How To

Engaging Patients In Coordinated Care Circles With Secure Messaging

August 6, 2015 | Adam Turinas

Patients are being encouraged to assume greater responsibility over their care decisions and make medical decisions in collaboration with physicians. For chronic disease sufferers—who by 2025 will represent almost half of Americans—outside support will become more essential as their daily care routine grows more complex. By expanding the care circle to include caregivers and family members, physicians can better ensure that their patients are receiving safe, quality care outside of their direct oversight.

When family members and caregivers are involved in the care coordination process, patients benefit. Family members can provide unique information about the patient to clinicians, help interpret information for the patient, and provide emotional support. Caregivers can communicate critical medical information to physicians and clinical care teams, keep family members informed and help patients follow their care instructions.

When the entire care circle—including physicians and clinical care teams, caregivers, patients and their loved ones—are given mHealth apps that facilitate shared decision-making, patient health outcomes can improve significantly.

A chronic disease patient’s caregiver and loved ones should have access to an mHealth app that allows them to:

  • Access test results and critical health information
  • Review and encourage the patient to follow his/her treatment plan
  • Support the patient in logging his/her health condition
  • Receive prescription refill alerts so that they can remind/help the patient with calling a pharmacy
  • Report any indications of emerging critical health problems to the patient’s clinical care team
  • Communicate with the patient’s clinical care team via various channels including secure text messaging

A nurse can assist patients with electing a family member or caregiver who can be trusted with their health information. Caregivers will need a special app that allows them to send secure text or picture messages to clinicians who use mobile care coordination apps. Only the caregiver should be given secure text privileges.

When a patient’s caregiver and loved ones fully engage in the care process, patient adherence and health outcomes are enhanced. That’s why care circle engagement is an essential factor to consider when evaluating patient engagement apps.

Consult this checklist containing 40+ features, issues and key functions to compare patient engagement apps with:

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