Healthcare organizations strive to provide the best patient engagement experience possible. In order to do this, many organizations result in implementing piecemealed solutions to provide all the features patients demand today.
In-demand features include:
- Patient self-scheduling software
- Patient check-in software
- HIPAA compliant appointment reminders
- Patient education
- HIPAA compliant messaging
- Patient bill pay software
- Bill details/explanations
- Prescription-refill requests
This patient engagement strategy may end up costing healthcare organizations and patients in the long run, as siloed patient engagement programs increase security and HIPAA compliance risks. Implementing a singular, consolidated patient engagement solution that includes in-demand features can mitigate security and compliance risks in multiple ways.
1. Respect Patient Communication Preferences
There are multiple ways a healthcare organization can communicate with their patient population. Any tools used to communicate with patients must respect a patient’s communication preferences.
Methods of communication can include the following:
- IVR (Interactive Voice Response-based calls also support user-input responses like “Press 1 to confirm, or 2 to cancel your upcoming appointment.”)
- Push notifications
- Bidirectional patient text messaging (via a patient portal or mobile app)
To support the quality of care for patients, healthcare organizations should have correct patient engagement data such as contact details in addition to updated communication preferences. Providers can then more effectively reach patients and relay important information about their care, including appointment reminders, lab results, medical bills, and educational materials. Patients are more inclined to update their communication preferences and contact details on only one patient engagement platform, rather than performing the same task across multiple patient engagement systems used by the same healthcare organization.
Updated information within the healthcare organization should be shared with all patient engagement programs, including the organization’s source systems, such as Electronic Health Record (EHR), Revenue Cycle Management (RCM), and Practice Management (PM) systems. When using more than one software for patient engagement, healthcare organizations should ensure these systems can effectively communicate with each other so that any data updated within one system is shared with all other systems. If this integration is not in place, patient engagement data must be manually updated within all systems. Failure to honor a patient’s communication preferences may result in a HIPAA violation.
2. Ensure HIPAA Compliance
To be HIPAA compliant, healthcare organizations must conduct regular risk analyses, covering all software for patient engagement that interacts with electronic protected health information (ePHI). Risk analyses identify potential risks to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of ePHI. Any risks and vulnerabilities identified must be mitigated to a reasonable and acceptable level to avoid penalties. It’s easy to ensure that one consolidated patient engagement solution is HIPAA compliant (versus a mixture of fragmented tools) and that the patient engagement solution provider will sign a business associate agreement. HIPAA also requires encryption at rest and in transit for all stored and transmitted ePHI between your connected patient engagement programs
3. Prevent Security Breaches
When a healthcare organization has multiple patient engagement programs connected to their source system (EHR, PM, RCM, LIS, RIS, etc.), they increase the risk of a security breach. This is due to the higher number of access points that have been opened for these systems. There is an increased risk of data becoming corrupt/damaged within the patient database as more software/systems are permitted to view and edit patient data. Managing one piece of software is more straightforward than ensuring multiple solutions are operating safely and securely. Furthermore, it’s easier to conduct a cybersecurity gap analysis within a centralized software solution.
Improve operational efficiencies, prioritize security and HIPAA compliance, and bolster patient satisfaction by consolidating your patient engagement solutions into a feature-rich, client-branded web application or mobile app. Bridge helps healthcare organizations streamline their business processes and enhance patient engagement with an all-in-one solution capable of retiring “one-off” tools.