Friday, September 30, 2016

How Medical-Grade Messaging Out-delivers Video & Phone Medicine

The disconnect between medical service delivery and modern communications technology is a hindrance to healthcare. Efforts to align the provision of care with available technology have been made difficult by regulations that haven’t kept pace. With phone or video, appointments can be disrupted or lengthened by small talk or additional patient concerns. Anticipated length, delays, and scheduling make such communications onerous, eating up more time than is acceptable and removing control form participating physicians. these issues impede the acceptance of the technology and slow progress in advancements of healthcare. A big deterrent to using video or phone consultations is due to a dependence of scheduling and a lack of control over the conversation. This lack of control created limitations for clinics, and so the intended benefits never materialized. Furthermore, the real barrier lies within the inability for video consults to ensure absolute security. Services that form video connections over the internet risk interception because it is difficult to track chain of custody as there is often not a dedicated link. To solve the problem of the increasing reality of patient demand outstripping supply, a secure, reliable, and physician controlled communication channel must be put into practice. Secure communication technology has made leaps and bounds to conform with non-adaptive regulations. Secure messaging is an effective way of having clinical conversations, and can transform the patient and clinic experience from painful to empowering. Patients gain the ability to engage more closely with their physicians, and physicians can easily remind patients of the necessary home actions to stay compliant with their treatment. Secure messaging qualifies for a newly established billing codes in Alberta and actually saves time for physicians. This medium is Physician/clinic controlled, because responses can be delivered when convenient or when all necessary information has been collected. Nothing is worse than trying to implement a new way of doing things, just to have it fall to the wayside as has been the fate of video and phone consults. All of the effort put into adjusting patient experience feels lost, and that is the exact reason why secure messaging is facing unearned resistance. With the power to engage patients and other practitioners exactly around the issue at hand, clinics no longer have to sync schedules and can avoid the unnecessary chit chat until the mandatory personal visit. Implementation is not a tedious data entry project akin to starting with a new EMR. In Alberta, 20% to 30% of patients don’t show up for scheduled doctor’s visits. By engaging with patients remotely, physicians increase chances of attendance and introduce a consultation method that may be billable even if the patient doesn’t show. There's no worry of patients being late or missing the scheduled time because the conversation can happen without needing schedules to align. Clinics everywhere are increasingly understanding the efficiency asynchronous communication (i.e. messaging) provides over synchronous communication such as video and phone. Now the advantage has been placed in the healthcare practitioner's hands, while providing a more comprehensive and convenient service to the patient. 

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