Secure Messaging: A Top Healthcare Issue In 2015

Dr. Jose Barreau is the chairman and CEO, Doc Halo.

Jose Barreau
Dr. Jose Barreau

Health IT advancements have become a very important part of the doctor-to-doctor and doctor-to-staff communication channel, and secure text messaging is a very important tool that allows physicians to streamline vital tasks. In busy environments like hospitals, the need for efficient and real-time communication touch points between doctors and staff promotes better patient care, increases productivity and reduce expenses. Over time, innovations like secure text messaging have made healthcare workflow much faster and safer.

Why secure texting is an important element for improving doctor communication channels
A streamlined mobile health platform makes it easy for doctors to use many different communication tools, such as secure texting. Secure texting features can allow senders to create separate threads when conversing with another doctor about multiple patients, providing a platform that reduces medication errors and maintains HIPAA compliance at the same time. As an overall strategy, physician-to-physician messages, notes between doctors and nurses, managers or other staff, checking on and scheduling appointments or video/photo consultations with specialists works alongside secure messaging to create an optimal mobile health system.

What’s more, doctors can accomplish more tasks during their time on the floor because they don’t have to lose time searching for phone numbers. Scrambling to find an office or hospital’s number following a traditional page adds complexity and reduces valuable response time.

Secure messaging can also improve referrals between doctors by leveraging the organization’s internal database and giving the physician the ability to easily send that person a message seeking to refer a patient in real time. Names can be organized by specialty and then aligned in an organizational directory so physicians can access the individuals they need without hassle.

Secure texting reduces healthcare costs
Time isn’t the only thing that’s wasted because of the inability to communicate effectively. During the past few years, health IT experts have been helping hospitals modernize their work environments to reduce costs and optimize workflow. This means CIOs have an incentive for switching to a mobile-based platform to eliminate missed billing procedure. Mobile features save money by allowing medical professionals to add bills immediately after patient visits, reducing the chances of forgetting to bill for procedures or extra time with patients.

Secure texting helps improve patient well-being
Mobile technology combined with meaningful care can make a difference in the lives of patients and improve workflow between doctors. When physicians are encumbered with administrative tasks, they waste valuable time they could be spending with the people who need them most: their patients.

Better communication also reduces the risk of medical errors. For example, the Joint Commission estimates that 80 percent of medical mishaps occur because of miscommunication. One example of this includes when patients are handed off to a new physician or specialist. For clinicians, the ability to send a secure text message facilitates a real-time exchange of health information and removes the need for pagers, email and voice mail, which are not timely and often not secure.

Doctors are relying on user-friendly communication tools for patient care more than ever in our increasingly digital world. Whether it’s reducing costs, improving value-based care or streamlining communication between physicians and staff, there are many positive outcomes tied to secure text messaging and other mobile health features in the hospital setting.

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