Direct-to-Patient Email and Text Communication Is Best for Engaging Patients in Their Care

Posted by Debra Zalvan on Jan 26, 2017 11:05:00 AM

Reaching your patients through the technology they already use is key to patient engagement

With new tools like Snapchat and Boomerang popping up every day, sometimes it seems like communication technology seems to change faster than we can keep up with. That has led some hospitals to rush into creating an app or join the latest social media platform. Others continue to lag behind, using paper and telephone as the primary communication methods used to engage patients.

But some hospitals recognize that patients want to communicate the way they do in daily life. Email and text have an important place in patient-provider communication and remain patients' top choices for connecting with their doctors outside the medical office or hospital walls.

In fact, when it comes to improving health outcomes, your best bet for communicating with patients is a combined approach: mobile-responsive email and text.

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Topics: Hospital Workflows, Patient Outcomes, Digital Patient Engagement, Patient Provider Communication, Patient-Centered Care, Patient Portals, Digital Patient Interactions, Texting

API vs. Portal in Meaningful Use 3

Posted by Betsy Weaver, Ed.D. on Mar 14, 2016 8:30:00 AM

As Meaningful Use moved to Stage 3 (MU3) in 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) added APIs (application programming interface) as an alternative or complement to patient portals.

But are these two digital health tools at odds with each other? And where do APIs fit in with Meaningful Use Stage 3?

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Topics: Meaningful Use, Patient Portals

What Is MACRA and How Does It Relate to Meaningful Use?

Posted by Betsy Weaver, Ed.D. on Mar 9, 2016 8:00:00 AM

In January 2016, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt announced that CMS would update Meaningful Use to focus more on patient care and outcomes.

At the same time, Slavitt brought renewed attention to the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015—MACRA—triggering confusion among hospitals and health systems already scrambling to attest to Meaningful Use. 

Many questions arose. What is MACRA? What is the relationship between MACRA and Meaningful Use? Is Meaningful Use over?

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Topics: Meaningful Use, Quality of Care, Patient Outcomes, Patient Portals

Are Patient Portals Going the Way of the Dinosaur?

Posted by Betsy Weaver, Ed.D. on Feb 29, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Patient portals—websites allowing patients to easily and securely access their EHRs and even communicate with their providers—were one of the big recommendations of MU2 in 2012.

CMS promoted portals as a way for patients to access their EHRs and for providers to demonstrate that their patients were actually doing this, calling the portal “a powerful platform for increasing access, empowering patients, supporting care between visits and improving health outcomes.”

Yet, three years into MU recommendations for patient portals, no one is calling them a resounding success.

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Topics: Meaningful Use, Patient Portals

Patient Portal 2.0: How HealthEast Gets Meaningful Engagement From a Patient Portal

Posted by Todd Smith, MD on Feb 18, 2016 8:30:00 AM

By now it seems that every hospital has a patient portal. But is everyone—hospitals and patients alike—using them to their full potential? According to one survey, many patients still don’t know their providers offer portals. As providers, we also depend on getting patients to visit their portals to initiate patient-provider communication. When used well, portals help hospitals engage patients and meet Meaningful Use requirements. The challenge is in how to make good use of your patient portal.

HealthEast Care System was determined to use our portal to improve health outcomes through proactive, consistent health information that patients could access anywhere. Here’s how we did it.

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Topics: Meaningful Use, Patient Education, Quality of Care, Patient Outcomes, Guest Blog, Pregnancy Education, Digital Patient Engagement, Patient Provider Communication, Patient Portals, Health Care Interoperability, HealthEast Care System, Innovation, Customers

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