RPM CCM AWV
RPM CCM AWV

Remote care monitoring has been widely adopted by health systems, hospitals and clinics worldwide due to the myriad of advantages they provide to both the healthcare provider and the patient.

Remote care monitoring has many features. One of its most powerful features is the message center, where care team members are able to synchronously and/or asynchronously communicate with each other.

This article describes the advantages of remote communication, the importance and benefits of care team communication, and why clinical communication amongst care team members is best done via message centers.

Wonders of Asynchronous Remote Communication

Wonders of Asynchronous Remote Communication

Research from around the world points to the effectiveness of asynchronous remote communication in healthcare between primary care professionals and patients.

Such communication methods are utilized for various purposes, such as managing test results and repeat prescriptions, and their usage increased notably during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Asynchronous communication methods have shown promise in reducing the need for in-person and ongoing visits. This is particularly true for administrative tasks that can be managed by a care team while the patient is at home.

Both professionals and patients generally express high satisfaction with asynchronous communication, appreciating its efficiency and effectiveness.

However, some professionals cite concerns about increased workload and changes in clinical responsibilities.

While resistance to change and workload increase are barriers, the high degree of satisfaction and time savings serve as facilitators for implementation.

These communication methods, which allow for interactions without simultaneous exchange, enhance patient care and streamline healthcare systems.

Overall, asynchronous communication models present an opportunity to enhance care management and streamline healthcare processes, provided proper training and support are in place for both professionals and patients.

Why is Care Team Communications Important?

Asynchronous communication is great for care team communication, as all care team members are able to communicate with each other at their own time without scheduling.

But why is this important?

Remote healthcare workers encounter various challenges such as technological barriers, distractions, time zone differences, and physical separation, all of which can hinder effective communication.

While synchronous communication is necessary in some cases, asynchronous communication is absolutely essential at all times.

It forms the bedrock of effective communication, which is vital in remote healthcare settings for patient safety, collaboration, support, and motivation.

Communication Tips for Remote Healthcare Professionals

Communication tips for remote healthcare professionals include: utilizing reliable telecommunication tools, establishing clear communication channels, enhancing active listening skills, setting communication expectations, fostering regular check-ins, leveraging visual communication tools, encouraging feedback, and prioritizing self-care.

Messaging is the Not The Only Communication Tool

There are various communication tools specifically designed for remote healthcare professionals, including video conferencing platforms, secure messaging applications, project management software, and electronic health record systems.

While messaging is not the only communication tool, it is certainly one of the more important ones because it keeps all team members aligned on the same page, and it ensures healthcare providers receive more than just secure messaging.

What Else Do They Receive?

Secure messaging has evolved beyond basic communication.

A HIPAA-compliant clinical communication solution unifies care teams across various locations, departments, and specialties to enhance collaboration, minimize non-clinical tasks, and improve patient outcomes.

More on this in the next section.

Benefits of Care Team Communications

Benefits of Care Team Communications

There are so many amazing benefits of care team communications that can be achieved by a message center.

It provides healthcare providers with a comprehensive clinical communication solution that goes beyond secure text messaging, enabling efficient collaboration, workflow optimization, integration capabilities, and robust security features to support better patient care and streamline operations.

Let’s explore each benefit.

Facilitates Efficient Collaboration

Clinicians can access patient lists, add new patients, conduct safe hand-offs, or access patient records directly from their smartphones.

They can view essential patient details such as date of birth, chief complaint, location, age, length of stay, care team members, and message history.

Clinicians have the flexibility to message care team members individually or as a group to coordinate admissions, discharges, or other aspects of patient care.

Messages can include files, images, video, audio, and text.

Enables Workflow Expertise

Collaborate closely with clinicians to continuously enhance workflow capabilities.

Hospitals often encounter challenges in optimizing workflow benefits due to technology silos. It’s possible to reduce costs and support requirements by replacing legacy technology and integrating current systems into a cloud-based solution.

Rules-based messaging routes communications based on preferred workflows, time of day, vacation schedules, and last-minute shift changes, with notifications for sent, delivered, and read messages.

Seamlessly integrate with key systems such as EMR, schedules, middleware, call center, nurse call, telephony, pagers, and directories.

For healthcare organizations with multiple locations or diverse solutions among departments, unifying scheduling solutions and the clinical directory is crucial for maximizing value for clinicians.

Other Benefits

Advanced features that may not be available with a text-only platform include two-way communication with nurse calls from mobile devices, bedside consult requests, mobile on-call schedule updates, post-discharge patient follow-ups, and escalation paths for unavailable clinicians.

Provides Integration or Replacement as Necessary

Integrating the clinical directory and on-call schedules enables clinicians to locate care team members efficiently based on various parameters such as name, role, location, department, group, specialty, or title.

Differentiated alerts ensure that urgent communication receives immediate attention without disrupting the treatment of other patients.

Physicians can retain pager functionality while benefiting from enhanced paging features. They can use their smartphones as paging devices with added capabilities such as two-way communication, escalations when unavailable, and blocking personal numbers for patient communication.

Offers Care Coordination

Agents are empowered to manage inbound calls and access critical information from clinical and IT systems in real-time through a unified interface.

Agents can join virtual queues from any location to handle inbound patient and clinician calls and instantly contact clinicians via park & page, phone, or secure message.

Protects Patients Data and Privacy

HIPAA compliance and ISO 27001 certification safeguard patient health information.

Features such as advanced authentication, message lifespan, audit history, PIN protection, and remote lock and wipe enhance security measures for healthcare organizations.

The issue of message security in healthcare is important enough to merit its own section.

Security, Privacy and Compliance

Security, Privacy and Compliance

To ensure compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), healthcare organizations must implement specific protocols and technologies when using text messaging for remote patient monitoring (RPM).

HIPAA Compliance and Text Messaging:

HIPAA mandates strict standards for protecting patient privacy and securing health data. Text messaging, while convenient, poses potential risks to patient confidentiality if not properly managed.

Ensuring Compliance in Text Messaging for RPM:

Healthcare providers must use secure messaging platforms equipped with encryption features, user authentication mechanisms, and access controls to safeguard patient information during transmission and storage.

Establishing Business Associate Agreements (BAAs) with third-party vendors ensures that all parties involved in text messaging for RPM adhere to HIPAA requirements and are accountable for protecting patient data.

Staff training on HIPAA regulations, along with the development of comprehensive policies and procedures, ensures that healthcare professionals understand and follow guidelines for appropriate text messaging practices, consent management, and response protocols.

Patient consent and opt-out options are essential components of HIPAA-compliant text messaging programs.

Patients must be fully informed of the purpose, benefits, and risks associated with text messaging in RPM and given the opportunity to decline participation if desired.

Maintaining a secure infrastructure, implementing encryption protocols, and conducting regular audits of text messaging activities help mitigate the risk of data breaches and ensure ongoing compliance with HIPAA regulations.

Why Has Clinical Communication Taken Off?

Why Has Clinical Communication Taken Off?

Besides its efficiency, are there other reasons for the rise of clinical communication in care teams via message centers?

Yes, there are reasons to consider from the healthcare organization’s point of view.

Healthcare organizations are also striving to build comprehensive communication ecosystems that span the entire care continuum, accommodating diverse patient care pathways.

The rise of telehealth and the increasing complexity of patient care underscore the importance of seamless communication across different care settings.

Organizations seek active, invested partners who offer comprehensive support and drive maximum return on investment through strategic guidance and product innovation.

Emerging trends such as virtual nursing and virtual sitters demonstrate innovative approaches to addressing staffing challenges and improving patient supervision.

These trends leverage technology to enhance clinical efficiencies and support frontline caregivers.

Additionally, the effective utilization of data and artificial intelligence (AI) holds promise for optimizing clinical communication processes. Data analysis from clinical communication platforms can offer valuable insights into care team collaboration and patient care trends, informing resource allocation and scheduling decisions.

AI-driven solutions may also help filter non-urgent messages, improving signal-to-noise ratio and reducing clinician burden.

The evolving landscape of clinical communication presents a world of possibilities for enhancing patient care and streamlining operations.

With the right technology and strategic partnerships, healthcare organizations can navigate challenges, improve efficiency, and deliver better outcomes for patients and caregivers alike.

Why Messages?

Why Messages?

RPM is revolutionizing healthcare delivery by enabling providers to monitor patients outside of traditional clinical settings.

Text messaging has emerged as a convenient and effective tool for facilitating communication between healthcare providers and patients in RPM programs.

The landscape of healthcare is evolving rapidly, driven by innovative technologies that aim to enhance patient care, improve health outcomes, reduce costs, and enhance overall efficiency.

With the increasing adoption of digital health solutions, such as remote patient monitoring (RPM), the industry is witnessing a significant shift towards patient-centered care and proactive management.

Remote patient monitoring, facilitated in part by text messaging, offers a solution to monitor large patient populations, collect real-time health data, and enable proactive care management.

Here are five key ways in which remote patient monitoring technologies, particularly leveraging text messaging, can transform healthcare delivery:

Enhanced Patient-Centric Care:

Remote patient monitoring enables continuous patient engagement and active participation in healthcare management, irrespective of their location.

By empowering patients with real-time data and encouraging their involvement in care decisions, remote monitoring fosters transparent and collaborative relationships between patients and care teams.

Automating Care Delivery to Tackle Resource Strain:

Remote monitoring technologies streamline care delivery by automating data collection, prioritizing responses, and reducing the need for frequent in-person visits or phone calls.

This automation helps care teams detect health issues promptly, intervene early, and allocate resources efficiently, ultimately improving patient outcomes.

Elevating Digital Front Door Strategy:

A robust digital front door strategy enhances patient access and engagement while optimizing operational efficiencies for healthcare providers.

By offering personalized digital experiences and seamless connectivity with care teams, remote monitoring platforms serve as the initial point of contact between patients and providers, enhancing accessibility to care.

Improved Accessibility and Equity:

Remote patient monitoring breaks down barriers to healthcare access by providing equitable care to patients, regardless of geographical limitations or socioeconomic factors.

By empowering patients with remote monitoring technologies, providers can ensure that all patients receive the support they need, leading to better health outcomes and increased patient satisfaction.

Scalability and Sustainability:

Implementing remote monitoring technologies at scale requires solutions that are cost-effective, user-friendly, and aligned with existing workflows.

By leveraging text messaging and other remote monitoring tools, healthcare systems can efficiently reach diverse patient populations, improve user adoption, and ensure long-term sustainability of initiatives.

New Direction for Clinical Communication

Clinical communication is undergoing significant changes, moving beyond basic secure messaging to encompass a broader array of functionalities that enhance care coordination and efficiency.

According to KLAS, clinical communication solutions have notably improved overall efficiency and clinician collaboration, indicating their growing impact. One prominent trend is the consolidation of communication channels within healthcare organizations.

Another key focus area is the integration of healthcare call centers into modern communication ecosystems.

Efficient workflows remain a priority amidst persistent burnout and staffing challenges in healthcare.

Clinical communication systems are poised to play a crucial role in facilitating smoother workflows for clinicians by automating tasks and streamlining care coordination processes.

These systems can alleviate delays and support integrations with provider scheduling solutions to optimize resource allocation.

Major Takeaways for a Message Center in Care Team Communications

Major Takeaways for a Message Center in Care Team Communications

Ensuring continuity of care is crucial for improving patient health outcomes, with two main objectives in mind: achieving high-quality health outcomes through collaboration between care teams and patients, and delivering healthcare efficiently to manage costs.

Efficient communication plays a vital role in achieving these objectives by enabling continuous interaction between care team members and patients in various ways. It also helps in reducing burnout and staff turnover, which can disrupt continuous care.

Cloud-based communication systems offer greater reliability, security, and efficiency, ensuring effective communication among care team members across various locations.

This ultimately enhances trust among patients and care providers while optimizing relationships within the healthcare setting.

Text messaging, integrated into remote patient monitoring technologies, serves as a vital tool for care teams in healthcare transformation.

By facilitating communication, data collection, and patient engagement, text messaging contributes to enhanced patient care, improved outcomes, and a more efficient healthcare delivery system.

As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, embracing remote monitoring technologies and leveraging text messaging will be instrumental in driving positive change and delivering high-quality care to patients worldwide.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9374012/

https://klasresearch.com/report/clinical-communication-platforms-2021-improved-efficiency-leading-to-concrete-outcomes/1706

https://www.hipaajournal.com/is-text-messaging-hipaa-compliant/

https://www.humhealth.com/blog/roi-of-rpm-ccm-and-rtm/

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