Thanks to the recently prevailing ideology of value-based care, there are a number of positive trends beginning to emerge. Case in point: patient engagement. A topic often discussed in the medical community, patient engagement enables, well, patients, to be more involved and have more say in their own healthcare, in their own treatment plans, and in their own recovery. In this effort to involve patients to a greater degree, communication takes on a role of the utmost significance, and the recent development of smart messaging, in particular, presents a standout opportunity for the healthcare industry.
Smart messaging is defined as “the process of leveraging current technology platforms to provide the patient with clear messaging at different points in the care process.” If patients are proactive in participating through smart messaging, then pharmacists and other healthcare professionals will have tangible data that will positively affect their decision-making, and will thus ultimately positively affect the overall patient experience.
Increasing Engagement with High-Risk Patients
High-risk patients could very well benefit enormously from implementing widespread smart messaging tactics. It would facilitate communication by decreasing response time as well as in improving treatment methods. This is because smart messaging systems immediately absorb data and then can cross-reference that data with previously prescribed treatment methods.
For instance, there is one smart messaging platform currently available that immediately identifies patients with diabetes through their past treatment history. Once the patient in question picks up their medicine, the system would instantly analyze the pick-up and determine whether or not the patient is adhering to their treatment plan. This sort of data could and would enable doctors to accurately assess their patients’ conditions by nearly guaranteeing that there is nothing lost in translation, that the patient is, in fact, wholly following their treatment plan and taking their prescribed medications.
Proactively involving patients with their healthcare will naturally lead to better performance on both the quality and cost fronts. For instance, with Medicare Star Ratings, pharmacies have the ability to aid payer networks when they identify and close gaps in care. By this logic, the what should be now healthier patient population should theoretically lower their medication expenses, which will enable said payers to maximize their reimbursement.
Just as well, pharmacies can also use smart messaging platforms as an opportunity to discover additional avenues of revenue within their own products and services. For example, many patients receive flu vaccinations. However, many other patients may benefit from a shingles vaccination as well. With smart messaging, pharmacies would be able to identify this scenario and reach out appropriately to individuals who would benefit from additional vaccines, and this would then bolster their earnings.
Patient engagement has the capacity to help both people and business, and it’s time we started taking advantage of it, not only to improve patient care, but to better the healthcare industry as a whole.