The single largest budget item for hospitals is labor costs, which can represent as much as 50% or more of the expense budget.  In small practices staff salary and benefits account for up to 30% of overhead expenses.  To get the most out of their largest line item, large and small healthcare organizations alike should be focused on staff efficiency, especially in doctor-patient communication.

A big opportunity to improve efficiency is to improve communication — doctors are still using pagers for goodness’ sake.  The problem is that most organizations find the prospect of implementing new technology daunting.  The transition to electronic medical records left scars on many practices who were forced to fundamentally change their workflow, but the transition to technology that enhances communication is actually pretty easy.

Texting technology doesn’t require providers and staff to change their workflow.

Secure texting is the best way for practices to both engage with their patients and communicate internally.  Most doctors are already texting with their colleagues, staff and referring providers, and providing a secure channel to maintain that flow of communication will help avoid costly HIPAA fines.  It’s a no-brainer.  It’s the part about texting patients that gets practices really worried.

“Why would I want to open that floodgate?”  

“I don’t want my patients to be able to contact me directly.”

“My staff already have enough to do.”

But the reality is that providing a secure texting channel built for healthcare can actually solve these problems.  Secure texting makes doctor-patient communication more efficient.

It’s like a phone call, only easier.

Most physician practices and hospital groups that use OhMD implement a workflow that mimics their phone call workflow.  Because the majority of patients preferring texting to calling, many practices see a reduction in call volume by up to 30% in the first 12 months.  And since phone calls take more time to answer, triage and follow-up on than a simple text message, the reduction in call volume represents a huge increase in staff efficiency and productivity.

Patients are likely to text practices about a whole range of things, from scheduling appointments, to prescription refills, to more clinically significant questions. This means that doctor-patient communication more often ends up being practice-patient communication, with the physician only fielding a small percentage of patient texts.

Doctor-Patient communication for the 21st century.

Medical practices should be thoughtful about the technology they implement; there is too much on the line when it comes to security, patient satisfaction and efficiency for practices to chase every technology fad.  But texting isn’t going anywhere.  Practices who value efficiency and patient engagement need to implement a secure texting solution to optimize communication.