concerning given that healthcare communications often involve sensitive patient data. Traditional communication does not support the privacy settings needed for adequate confidentiality.

Inefficiency

Traditional communication methods, such as phone calls, can be time-consuming for healthcare providers. Missed calls and voicemails only provide so much information and relying only on phone calls during office hours limits communication. Medical practices waste time going back and forth on missed calls with their patients.

Faxing documents, leaving voicemails, and waiting for email responses can slow healthcare delivery. There are more efficient ways to ensure prompt responses and get answers faster. Direct messaging provides answers in real-time, and provide a secure location for patients to communicate directly with their doctors outside of appointments. This speeds up the process, rather than waiting for the next appointment to get clarity on a healthcare issue.

Limited Accessibility

Information communicated traditionally is often stored in disparate systems or physical files. Physical accessibility is difficult when trying to quickly access files and documents. When a provider or their office staff must go back through manually to locate a file, it takes more time than it takes to do so electronically. Extra work accessing physical documents can delay decision-making and treatment plans for your patients.

Inconsistency and Lack of Standardization

Different healthcare providers and institutions may use varied forms of communication. Inconsistent communication methods can cause a disconnect between systems and delay communication. This lack of standardization can lead to misunderstandings, incorrect interpretations, and errors within your patient care.

Poor Patient Engagement

Traditional communication methods partially allow for real-time, interactive communication between patients and providers. This limits patients' involvement in their healthcare and can lead to poorer outcomes. Limited patient involvement can result in misinformation, confusion, and unnecessary frustration for the patient and the provider.

High Costs

The administrative burden of managing faxes, emails, and phone calls can add to labor costs. This takes time out of one’s workday, costing money and time spent on tasks that can be more automated and streamlined with the correct system. Additionally, inefficiencies and delays can result in financial losses due to missed appointments and other operational inefficiencies.

The Need for Secure & Efficient Communication

In healthcare, security and efficiency are paramount. The privacy needed to convey personal messages about one’s health, coupled with the ability to deliver those messages promptly, are what drive the need for direct messaging. 

The Key Features of Direct Messaging

When considering implementing direct messaging into one’s practice, there are some key features to consider. These include the following:

Secure Messaging 

Never be concerned again about whether messages conveyed between the patient and the practice are secure. 

HIPAA Compliance

Exchange healthcare information while remaining HIPAA compliant.  

Real-Time Communication

No more waiting for messaging to be received, either by mail or waiting for your next appointment. Communicate with providers in real-time.

File and Document Sharing 

Send important documents related to patient health via direct messaging.

The Advantages of Direct Messaging for Healthcare Providers

In addition to the features direct messaging offers, there are several advantages direct messaging can offer to improve patient communication and management in a medical office. These include:

Secure and Private Patient Messaging 

Patients can communicate directly with their physician about private health concerns directly and securely.

Streamlining Office Operations 

Manage office tasks more efficiently through the direct messaging platform. Get messages quickly and enhance productivity among staff. 

Improved Appointment Scheduling and Coordination 

Messages concerning appointments can be received in real-time, improving scheduling.

Improve Patient Care with Direct Messaging

Direct messaging can enhance patient care in various ways. Utilize messaging capabilities in your practice to make communication easier for patients, providers, and staff. 

Faster and More Accurate Diagnoses

Once a diagnosis is confirmed, this information can be relayed to the patient via direct messaging. This eliminates the wait time between appointments and provides peace of mind along with an action plan. It also allows a patient to respond to their doctor’s diagnosis with information about their symptoms or condition, ensuring accuracy and the most up-to-date status on a patient’s condition. 

Enhance Medication Management

Keep track of medications so both patients and providers know what medication is currently being taken to avoid prescribing a medication that won’t mix well. Make the selection of medications more efficient and enable patients to request prescription refills more efficiently.

Increased Patient Engagement and Satisfaction

Direct communication with a physician gets patients more involved with their healthcare thanks to the private and secure setting. They can answer physician questions and provide details on the conditions or symptoms they’re experiencing. Having the patient take an active role in their treatment plan will make them feel more engaged and likely to follow it.

The Role of Direct Messaging in Medical Practice Management

Direct messaging can have a positive impact on medical office operations while promoting a more efficient healthcare system.

Reduced Administrative Burden

Direct messaging reduces administrative tasks such as going back and forth via phone with patients and other staff members. Keeping the information centralized makes it easy for staff to access what’s needed while keeping other information private and confidential. 

Optimized Workflow and Staff Allocation

Direct messaging can create an efficient workflow for the practice and enables tasks to be delegated to the staff. When it’s clear what each practice team member is responsible for, jobs can be completed without guesswork and therefore completed efficiently.

Improved Communication Between Medical Staff

With communication documented right in the direct messaging platform, it’s easy to communicate directly with other members of the medical staff. It keeps a record of the prior communications, ensuring topics discussed are clear. The ability to bring other relevant staff members into the conversation can help clear up any issues or get answers resolved more quickly.

Implement Direct Messaging in Your Practice

It’s never a simple process to implement any new platform into medical practice. Here are some considerations on how medical professionals can implement direct messaging systems in their practices.

Choosing the Right Direct Messaging Platform

When selecting a platform, take into account the other platforms the practice is already using. There may be direct messaging add-ons that can easily streamline into the rest of the platform. If not, look for direct messaging platforms that have an integration with any of the main platforms the practice is already using. This will simplify training staff on a system if it’s similar to what’s already being used. 

Integrating with Existing Systems

Once you’ve selected a platform, you’ll want your tech department to assist with integrating it with your existing systems. Take the rollout slowly, and plan for any delays or glitches. Ensure most, if not all, kinks are worked out before onboarding your staff to avoid more issues. Plan for this to be a process that could take several months.

Staff Training and Onboarding

Finally, once the system is up and running, it’s time to train staff members who will be using the system. Be sure to set aside time for training before launching the new platform. Empower your staff with information and allow them to ask questions in real time about scenarios they will commonly face and work together to determine how to handle them.

Use Office Ally’s Direct Messaging For Your Patient Care

There are many benefits of direct messaging in improving patient care and communication. It also has the ability to transform medical office management. These tools encourage communication, which can provide efficiency for patients, providers, and medical staff in many ways. It streamlines parts of the process while empowering patients to be involved in their own healthcare and treatment plans. It allows patients to communicate directly with their healthcare providers in real-time, and get answers faster. It enables staff members to get the information they need in a more efficient manner and stores documentation needed for future reference.

Therefore, it makes sense in today’s digital world for practices to consider implementing direct messaging. Office Ally’s direct-messaging solution offers all of these features and benefits and more. Learn how Office Ally can support your practice through direct messaging today.