Top 6 uses of In-app messaging & Real-time communication in Healthcare

In our previous blog, we discussed in detail about why the healthcare industry requires a more connected ecosystem. A quick recap and you will realize that with efficient communication, about 80% medical errors can be avoided and the average inpatient stay would be reduced by 0.77 days. Considering this, the cumulative annual saving for the industry would be $52bn.

In this blog post, we would look into real-life use cases of Real-time communication in the Healthcare Industry, and the benefits thereof:

Patient-Physician (1-1) Chat:

A dedicated conversational interface for each patient to communicate directly with their care provider and vice versa. A great way for patients to be in touch with their physicians at all times. Ideal for post-hospitalization care, effective drug management and emergencies.

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Present Medical Reports Directly In Conversations:

Paper-based medical reports are subject to damage and loss. It also incurs additional mailing/faxing charges and effort. Presenting all medical reports as attachments on a messaging client is both spontaneous and relatively much cheaper.

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Patient Centric Group Conversations:

A dedicated conversation interface corresponding to every patient. This is ideal for bringing the complete healthcare team together for powerful team dialogue. Promotes more coordination and transparency, also ensures the formulation of a more informed and collaborative treatment plan.

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Personal Nurse:

Remote patient care is one area of service, i.e. still unexplored. One way is to send timely reminders to patients for adherence to drug routines, regular medical checkups and diagnostic tests. This ensures better rehabilitation care, thereby increasing the likelihood of full recovery, and also makes up for lapses in patient hand-off communication if any.

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Internal Communication:

Internal communication within any healthcare setup still relies on antiquated modes like desk phones, pagers, emails, paper charts, etc. which are susceptible to bottlenecks. Switching to a real-time setup makes communication faster and more efficient.

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Healthcare Bots:

Although chatbots can never replace an experienced doctor, self-diagnosis tools powered by AI can help people find a solution to most common problems. The real benefit of Chatbots in healthcare is its ability to provide advice and information for a healthy life.

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Chatbots in healthcare can span any of the following niches:

  1. Fitness
  2. Mental Health Support
  3. Nutrition Coaching
  4. Symptom Checkers
  5. Medication Adherence
  6. Diabetes Support etc.

Real-time communication by means of In-app Messaging can help the healthcare industry provide the best patient care, ensuring data confidentiality.
To sum it all up, the benefits of Real-time communication in healthcare are:

  • More efficient workflows due to better coordination between hospital staff and practitioners.
  • Enables faster information sharing by means of transmitting diagnostic reports, treatment schedules, etc. directly on chat.
  • Instant Messaging can guide practitioners to reach the area of the hospital, which needs their attention spontaneously, thereby reducing personnel response time.
  • Seamless communication between care team and the patient ensures quicker treatment, enabling physicians to treat more patients in the same time.
  • Messaging improves the accuracy of appointment scheduling and also the efficiency and speed of hospital admissions.

Did we miss any other use case of real-time messaging in healthcare? Let us know in the comments section below.

 


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 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.

Our next post  delves into the details 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.