Moving the Needle: Enhancing the Patient Experience Through Technology

By Mario Ochoa

Are you aware of the importance of flu shots? When was the last time your children had their annual wellness examinations? Have they received their latest immunizations? The growth of healthcare as a business first, and a means of care second, has ensured that people must endure an inundation of information that spells confusion and disconnects the end user.

Telemessaging, a pre-recorded messaging system that can be personalized and targeted to a specific population, is finding its niche with healthcare experts who seek touch points for patient education as a part of their on-going communication efforts.

The system offers highly personalized, cost-effective, and efficient solutions that have been identified by many professionals as ideal for resourcefully communicating messages to a wide audience. Telemessaging is one key in providing members from different areas of the healthcare industry unmatched industry knowledge and support.

Carenet, a Texas-based healthcare support services center, utilizes the system as one of its key components to information distribution and has found success in its application. According to Carenet’s executive vice president, Vikie Spulak, “It is flexible in that our clients can record their own messages and have them instantly delivered to his or her members, who now become engaged with the provider in a way that is personalized for them.

“As an example, the medical director of a health plan wanted to disseminate important information such as prevention tips, vaccination locations, or other relevant information on the swine flu to 200,000 people in a matter of hours through this system. Telemessaging was the best option available. This technology allows information to reach a larger percentage of people in a more efficient manner.”

“The use of telemessaging often includes notifying members of pharmacy changes, such as a new generic drug that is currently on the market, or reminding members to have their children’s immunizations kept up-to-date,” said Carenet president, John Erwin.

“Overall, it allows for more productive communication in that it conveniently and efficiently delivers messages that are important to the recipient. However, that’s not the only benefit. As we have seen in healthcare, if you can empower your patient, you can be more effective in your care. It allows the patient to ask questions that are more informed, evaluate the responses, and find the best method of treatment. We are enhancing the patient experience through technology.”

Through telemessaging, companies are able to create targeted campaigns to ER frequenters, informing them that there are other convenient resources, such as local urgent cares available to help them with their healthcare needs.

By and large, telemessaging has the capacity to enhance customer relationship management by keeping companies connected, allowing information to become liquid and flow from one channel to another, and enhance the confidence a client, member, or patient has in his or her investment.

“Providing compassionate and knowledgeable healthcare solutions should be the mission of every healthcare provider,” said Erwin. “Telemessaging is a piece of the puzzle, and it reflects an idea that is slowly making its welcome return to our industry: passion and a commitment to helping people navigate their health, coverage, and obstacles to achieving peace of mind.

“These goals are significant to the patient and should be as important to healthcare professionals. Technology combined with personalized customer care can be a cog that helps move the needle towards a collective ‘Eureka’ when we find communication solutions that keep people informed and empowered.”

[From the October/November 2010 issue of AnswerStat magazine]