How secure instant messaging can play a part in patient-centered care

Arm your healthcare staff with tools that elevate the importance of patient-centred care. Here's where instant messaging fits in.

According to Dr Marie-Dominique Beaulieu, family physician and primary care researcher, patient-centered care is all about sharing useful information, deepening our understanding of our respective needs, and using common language to talk about the things that concern us.

So how can you arm your healthcare staff with tools that elevate the importance of this type of care?  The Picker Institute and Harvard Medical School have highlighted eight principles of patient-centered care, and this blog will explore how secure instant messaging can help facilitate the same.

1. Respect for patients’ values, preferences and expressed needs

Providing important information via a HIPAA compliant messaging app gives patients more choice. People familiar with instant messaging may prefer communicating via IM instead of in a letter or in person. Giving patients the opportunity to choose allows you to respect their values, preferences and expressed needs.

2. Coordination and integration of care

Using IM to coordinate care is valuable. In fact, IM reduces ‘Did Not Attend’ (DNA) rates by up to 30 percent. It’s harder to lose track of something if it’s on a device you use every day.  Letters can get lost in the mail and emails can get missed in spam or clutter. Keeping important information in a safe place where it is easily found is helpful. 

Secure IM creates a space where your team can collaborate safely, too. It can ensure that coordination and integration of care is on-time and effective.

3. Information and education

Sometimes patients don’t understand their prognosis and can get overwhelmed by hospital jargon. Secure IM is a fast and efficient way to share any information with patients while protecting their privacy. In some instances, you don’t need to provide heavy reading in brochures, and you can share links to trusted studies, videos, or websites to help educate your patients.

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4. Physical comfort

IM allows doctors and nurses to provide recommendations for physical comfort too.  For example, you can share advice about over-the-counter pain relief or ways to sleep better with your patients.

5. Emotional support and alleviation of fear and anxiety

We’ve seen telemedicine for mental health grow by more than 50 percent in the last ten years. Instant messaging provides another way that patients can receive help if they need it. When your patients feel uncomfortable speaking in a group setting or face to face, communicating via IM can make them feel more at ease.

6. Involvement of family and friends

Your patients can also add members to secure group chats. This gives them the freedom to include family and friends in the decision-making process.

7. Continuity and transition

When you discharge a patient, they may become overwhelmed when shifting back to normal life. Secure IM gives you the ability to provide essential aftercare and help patients adjust back to reality.

To ensure a comfortable transition, you can send them understandable, detailed information regarding medication, physical limitations or dietary needs. You can also coordinate and plan ongoing treatment and services.

8. Access to care

If the patient needs support after their initial treatment, IM allows you to provide the information instantly. This will include resources around where they can access clinical, social, physical and financial support.

Implementing IM in your patient-centered care plan

Secure IM can’t replace the physical aspects of patient-centered care, but it can improve the overall experience. Virtual medicine, peer support groups, and a range of information and communication technologies play a part in this type of care. Including secure messaging in how you deliver patient-centered care makes providing information quick, easy and secure for everyone.

Not sure where to start with a secure instant messaging service? Check out the Noncee blog for more knowledge on IM in the healthcare industry.

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