Alert Solutions Blog

5 Top Healthcare Technology Innovations for 2019

Posted by Tara Gibson on Fri, Jan 25, 2019 @ 10:01 AM

2019 is bringing new technology trends to many industries, but healthcare may be the most intriguing of them all. Healthcare technology is forever changing, making it tricky for medical practices to stay on top of new tools and trends.

With healthcare technology, it’s now possible to talk to a doctor without leaving your home. There’s no telling what developments we’ll see for medical practices in the near future. Is there a healthcare technology revolution on the horizon?  Well, innovations designed to enhance healing and transform healthcare are already here, according to distinguished doctors and researchers.

Our Favorite 5 Healthcare Technology Innovations

  1. TelehealthTelehealth
    Telehealth is starting to become a staple in the healthcare technology market. According to Healthcare Global, “Consumers are leading increasingly busy lifestyles, with up to 60% favoring digitally-led services.” The ease of connecting with healthcare professionals online is not only easier, but also less expensive. “Reimbursement initiatives underway in both arenas (telemedicine & remote monitoring devices) are likely to increase the use of the technologies.” Health Data management states, “…more savvy patients will want the same utility for healthcare that they experience everywhere else in life – getting what they want and need, when they want it.”

  2. AI (Artificial Intelligence)
    According to the Cleveland Clinic, “AI is changing the game with its applications in decision support, image analysis, and patient triage.” Forbes expects AI for the Healthcare Application market will cross $1.7 billion by the end of 2019, and anticipates that by operationalizing AI platforms across healthcare workflows would result in 10-15% productivity gain over the next 2-3 years. “If AI can shape healthcare, it has to work through the regulations of healthcare. In fact, I see that as one of the biggest areas where the benefits will play out for the next 10-20 years,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai has previously stated.

  3. Health Wearables
    Lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and heart disease are on the rise, making health wearables that monitor glucose, heart rate, physical activity, and sleep more attractive to those suffering from these health conditions. Healthcare Global says after partnering with Google, “health wearables company Fitbit is exploring the development of consumer and enterprise health solutions. Its acquisition of HIPAA-compliant health platform, Twine Health has seen the business enhance its clinical services by bringing on board a coaching platform, empowering people to seek better health outcomes.”

  4. Using IT For Patient Engagement & Experience
    Patient engagement is a huge factor in healthcare, as it has many positive outcomes. Keeping a patient engaged in their health not only encourages them to make their frequent appointments but also forces a patient to be accountable. “Patient experience management encompasses the range of interactions that patients have with the healthcare system, including their care from health plans, and from doctors, nurses and staff in hospitals, physician practices and other healthcare facilities.” HealthData Management states, “Healthcare organizations will invest in care delivery models to meet patients where they are—say through portals, medical apps and remote patient monitoring.”

  5. Electronic Health Records & Appointment Reminders
    Electronic Health Records and appointment reminders are simpler healthcare technologies in comparison to the above, yet they are extremely effective for medical practices across the country. It’s very important for a healthcare facility to have a great EHR System to manage patient information as well as an easy way to communicate with those patients about upcoming appointments. Alert Solutions helps medical providers improve efficiency by automating appointment reminders, ultimately reducing clerical busy work for doctors and minimizing patient no-show rates.

With healthcare technology continuing the push the envelope, medical practices and healthcare institutions should be reviewing these tools and trends often to improve efficiency and optimize patient health outcomes.

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Topics: health, appointment reminders, automated patient notifications, Medical, patient communication, patient engagement, healthcare

Flu Season is Here – Encourage Patients to Get Their Flu Shots!

Posted by Tara Gibson on Thu, Oct 25, 2018 @ 09:10 AM

Hack. Cough. Sniff. If you’re a healthcare professional, you’re probably noticing this background noise while at work as well as when you're out and about.

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As you know, fall and winter are peak seasons for flu in the U.S., with the viral illness usually making its unwanted debut at the end of October. According to the CDC, flu season spikes in February and gradually subsides in March.

Each year, an average 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu, and some 200,000 Americans are hospitalized at an average combined cost of more than $10 billion.  

Of course, the best way to protect yourself and your patients is to promote the administration of flu shots by the end of October — or as soon as possible before flu season really ramps up.

“But better late than never,” advises Dr. Honore Lansen of One Medical on Popsugar.com. “If December rolls around and you haven't gotten your flu shot yet, don't hesitate. The flu shot is available throughout flu season, and isn't any less effective in later months."

Medical practices can encourage patients to get their flu shot in many ways – in person, on social media, and including information in their appointment reminders.

Here are a few facts about flu season and the flu shot to share with your patients:

  • The flu can initially mimic a cold, but the flu tends to come on suddenly, include a fever, and can last 2-3 weeks.
  • The flu is not alleviated by antibiotics.
  • The flu shot is recommended for everyone older than 6 months, with only a few exceptions.
  • Contrary to popular belief, you can’t get the flu from the flu shot, since it’s not a live vaccine.
  • Getting the flu shot can protect you from spreading it to more vulnerable loved ones.
  • Frequent, thorough hand-washing is also important to help prevent flu.

One fast, efficient and effective way to issue appointment reminders is with Alert Solutions – our appointment reminder system can automatically remind patients using their preferred communication method – voice, text or email.

Studies have shown providing patients with the option to choose how they want to receive messages can increase message deliverability.

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Topics: health, Medical, patient communication, patient engagement

Maximize Patient Retention at Your Medical Practice – Three Stages

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Nov 03, 2016 @ 10:11 AM

Just as in any organization, retention is so important for medical practices.  This includes retention of physicians and staff, but also patient retention as well.

Why is patient retention so important?  A HealthcareITNews article explains why:

…it costs 90 percent less to get current patients to return for future care than it does to attract new patients.

The same is true for other types of organizations – it costs more to attract new business than it does to retain existing business!

We have some patient retention strategies to keep in mind for each stage of patient care:

Before Patient Care
Deploy automated appointment reminders to keep patients engaged up until their appointment date.  These patient reminders should include any pre-appointment instructions like fasting or lab tests.  It will cut down on no-shows significantly and be appreciated by patients.

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During Patient Care
Respect patients’ time through proper schedule management.  Long wait times cause patients to become frustrated.  Anther strategy is patient engagement: keeping them more involved with own healthcare decisions.

After Patient Care
Maintain patient communication after their appointments and follow up with things like lab result notifications, prescription refill reminders and patient satisfaction surveys.  These efforts help your practice build relationships with patients for long-term care.

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Notice a commonality?  It’s patient communication!  Whether before, during, or after patient care, patient communication plays a strong role in keeping patients happy, retained, and even referring others to your medical practice.

Alert Solutions’ Patient Communication Suite can help your medical practice improve retention through communication.  Click here to download our brochure.

Alert Solutions' Suite of Patient Notification Systems

Topics: health, Medical, patient communication, patient satisfaction, patient retention

SMS Text Messaging Helps Improve Patient Medication Adherence, Studies Say

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Oct 13, 2016 @ 10:10 AM

Medical providers sometimes struggle to get their patients to follow health care regimens.  Taking prescribed medications as directed is a major part of this.

patientmedicationadherance.pngDid you know that 10-25% of hospital and nursing home stays are blamed on poor medication adherence

The issue is also estimated to cost the healthcare industry between $100 and $300 billion annually through corrective measures.

Regardless, there’s been promising news!

More evidence now suggests that the use of SMS text messaging helps remind patients to take their medication when they’re supposed to.  This information comes from an article posted on MedCity News.

With its high open rate and widespread use, SMS text messaging provides healthcare providers with a friendly, direct communication method straight to patients’ mobile phones.  It’s perfect for medication adherence. 

Here are some facts from a JAMA Internal Medicine study on the topic:

  • 2,742 patients were sent medication reminders over a twelve week trial.
  • Reminders varied from personalized, daily increment and two-way communication.
  • Medication adherence was nearly doubled through the use of SMS text reminders.

The Biggest Benefit?  Fewer complications and lower costs!

With patients taking their medications at the frequency prescribed by their doctors, complications from missed doses are reduced and overall costs are cut.

Alert Solutions' Suite of Patient Notification Systems

Topics: health, SMS text messaging, Medical, patient communication, medication adherence

Good Patient Engagement Equals Optimal Health Outcomes – 3 Reasons Why

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 @ 11:09 AM

According to a Health Affairs policy briefing, patients that stay actively engaged with their own health experience better results and lower costs. 

This connection makes patient engagement such a strong focus that healthcare providers are finding creative new ways to educate patients about their conditions, as well as involving them more in decisions about their care.

But how does good patient engagement lead to optimal health outcomes?  Simply put, patients with high engagement:

  • Are more proactive. Rather than a reactive approach, patients who are engaged with their own health are shown to take quick initiative when talking to their doctor and seeking care.PatientAndDoctor.jpg
  • Have better medication adherence. With good patient engagement comes understanding, and these patients realize the effects of day-to-day decisions on their overall health.  This is why they’re more likely to follow the doctor’s orders.
  • Tend to be more invested. Because engaged patients are more involved in their health care decisions, they are more devoted to attending their appointments, filling their prescriptions and anything else possible to get the best health outcome possible.

Something else to consider: Athena Health pointed out that patient health outcomes can be further improved through the implementation of an effective patient communication solution. Automated patient messaging is a big factor of this solution.

Alert Solutions' Patient Communication Suite Download Our Brochure!

Topics: health, Medical, medication adherence, patient engagement

10 Proven Ways to Reduce Patient No-Shows at Your Medical Practice

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Sep 01, 2016 @ 11:09 AM

Patient no-shows are a dreaded healthcare reality that’s taken very seriously.  Appointment slots that go unfilled represent the most significant loss of revenue to medical providers. 

Despite the challenges, there are measures that medical providers are taking to reduce the number of patients no-shows.

Take a look at this list and try implementing some of these ideas at your medical practice:

1. Send Automated Appointment Reminders
This could reduce no-shows by as much as 40%, according to Medscape.

2. Confirm Appointment Day, Time and Locationpatientnoshowrates.png
Leave no confusion about when or where the appointment is.

3. Find out Why Appointments are Missed
Many patients admit to “simply forgetting” they had an appointment, but see if there are other reasons (and if accommodations can be made on your end).

4. Keep Updated Patient Contact Information
Collect or verify patient contact information during each office visit.

5. Manage Patient Schedule Efficiently
Overbooking could lead to long wait times, causing frustration among patients and a chance they won’t come back.

6. Cut Down Interval between Schedule Date and Appointment Date
The longer the wait for an appointment once requested, the more likely it could be missed.

7. Identify Patients that Repeatedly Miss Appointments
Single-out patients that habitually miss appointments and work with each to find a solution.

8. Send Recall Notices
Remind patients that have missed an appointment of the importance of each office visit.

9. Develop a No-Show Policy
Have patients acknowledge such a policy during the check-in process.

10. Consider a Fee for Missed Appointments due to Non-Emergencies
We all hate fees, but consider applying them to patients who simply forget about their scheduled appointments.

Bonus Tip! Keep a list of patients on stand-by to fill missed appointments that may occur throughout the week.

Alert Solutions’ Patient Communication Suite help medical practices reduce patient no-shows each and every day. To learn more about our patient communication solutions, click here!

Alert Solutions' Suite of Patient Notification Systems

Topics: health, appointment reminders, automated patient notifications, Medical

Healthcare Providers: Implement These Great Patient Engagement Tips!

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Apr 07, 2016 @ 11:04 AM

You know that patient engagement is important to the overall performance of your medical practice.  In fact, patients who consistently engage with their health care provider are shown to have better health outcomes and lower costs!

With such a focus on improving patient engagement, we’ve put together 3 tips your medical practice can implement:

Tip 1: Create a Patient Advisory Board.
Get better insight into the way your patients perceive your overall medical practice.  Create a patient advisory board, sort of like a focus group, consisting of select patients that can provide ongoing feedback about all aspects of their care.  This knowledge can put you in their shoes and help reshape certain processes for patient engagement improvement.

Tip 2: Educate Patients About Their Care.patientengagementtips.png
Patient engagement depends on proper patient education.  With your patients fully cognizant of their treatment, improve outcomes and reduce the risk of complications and mishaps.  With your patients’ consent, include family members in the education process for increased support.

Tip 3: Expand Patient Communication Options.
A study from Accenture proved that patients want communication options from their healthcare provider.  To be exact, 74% of patients surveyed said email and text reminders would be particularly helpful.  Patient reminders can be sent for many purposes, including:

As you would expect, high levels of patient engagement lead to higher patient satisfaction and patient retention levels, as well as other perks.  That’s why patient engagement is so crucial!

To see how Alert Solutions helps medical practices better engage with their patients, download our Automated Reminder Worksheet today. 

Don’t take it from us – check out our Customer Testimonial page and read what our customers are saying about Alert Solutions!

Topics: health, Medical, patient communication, patient engagement

New Healthcare Research Puts a Price on Childhood Obesity

Posted by Cassie Breen on Thu, Apr 10, 2014 @ 13:04 PM

Childhood obesity continues to be a growing concern of the healthcare industry.  Medical professionals spend time and resources to try and curb the issue, incurring great costs for the healthcare industry and families associated with this disease.

obesity resized 600New research has been conducted by the Duke Global Health Institute and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore regarding the cost of childhood obesity.  The analysis shows that, over a lifetime, the medical costs associated with childhood obesity total approximately $19,000 per child, compared with those for a child of normal weight.

This $19,000 figure is inclusive of direct medical costs, such as doctors’ visits and medication, but does not include indirect costs such as lost productivity into adulthood.  Lead author of the analysis and health economist Eric Finkelstein explains, "In the case of childhood obesity, the real costs do not occur until decades later when these kids get adult health problems at a greater rate." 

To determine the estimates, researchers evaluated and updated existing research on lifetime costs of childhood obesity, focusing on six published studies.  The estimates highlight "the financial consequences of inaction and the potential medical savings from childhood obesity prevention efforts that successfully reduce or delay obesity onset," Finkelstein says.

About one in three adults and one in five children in the United States are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Obesity is a known risk factor for:

  • Cardiovascular Disease

  • Type 2 Diabetes

  • Some Cancers

  • Other Harmful Diseases

View the full USA today article here.

Topics: health, Medical

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