Text Your Way to Better Health

A recent study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research revealed that text messaging as a healthcare tool can benefit patients and improve health outcomes. The study reviewed 60 previous studies that looked at texting in health care. Researchers found that 77% of studies (46 of the 60 reviewed) saw improved outcomes in patient care when text messaging was used.  In these studies, the texts were primarily used to remind patients about medication intake, appointment reminders and lifestyle reminders. One of the study’s authors explained, “The findings of this literature review are encouraging…Given the widespread use of mobile phone text message reminders among different patient groups, it may have the potential to improve adherence to medication and attendance at clinical appointments globally.” This comes at a critical time, as missed appointments are costly for the patient and the healthcare system, and poor medication adherence often results in increased readmissions and poor health outcomes.

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Man using smart phone, Texting

The use of text messaging has significantly increased over the past few years, and is now one of the primary ways people communicate with each other. In fact, text messaging is the most used app on cell phones. A study conducted by the Pew Research Center shows that 97% of people ages 18 – 29 and 75% of people ages 50 – 64 use text messaging, with these numbers continuing to grow. One reason contributing to the widespread use of text messaging is the efficiency it brings, as it is a fast and easy way to communicate with others that can be accomplished when on the go or out in noisy environments. Yet, despite the popularity of text messaging and studies demonstrating the benefits of texting in health care, many health systems have been slow to adopt this form of communication. Given the compliance requirements these organizations operate under, that hesitancy is understandable.

When you think about traditional text messaging, you generally think of typing a message on your phone and sending it to a friend. This method of text messaging is not considered compliant communications, its security is suspect, and the sender typically never receives a confirmation that the recipient received the message. Security is crucial to protecting patient health information, and there can be a very expensive price tag for breaches of security. In fact, a single HIPAA (the law that covers protecting patient information) violation can result in a fine of up to $50,000and repeated violations can result in up to $1.5 million fines in a given year. So, sending protected patient health information via text can be problematic to say the least.

Some organizations have adopted secure texting solutions to remedy this exposure. Such solutions, however, typically require an installation of a dedicated app on the mobile device participating in the secure text, with the associated application installs and software costs that go along with that. It can be a challenge to get all the clinicians using such a tool, when providers work with multiple healthcare systems and care teams can change on the fly. Imagine the challenges in trying to extend this sort of solution out to the community of patients and their mobile devices, and you quickly realize why this approach is not a viable solution for broad patient engagement if secure health information needs to be shared. So what’s a healthcare organization to do?

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Leading organizations using Revation’s LinkLive7 platform believe they have found a better way. LinkLive allows users to initiate secure mobile chat sessions via SMS to any smartphone, by using the text message as the vehicle to deliver the link to the secure chat session. The process can really be this easy:

Step 1. An outbound text from Revation LinkLive sends a link to a secure session to the patient or provider’s mobile device;

Step 2. The recipient clicks on the link to gain access to a secure session, which is launched using their device’s web browser;

Step 3. The secure session is opened with the appropriate individual or securely routed to a member of a group;

Step 4. Secure messages are sent using the HIPAA-compliant chat functionality of Revation LinkLive.

This process is simple, easy-to-use and secure. It allows patients to text with their provider securely or for physicians to text with each other securely – all without having to download or install an app or software. Users can even send files securely without having to install separate applications. All activity is logged for auditability, and the sessions can be recorded for quality assurance.

This approach combines the best of text messaging – it’s high reach, low cost, and ease of use – with the security and compliance required for healthcare organizations to help drive significant improvement in patient health outcomes and cost savings.

Want to learn more? Download our LinkLive Mobile solution brief and find out how you can implement text messaging in your health system today!

Have some thoughts on innovation and how to apply LinkLive at your organization?

Sources:
http://www.aaos.org/news/aaosnow/aug12/managing5.asp
http://www.fiercemobilehealthcare.com/story/texting-healthcare-tool-shows-promise/2014-10-20?utm_medium=nl&utm_source=internal

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