Tag Archives: appointment reminders

How a Single Patient Engagement Solution Improves Patient Communication – Part II

How disparate and piecemealed patient engagement solutions inhibit effective patient communication.

Read Part I of this two part article series: The Advantages of Having a Single Patient Engagement Solution

In the healthcare industry, successful organizations need to always be mindful of their consumer. Effective communication is one major factor that attributes to consistent patient retention and heightened patient engagement among healthcare companies. Healthcare organizations need to operate with simple, transparent, and important messaging in order to attain effective communication with their patients. This can easily be achieved by switching to a single patient engagement solution.

In the current market, many healthcare organizations are still operating using a multiple patient engagement solution. They will often purchase various patient engagement software systems (e.g. patient bill pay software, patient scheduling software, appointment reminders, patient portal, etc.) as opposed to buying one single solution. These multiple engagement solutions can severely impact the communication between a healthcare organization and their patients in a negative way.

Respecting Patient Communication Preferences

When an organization uses multiple patient engagement systems at the same time, it is nearly impossible to respect a patient’s communication preferences. There is no synchronization of preferences between an organization’s multiple patient engagement solutions and source systems (ie. practice management software, revenue cycle management software, electronic medical record software). A patient will opt-in or opt-out of receiving messages from one system, and another system will not be able to respect that patient’s request. Not only can this be an annoyance and violation of trust for the consumer, but it also poses the risk of serious legal ramifications for an organization. With a single, all-in-one solution, an organization possesses the ability to honor a patient’s preference when opting in or out of receiving specific messaging. 

Better Patient Communication

Disparate systems from different vendors generally don’t have the ability to communicate with each other so a patient’s communication preferences can’t be respected. For example, a patient might prefer email notifications over SMS, or if they change their email, the account would have to be updated in all systems manually (assuming the systems are not interfaced). With a piecemealed patient engagement solution, patients can end up receiving messages at inopportune times, or they receive too many unimportant or duplicate messages. This can irritate patients, causing them to opt out of receiving any messaging at all. Practices will attempt to correct their patients’ frustrations by limiting their messaging, thus self-regulating themselves and not utilizing patient messaging to its full potential. A single solution solves this problem by ensuring coordinated, direct, and effective messaging to patients.

Go to Bridge to learn more about the ease and advantages of implementing a single patient engagement solution today.

Founder of Bridge Patient Portal, and a health IT entrepreneur and business owner of 16 years with extensive experience in Healthcare IT. Specializing in Business Development, Software Development, Patient Portals, mHealth, Patient Engagement, HIPAA, Electronic Medical Records, Web Development and Internet Marketing.

The Advantages of Having a Single Patient Engagement Solution – Part I

Why early adopting healthcare organizations are replacing their disparate and piecemealed patient engagement solutions for a second-generation single solution.

In the ongoing efforts to increase quality patient engagement, many healthcare organizations have come to acquire multiple patient engagement solutions. In an attempt to satisfy patient needs without overly disrupting their IT “status quo”, healthcare organizations will often buy multiple software solutions (e.g. patient scheduling, event management, patient education, medical records access, patient portal, appointment reminders, etc.) as opposed to purchasing a single patient engagement solution. This inevitably turns into a piecemealed patient engagement solution that creates a mine of issues to be uncovered in the future, both for the organization and the consumer alike.

Not only does this have a negative impact on the customer in terms of patient communication and messaging, but it also brings forth many problems for the healthcare organization itself. These multiple patient engagement solutions can cause issues internally with an organization’s source system as it attempts to interface with this multitude of software systems. Furthermore, from a financial standpoint, these piecemealed patient engagement solutions can be very costly for organizations as well. 

An Easily Interfaced System

With a piecemealed patient engagement solution, you are granting more access than is needed to each individual system. Each system (patient bill pay software, appointment reminders, patient education, etc.) needs to be interfaced with the EMR, PM, or other source system. There is a greater potential for error, simply because of the larger number of interfaces an organization must manage. A single solution allows for one simple interface to an organization’s source systems.

Cutting Costs

Healthcare organizations see significant financial benefit from switching to a single patient engagement solution. A piecemealed patient engagement solution has much greater costs associated with it, than with its singular counterpart. A single solution is of course more expensive, but the cost of maintaining multiple systems from multiple vendors and the unrealized ROI resulting from having solutions that are not fully utilized, makes a clear argument for a single solution.

Read Part II of this two part article series: How a Single Patient Engagement Solution Improves Patient Communication

Go to Bridge to learn more about the ease and advantages of implementing a single patient engagement solution today.

Founder of Bridge Patient Portal, and a health IT entrepreneur and business owner of 16 years with extensive experience in Healthcare IT. Specializing in Business Development, Software Development, Patient Portals, mHealth, Patient Engagement, HIPAA, Electronic Medical Records, Web Development and Internet Marketing.

Bridge’s HIPAA Compliant Scheduling Solution

HIPAA Compliant Messaging

Get your patients actively involved in their healthcare experience with Bridge’s HIPAA compliant scheduling solution.

Bridge’s Scheduling Solution

Bridge offers a HIPAA compliant scheduling solution that ensures a patient can work their way through proper screening and select from conflict-free times. This patient appointment scheduler was built to easily handle complex scheduling decision trees that are adaptable to any provider group and the unique schedules of their providers.

This feature gives patients more control over their healthcare experience, delivering self-service tools that patients have become accustomed to in other industries (ie. travel, banking, retail, etc.).

Access to the scheduling feature is available both via the secure patient portal or Bridge’s mobile app – available in iOS and Android.

Bridge’s scheduling solution allows patients to complete a full scheduling workflow and book appointments in real time.

HIPAA Compliant Scheduling, Security, and Privacy

Along with HIPAA compliant scheduling, Bridge offers a number of important HIPAA compliant patient engagement tools such as HIPAA compliant messaging, HIPAA compliant appointment reminders, bill pay features, and a patient portal app.

Patients can receive appointment reminders via email in order to help them manage their time.

In order to understand why HIPAA compliance is so important when it comes to all of these features, we must remember the importance of patient privacy. Healthcare providers in the U.S. must comply with HIPAA regulations, which were designed to provide privacy standards in order to protect patients’ medical records and other health information. These regulations extend to all types of healthcare technologies that doctors might use to store and manage patient information. Although there is no definitive HIPAA certification for any organization, IT companies can be HIPAA-compliant. This means that they adhere to HIPAA regulations and take the necessary steps to ensure their products effectively protect sensitive patient information.

Bridge has a long history in helping healthcare organizations meet and understand HIPAA guidelines.

To learn more about HIPAA and healthcare applications please feel free to look through the resources below:
HIPAA and Healthcare Applications, Part 1 of 3: What You Need to Know About User Authentication
HIPAA and Healthcare Applications, Part 2 of 3: What You Need to Know About Auditing
HIPAA and Healthcare Applications, Part 3 of 3: What You Need to Know About Data Transfer

 

Do you need additional information on HIPAA compliance? If so, feel free to contact a Bridge representative today.

 

Business Development Manager at Bridge Patient Portal. Passionate about helping healthcare businesses grow.

How to Send Automated Medical Appointment Reminders Without Jeopardizing Patients’ Data Security

Patients waiting in a waiting room Sending automated medical appointment reminders has been shown to decrease appointment “no shows” and has a potential to enhance the patient-provider relationship.  However, given the concern about data breaches, automated appointment reminders remain an underutilized feature of patient portals.  According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, appointment reminders are allowed under the HIPAA privacy rules. Their position on the topic is: “Appointment reminders are considered part of treatment of an individual and, therefore, can be made without authorization” meaning that providers don’t need to worry about breaching HIPAA while sending an appointment reminder.  

To ensure that you and your patients are protected, Bridge recommends you do the following when launching an automated medical appointment reminder system:

  • Make sure your NPP (Notice of Privacy Practices) is updated and includes information about opting-in for appointment reminders by SMS and/or email.
  • The NPP should be explicitly clear and state something similar to “We are going to be sending automated SMS text message/email reminders about your upcoming appointments. If this is a problem for you please notify us.
  • Have patients verify their contact information, including their phone number, regularly.
  • Consider an additional opt-in outside of the NPP; many people do not read the NPP and texting appointment data may be unacceptable to some people.
  • Give patients the option for a preferred method of contact, or at the least, the ability to opt out of specific outreach methods.

What to Include in (and Exclude from) a HIPAA-Compliant Appointment Reminder

When sending appointment reminders via SMS text messages it is best to avoid being too specific. Keep in mind that practice names can infer types of treatment or conditions. For example, “Oncology Clinic” clearly indicates that the patient has cancer.

Generic reminders include:

  • Appointment date and time
  • Provider first and last name
  • Location of the appointment

By using these tips, you can get the most out of your patient portal and have peace of mind that you are not compromising your patient’s right to privacy or causing any data breaches.

Business Development Manager at Bridge Patient Portal. Passionate about helping healthcare businesses grow.

The Benefits of Online Appointment Scheduling

Americans are busier now more than ever, and if healthcare organizations want to keep up, they must adjust their systems to complement the on-the-go lifestyles of their patients. One way practices are staying in step with their patients is by streamlining the process that gets the patients in the door. Many have turned to a patient portal to manage patient appointment requests and send appointment reminders. Below we discuss how employing these two features can confront common appointment challenges and generate more satisfied patients, and, ultimately, more revenue. (more…)

Business Development Manager at Bridge Patient Portal. Passionate about helping healthcare businesses grow.

How to Automate Administrative Tasks to Optimize Your Healthcare Organization

Introducing new technologies to streamline time-consuming processes can help your healthcare organization boost its bottom line by making more efficient use of your employees’ time. These simple recommendations will help you increase productivity, optimize operations and improve patient satisfaction.

1. Implement a patient portal.

bridge patient portalOnline healthcare portals don’t just provide benefits to physicians participating in Meaningful Use. In fact, practices and hospitals that aren’t enrolled in the EHR Incentive Program can get just as much value out of a patient portal by streamlining some of the most commonly-performed administrative processes.

Implementing a patient portal allows you to:

  • Let patients schedule their own appointments online. A portal can show patients available slots based on your practice’s calendar. This allows patients to make appointments without tying up your practice’s phone lines.
  • Respond to medication refill requests without picking up the phone. From your healthcare organization’s online portal, you can easily view all refill request submissions and either approve them or notify the patient to schedule an appointment.
  • Improve revenue cycle efforts. Many online portals allow patients to view account summaries and pay their bills online. If your portal integrates with your accounting software, payment information will transfer over automatically.

Reducing even a fraction of all incoming calls by pointing patients in the direction of an online portal can significantly increase productivity.

2. Automate the appointment reminder process.

There are two effective options that can help hospitals and practices notify patients of their upcoming appointments. Both are more efficient than assigning an employee to call each patient one by one. You can either set up email reminders or use an automated call system.

Email reminders – and even text message reminders – can ensure that today’s always-connected patients don’t forget about their appointments. After all, missed appointments cost your practice money and can be detrimental to patient health. For patients who prefer not to be contacted electronically, automated phone reminders are the way to go. A pre-recorded message in your own voice can add a personal touch to the reminder, and it doesn’t require staff to spend valuable time on the phone each day.

3. Focus on computerized charge capture.

Accurate charge capture is one of the most important processes for any successful business, yet it is one that many healthcare organizations take for granted. In fact, it is not uncommon for paper charge tickets to be lost or misplaced – and when that happens, that’s money that isn’t coming into the practice. To make sure this doesn’t happen, implement electronic charge capture processes and phase out paper. There are many smartphone apps that allow physicians to easily capture CPT and ICD codes, which can then be transferred to a practice management system.

What other health IT tools has your healthcare organization implemented? Share them with us in the comments.

This article was originally published on the MWE blog.

Business Development Manager at Bridge Patient Portal. Passionate about helping healthcare businesses grow.