What You Need to Know About Patient Communication Platforms for Clinicians

Platforms for Clinicians: How to Find One That Best Fits Your Needs

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to restrict our face-to-face interactions, patients and providers are embracing virtual communication—often, getting to know each other even better than before. That can happen when you communicate with your patients every day, getting alerted to their every struggle, uncertainty, and adverse reaction in real-time.

Software has already enabled virtual healthcare for millions of patients, as well as streamlined processes for millions of clinicians in the U.S. alone. Healthcare softwares are rapidly developing a diverse set of platforms for clinicians in every size health system and every specialty. The number of choices at your fingertips can be overwhelming, and the technology can require quite a learning curve. This guide will assist you in evaluating all of your choices and deciding which platform best fits the needs of your healthcare organization.

Why you need patient communication platforms for clinicians

Since the 2020 Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) went into effect, the buzzword in healthcare has become “patient satisfaction.” Of course, patients who aren’t engaged are rarely satisfied. And unsatisfied patients may negatively impact your bottom line. That’s why patient communication platforms for clinicians are critical.

Virtual healthcare enables clinicians to drive patient engagement every day—and address patient queries and concerns in a much timelier manner. Telehealth platforms also function as motivation tools. They encourage patients to adhere to their treatment plans, thereby lowering the risk of rehospitalization. The improvement in efficiency you get out of this can lead to more referrals from physicians, hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities, ultimately helping you earn recognition as a patient-centric innovator.

It may seem counter-intuitive for a telemedicine platform to enhance relationships, but research shows that it does. In fact, 97% of patients report being satisfied with their first telehealth experience and would recommend the program, according to Harvard Business Review.

By communicating more frequently with patients, providers can spotlight day-to-day developments in conditions and prescription reactions. They monitor and act on each change in a patient’s symptoms and keep stress out of the picture. When patients and family caregivers know they can reach out to a professional any time, they become less anxious and less prone to knee-jerk reaction ER trips.

Platforms for clinicians can dramatically raise patient satisfaction scores and contain costs—if you choose the right one for your unique style of patient-centric care.

Questions to ask when evaluating platforms for clinicians

Platforms for clinicians must be chosen with care—and with both clinicians and patients in mind. First, determine whether they really need it. Will it help your team coordinate care as well as financial logistics, freeing up more time and energy for care? Will it make them more nimble and less stressed? Will it generate trust for your patients? Will it enable communication between clinicians and patients to streamline workflow?

If you’ve answered yes to these core queries, you’re ready to make virtual care providers out of your clinicians. Once you’ve decided to embrace platforms for clinicians, ask these questions before investing in one:

  • Is it easy enough for clinicians and patients to use to encourage adoption? Can your team try a demo?
  • Is it secure? Can you see case studies of security breaches that have been prevented?
  • Does it address HIPAA concerns?
  • Can it be supported on all the devices your clinicians currently use?
  • How much does it cost compared with other platforms, and why?
  • Does it need to be tailored to a specific medical specialty? If so, does the company offer the support needed in order to accomplish this?
  • Does it integrate with other tools and platforms you’re already using?
  • What kind of reporting and data analysis component does it include?
  • What kind of vendor support does it provide?
  • How will it scale across your organization?
  • How will you be reimbursed for it?

Types of communication platforms for clinicians

According to a Healthcare IT News survey, 31% of healthcare organizations use video-based telemedicine services, and 34% offer remote patient monitoring. Another 44% of healthcare organizations are shopping around for telemedicine services, and 48% are preparing to implement remote patient monitoring. All signs indicate that the future of healthcare is virtual—so it’s wise to acquaint yourself with all of these communication platforms on the market.

Telehealth platforms

This is an umbrella term for mobile apps, software installed on desktop computers, and systems that can be accessed from telehealth providers’ mobile medical devices. Video visits are the most common form of virtual healthcare conducted between patients and providers, between various specialists, or between everyone involved in a care plan.

These video platforms allow patients to self-report their medical history, biometrics, and vital signs—getting engaged in their own care from day one. Clinicians can do everything they do in their office settings, virtually: diagnose conditions, assign procedures, prescribe medications, and write clinical notes that the entire care team and patient’s family can reference.

Electronic medical records (EMR) and electronic health records (EHR)

At first glance, the terms “electronic medical record” and “electronic health record” may seem interchangeable—but they embody significant differences.

To understand electronic medical records (EMRs), envision the paper charts in a clinician’s office that contain the medical and treatment history of one practice’s patients. Once they become virtual, they’re exponentially more efficient. EMRs allow clinicians to track patient data throughout a care plan, identify patients who are due for preventative screenings, track patients’ biometrics and vaccinations, and monitor a practice’s quality of care so it can be improved. This valuable information, however, does not travel easily outside of any individual specialist’s practice.

The scope of EHRs, on the other hand, extends beyond one health organization’s clinical data to encompass a patient’s whole health. EHRs are designed to move with the patient from primary care providers, to specialty clinics, to laboratories, to pharmacies, and even to nursing homes when necessary. Every clinician participating in a patient’s care contributes to EHRs—as does the patient. These digital records help nurture a holistic conversation that engages patients, enhances relationships, and builds trust.

Care Management platforms

Care Management is a term for all strategies that reduce the need for medical services and help both caregivers and patients more effectively manage health conditions. By enhancing coordination of care and eliminating duplication, Care Management improves outcomes and boosts your bottom line.

Digital, analytics-driven Care Management platforms for clinicians enhance efficiency and scalability by:

  • Streamlining clinicians’ workflows
  • Predictably prioritizing daily tasks for each team member
  • Steering care activities in the direction that most efficiently impact patients’ health

A suite of digital products worth investing in should stratify patient risk and increase patient engagement by enabling communication between patients and care managers. It should also integrate patient intake with all clinician data and measure care team performance so that each member can understand and suggest improvements.

Telehealth platforms for clinicians enable high-quality care

The right telemedicine software enables real-time, whole-person, quality care for patients in any convenient location while streamlining workflows for providers. Being consistently informed about a patient’s condition helps clinicians make highly strategic decisions at critical moments. That can mean much less stress and much better outcomes for your patient population—and for your team.

If you would like further information to help in deciding which platform is right for your organization or understanding all of its functions, see our full guide to Telehealth.

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