How To

6 Ways Secure Messaging Apps Boost Patient Experience

July 21, 2015 | Adam Turinas

In order to truly engage patients through mobile apps, improving the patient experience prior to and following care visits is essential. Patient experience improvement is an objective that should be addressed during the patient engagement app selection process. Here are 6 features and functions that your patient app should include to effectively improve the patient experience:

Extending Secure Messaging To Patients

Secure texting between patients and their clinicians is a powerful component of improving the patient experience. Patient engagement apps should allow patients and their caregivers to directly message a member of their clinical care team (typically a care navigator) when indicators of potential health emergency first arise. The app should also integrate with the care provider’s EHR so that patients can request clinical data from, and safely send remotely gathered health data to their care navigator.

This model is impractical to make available to all patients. Frankly physicians cannot and should not have to communicate with all their patients, all the time. We believe that the primary applicability of this type of communication is between patients with chronic diseases and their care coordinator or navigator. To ensure that this select group of patients don’t overburden care navigators, patients and their caregivers should be educated on when it’s appropriate to text the care navigator, and how they can verify whether their text has been read yet. In this way, patient engagement apps with secure texting capabilities can support healthcare organizations in cost effectively delivering a high quality care experience to chronic disease patients.


Lab Results

As healthcare expands into the homes of patients, their remote access to personal health information has become a top priority. With remote access to laboratory results, patients can become more engaged members of the care process, and safely engage in self management. Make sure your patient engagement app allows any patient to securely access test results from their mobile or web devices.


Virtual Concierge

Patients trust the medical opinion of doctors and providers more than health information found through general online searches, and with good reason. Even with the lab results, medical records and other general health information stored on patient engagement apps, there will still be moments when patients require medical advice from their doctor or clinical care team. Thus, patients should be able to request immediate medical assistance through their patient engagement app in addition to scheduling an appointment or traveling to a doctor’s office. This will allow patients to receive the care they need when it’s both necessary and convenient.

If, after speaking with a member of the clinical care team, the patient needs to physically visit her/his doctor, then the patient engagement app should also provide him/her with directions to the physician’s office.


Appointment Management

Patients are people who lead increasingly busy lives. Mobile apps that deliver appointment reminders to patients make it easier for them to engage in self management. These reminders can be delivered as mobile notifications or SMS texts.

A well executed patient engagement app should also allow patients to schedule appointments in a few clicks and export their doctor’s appointment to their digital calendar. Patients should be able to manage the entire process from within their patient engagement app without having to call their doctor’s office. Only consider patient engagement apps that offer appointment scheduling as a distinct feature.


Feedback Delivery

Patient engagement apps should prompt users to deliver feedback on their care experience shortly after their visit. Patients should have the option of both quickly providing a rating score and offering more detailed responses. Patients, even if they choose not to provide feedback, will feel that the healthcare organization genuinely values their input.

Organizations that operate multiple mHealth apps through a single interface can also automate the transmission of patient feedback data to their operational mobile app.


Patient Engagement & Care Coordination App Integration

To further maximize the patient experience, the patient engagement app should integrate with a care coordination app. This will ensure seamless communication between everyone involved in the care process, and reduce patient wait times, which significantly influence patient satisfaction levels.


Ultimately, features such as secure texting that improve the patient experience simplify the healthcare navigation process for patients. To further assist you in the patient engagement app selection process, this simple checklist of over 40 key features, functions and issues to consider may also be of use:

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