healthcare-communications

The Need for a Connected Healthcare Ecosystem:

Healthcare industry has seen major enhancements in the past few years both in Clinical and Administrative technologies. While innovations in the fields of Digestible Sensors, Optogenetics and 3D Printed Biological Materials allow healthcare practitioners to offer cheap, faster and more efficient patient care, major advancements in the field of Healthcare IoT and services like EHR and EMR has given more control and access to data.

Yet with all the major outbreaks happening around us most healthcare providers still rely on antiquated tools for communication – pagers, desk phones, emails, paper charts and reports, which creates bottlenecks and breakdowns in communication. The outcome, very often we come across instances that link medical errors to poor communication between providers. Below are some results to ponder upon:

Connectivity in HEalthcareThe Joint Commission, one of the leading authorities for Medical Accreditations and Certifications claimed in one of their studies that “80% of medical errors are as a result of poor communication in patient handoffs  between providers”

 

AIGThe American International Group identified “Lack of Teamwork, negative culture and poor communication ” as the major hindrance to improving patient safety in hospitals.

 

 

evanoff_350Bradley Evanoff and a team of other physicians from Washington University School of Medicine in their research proved that “Failures of communication among Health Care providers can lead to medical errors and poor quality of patient care .”

One major advancement in the field of Healthcare connectivity is the emergence of EMR and EHR services. Thanks to these services, Healthcare providers have moved from paper-based patient records and files, to a central repository for all information, which is vastly more efficient. One major pain point still unaddressed despite the emergence of such services and its widespread adoption is the lack of any mode for Real-time communication. EMRs generally don’t push out notifications when new information is added and requires a computer or a work station to query patient data. Needless to say continually checking an EMR for patient information or messages creates bottlenecks in collaborative workflows.

As Healthcare moves into a collaborative care model, patient safety becomes a collective endeavor that requires strong coordination across all stakeholders in a patient’s healthcare ecosystem. Therefore healthcare communication needs to reside in a responsive, dynamic environment with multiple access points and not in a state of lagging response on fixed systems.

We live in a world where mobile technology enables communication to happen in real time. We get notified about all things we care about, on our smartphones real-time as and when it happens.

Healthcare today requires the same level of spontaneity in connectivity and Healthcare providers expect the convenience and readiness of communication that the smartphone in their pocket can offer.

At Applozic Inc. we power real-time communication across all connected devices and our aim is to revamp the antiquated modes of communication with a secure patient-centric communication solution for Healthcare providers. The beauty of our solution is: unlike most collaboration software, ours can be integrated into any app or EMR/EHR service and can also be used as a standalone communication software. With Applozic, all members can directly message fellow members of a patient’s care team, send and access lab reports with the tap of a button, use it as a telemedicine platform as we also support Audio/Video calling and make endless other customizations to meet specific requirements.

WilliamRe-emphasising the same, Dr. William Hanson from Penn Medicine, one of the world’s leading academic medical centres, published a report in which they claimed, “Patients had shorter hospital stays, when their care providers used secure text messaging to improve communication .”

The study further suggests that average patient length of stay declined from 6.0 to 5.4 days in the first month, and over a period of one year patients whose care providers used messaging as a mode of collaboration left the hospital about 0.77 days sooner, which is equivalent to a 14% reduction in their overall hospital stay.

Thus in the US, where the average cost per inpatient day hovering at around $1986, total saving per patient as a result of their decreased tenure of stay is approximately 1500$. Considering 35.1 million inpatient stays annually, cumulative saving for healthcare industry annually will be $52Bn .

Therefore it is evident that switching from the antiquated communication channels which are by and large prone to interruptions and bottlenecks, to a real-time setup has several benefits and simultaneously addresses quite a few burning problems which are plaguing the Healthcare sector.

From our research we found the following major advantages of a Real-time communication system apart from enablement of a collaborative patient care environment:

  • Decreased Costs: Patient monitoring done on a real-time basis and seamless transfer of information, as discussed above cuts down on costs both due to decreased in-patient stays and also by cutting down on unnecessary visits by doctors.
  • Improved outcomes on Treatment: Real-time feedback from all parties of the care team, creates scope for a much more informed decision making. This ensures healthcare provision is timely and treatment outcomes are improved.
  • Reduced Errors: Accurate collection of data, automated workflows combined with data driven decisions are an excellent way of cutting down on waste, reducing system costs and most importantly minimizing on errors.
  • Enhanced Patient Experience: Proactive treatments, improved accuracy when it comes to diagnosis, timely intervention by physicians and enhanced treatment outcomes result in accountable care that is highly trusted among patients.
  • Enhanced post-hospitalization care and better drug management: Constant co-ordination between patient and physician post hospitalization ensures proactive care and better drug management, thereby reducing re-admissions and increasing scope of complete recovery.

Thus far we have delved into the potential pain points Healthcare practitioners face due to lagging communication channels and the potential of Real-time communication in addressing the same and in enabling an environment of collaborative and proactive healthcare.

In our next post we will discuss more in detail of the potential use cases of real-time communication in Healthcare.

We invite you to discuss anything relevant in the comment section below. In case you would like to take our platform for a spin, you can always Schedule a Demo with one of our Consultants.


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Top 8 uses of In-app Messaging and Push Notifications

“A bird in hand is worth two in the bush” and rightly so for businesses it is always easier to retain an existing customer than to bring in a new one. In an overcrowded app market where there are approximately 10 prominent apps competing in every segment, app capability is certainly no more the differentiator. Hence unless you are the Googles or the Facebooks of the world, you are always at the risk of losing out to your immediate competitor. In order to preserve market share one needs to employ better in-app engagement and retention techniques to keep bringing users back and increase their lifetime value.

Push Notifications had long been the app marketer’s darling and lately there is a new kid on the block i.e. in-app messaging. While Push Notifications are a way for you to playfully nudge your users, getting them to open your app, in-app messages are media-rich messages that you receive in the app. Together the two play a huge role in an app’s user retention efforts.

We have been building Messaging capabilities in mobile apps for a while now, and have seen various use cases of Push Notifications and In-app Messages working in tandem to engage and retain users. In this article we would unveil 8 unique and innovative ways of using these two communication channels:

  • Onboard New Users: Your onboarding experience is the user’s first interaction with your app, getting it right increases retention rates by 50% . Help customers navigate from one process to the other: such as creating an account, watching help materials etc. This would make your users familiar with the lay of the land for ease of use and navigation. 

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  • Help Users discover features: In a feature rich app, users might be missing out on the feature they need i.e. the one that would boost engagement with your app. A friendly nudge while they are on the app, asking them to check out a certain feature might just help them discover their favorite thing about your app.

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  • Show off what’s new: Announce New Features to users: Take advantage of the worthy moment when the user is in your app to announce a major new feature and encourage them to take it for a spin. A good practice is to let them dive right into the new feature via a CTA button, making it easy for them to try it out.

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  • Help retain Lapsing customers with customized offers: Often when users go dormant and are inaccessible by traditional modes of communication like email or push notification, in-app messaging with a suitable offer can be used for retargeting. This is because in-app messages are triggered when the user is actively using the app and data suggests in-app messages boosts engagement by 3X .

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  • Personalized Upsell and Cross Sell Messages encouraging purchase: Companies have always looked for avenues to win a customer’s heart (and wallet) and one such technique is by offering personalized recommendations and up/cross sell offers. One way is to use a customer’s purchase history to suggest additional items and while someone does so, it is important to consider factors like apt timing to contact and the customer’s price sensitivity.

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  • Transactional In-app Messages for user satisfaction: Transactional in-app messages does a great job at giving users peace of mind that their conversion action is completed. It is advisable to take it further with a CTA since data suggests that In-app messages triggered from an in-app event increase conversion by 4X.
    A good example is sending users in-app messages confirming their reservation, with an option to add it to Google Calendar. This way your app weaves into the user’s everyday life, increasing the likelihood of them becoming power users.

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  • Sharing important information and making major announcements: Right information at the right time can delight your customers beyond imagination and make them loyal to your app. Although it can’t be good news every time, but upfront transparency is better in cases where user experience can be negatively impacted later on. For example while Google Maps tells you if a faster route has become available and gives the option to accept a change, Uber notifies users about price surges beforehand, and also when prices have dropped.

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  • Encourage Social Sharing and Building Brand Advocacy: The key here is to show messages to the right people at the right time with the right copy. The purpose is to graduate active app users into brand ambassadors by encouraging them to rate your app or by endorsing the “Sharing is Caring” philosophy asking app users to share content from your app on Social Channels.

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Do you use In-app Messaging? If yes, how and if not, why? Tell us in the comments.


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Which Chat SDK is better for user experience? Applozic, Sendbird, Layer or Quickblox!

In the previous article, we have explained about the technologies being used by each of the solution providers. This was the first step in taking a decision as to which software to rely upon for chat integration. The next important set of parameters to evaluate is from the user’s perspective.
Let us understand the features which users will enjoy.

Audio And Video Calling
We all know how important it has become for users to have the option to converse face to face. With instant messaging applications like Messenger, WhatsApp making it their USP, enterprises wouldn’t want to lag behind. IP based Audio and Video calling is being offered by Applozic, Layer and Quickblox, while Sendbird is yet to release this feature.

SMS and Email Fallback
Although internet penetration has been immense and in-app messaging is undoubtedly on the rise, users still need a mechanism to be notified in its absence. SMS and email fallback allow users to receive messages on their mobile phones in case they are not connected to the internet or by email if they are not using the application. It assures that no message is missed or lost. This unique feature is offered by Applozic and Layer only. Sendbird and Quickblox are yet to offer SMS Email fallback.

Chat UI Kit
Users enjoy an easy to navigate mobile/ website application. With unique UI toolkit designers and developers can provide the same user experience even inside the chat application provided by third parties. To meet these needs Applozic and Layer provides an open source toolkit which allows designers and developers to completely customize UI as per their requirements. On the contrary, Sendbird offers limited capabilities with its open source sample UI kit and Quickblox with its chat view controller.  

Number of Members allowed in Group Chat:
This is the age of networking and users with similar interests love to stay connected. Users love to form groups based on interests in apps they use instead of migrating to third party app always.Group Dynamics, not only induces engagement but also plays an active role in knowledge sharing. With Applozic and Sendbird there is no upper limit on the number of users in a group. However, in Quickblox you may need to host it on a dedicated AWS infrastructure for better performance.
Layer has kept a limit of 25 on the number of members a group can have.

Developers Community
Applozic, being a White Label SDK is highly customizable and allow developers to build chat the way they want. It has seen compounding growth among developers in platforms like Stack Overflow, Github, Reditt since its inception. On the other hand Sendbird and Layer have seen growth at a constant rate. Quickblox enjoys a good number of followers in Stack Overflow.

Customer Support
Customer Support is a determining factor for SaaS since unlike other products, for most businesses relying on SaaS – operations can come to a standstill even for minor malfunctions. Applozic has tried to redefine customer support in this domain with 24X7 connectivity across different channels like email, Skype and support chat. The typical response time is anywhere between few mins to an hour, whereas Sendbird, Quickblox and Layer are known to reply in days.

To summarize:

Comparison Infographics - Updated