By Pipsa Otra-aho, marketing manager, Buddy Healthcare.
Primarily, hospitals are used to guiding and supporting patients by making personal phone calls, sending letters or text messaging. However, many hospitals report that reaching patients, especially the patients at working age, can be difficult as patients are hesitant to pick up unknown numbers or are occupied during the regular hospital working hours.
Also, when posting letters, hospitals won’t get notified if a patient has actually received, opened, and understood the content.
However, it’s now 2020 and things are starting to change. An increasing number of patients use smartphones and the internet several times a day. As a matter of fact, Statista, has reported that the smartphone penetration rate in the United States has continuously risen over the past ten to fifteen years to more than 80% today.
Patients are looking for more and more medical information online and they are willing to participate more in their own care than in the past. Patients also want transparency of their care processes. Telemedicine and digital patient engagement platforms not only offer improvement to a patient’s communication but it also enables vast opportunities for hospitals to streamline care processes, interact with patients remotely, and automate care coordination or data collection.
Digital patient engagement enables automated care processes
Digital patient engagement has already increased the reach and type of interactions patients and nurses have with their patients now, but it will be even more prominent in the future. Hospitals can use, for example, mobile telemedicine applications, portals, care coordination or patient engagement software, video meeting software, or remote patient monitoring tools to connect with patients. New technological tools can offer transparent care pathways to patients and help hospitals and clinics engage, educate, and collect data from the patients.
Automated education keeps patients on track
With digital tools and platforms, patients can be educated and supported through mobile phones, tablets, and computers. Patients can access and read care-related information or instructions and submit forms or questionnaires when it is most convenient to them. Care teams can also determine when they want patients with specific procedures or treatments to receive education and task reminders, and digital tools will send the information automatically at the most optimal time.