COVID-19, or "coronavirus", began making headlines in December 2019 as it swept across mainland China. At the time of this article, over 111 countries are impacted and the long term community impacts are even further reaching. Across the US health systems are dealing with a surge of patients. Many hospitals have setup tent-triage systems to screen patients before they enter their facilities due to inpatient fears of exposure, while still others are having their call center and scheduler departments overrun with patients anxious for answers and testing.
Patient fears are compounded by the misinformation running rampant online, which has lead to shortages of critical medical equipment as consumers rush to stockpile. Fear and confusion are often the two toughest elements to overcome in any type of infectious disease outbreak and health systems are looking to technology for help.
Patient and population engagement technologies can partner with health systems to augment their infectious disease and crisis management programs to identify and understand community risks and design a health system response solution that creates a single voice for science-sourced education and triage. And in fact, the CDC has recommended that health systems leverage telehealth and self-assessment tools to protect their patients.
In response to growing demand and in effort to support the health systems it serves, QliqSOFT,Inc. announced their COVID-19 Virtual Patient Communication Kit in a press release, Wednesday March 11th. Care organizations and the communities they serve benefit from these technologies by aligning their message with a single voice, providing science-sourced information amid the confusion, and decreasing the exposure risk for patients and staff.
Create a single communication outlet for updates. Keeping all information tailored and within a single voice is essential for cutting through misinformation. Internal communication and with the public needs to be thought out and easily understood. Plan how to respond to a variety of scenarios, and equip a spokesperson with the necessary information. Designating a public relations official to handle external communication will ensure the quality of your message is not degraded by multiple voices. Secure Communication tools allow clinical teams to collaborate over PHI in real-time without breaching the patient’s privacy rights. For patient-facing communication your channel should be representative of your brand. Patients are already confused on what sources should be trusted and everyone is fighting for the microphone. The local health system is poised as the trusted source for the communities it serves - so your messaging should look and feel like it is coming from you to decrease any patient confusion. For effective crisis response incorporate solutions that white label and allow you to control the branding.
Patients scouring the internet for information will find no shortage of unclear “facts”. Filtering through the propaganda and fear is hard work for anyone. Health systems can combat the misinformation by presenting science-sourced content in a clear and cohesive manner. Whether you choose to do this with a patient-facing communication platform or other marketing tactic, the goal should be to link directly to trusted authorities who are responsible for keeping information up to date and accurate.
Containing outbreaks is not limited to protecting your patients, clinical staff exposure should be minimized as well. This is another great opportunity for technology to play a key role in your infectious disease containment plans. Very few patient-facing communication platforms provide both secure communication and telehealth components.
“Technology partners must step up to the plate and develop solutions that bring care to patients,” says Krishna Kurapati CEO and Founder of QliqSOFT,Inc. “The environment of care has changed and health systems struggle with patient surge events. In a time when just traveling to your doctor for screening can expose you to more risks, remote care delivery must become an essential, if not ethical, goal of technology providers.” Telehealth is not new, but applying it as a component of crisis management is a foreign concept to many providers, one that many are just learning to embrace.
As more patients seek care and information, QliqSOFT's COVID-19 Virtual Patient Communication Kit can help you scale your responsiveness to all patients. Connect with our clinical success specialists and see how your organization can quickly provide the new Kit to your patients!
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Symptom checkers can increase patient access by providing guidance and visit qualification checks 24 hours a day. They break down barriers by providing patients with the information they need most during those times when it can be difficult to reach a provider. The tools are also helping prevent misdiagnoses in these situations.
It is critical that underserved populations receive the care they deserve, as the global community continues to wrestle with the pandemic. Here at QliqSOFT, we are aware of the communication gap that too often exists in hospitals and clinics, ultimately keeping individuals from preventative and life-saving care.