Chronic diseases are an epidemic in the U.S. At least 60% of Americans have a chronic condition, while 42% had more than one. These conditions are a major drain on healthcare costs. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), chronic illness accounts for 86% of the nation’s $2.7 trillion annual healthcare expenditures. This cost can be reduced but not without better physician-patient communication and dialogue. Those that face chronic diseases interact with doctors and organizations more than the average healthy person. But making those appointments doesn’t mean they are following the guidelines prescribed by their physician. For example, are diabetics taking their medications and avoiding sugar? Are obese individuals eating approved foods and staying active? Are those with arthritis, which is the leading chronic disease in the U.S., following physical therapy directives? It’s hard to know for sure without regular and easy ways to keep in touch. Technology already exists to allow people to communicate, and it works for healthcare, too. Secure texting, meaning messaging that is HIPAA-compliant and has dual encryption, answers the need to help chronic condition patients improve their health.
It’s no secret that patients with chronic conditions require much more treatment and resources than those with acute diseases. There are some chronic conditions that can be cured, but for the most part, they are managed. Management can sometimes include an entire care team for each aspect of care. Because there are multiple players, communication can be complex. When patients don’t have a direct line to the care team, they could be less likely to follow orders. When patients don’t feel part of the collaborative effort, they may remove accountability from themselves.
Research from forensics psychiatrists looked at the communication between chronic illness patients and physicians, finding there are challenges around emotional aspects of the condition. These emotional aspects should be addressed through collaboration and communication. But there’s a large gap in what should be taking place and what actually is. This could be for a lot of reasons. It doesn’t mean physicians aren’t good at their job or don’t care. There are only so many hours in the day. However, there is an opportunity to close this gap. The answer is secure texting with patients.
A study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) looked at messaging from a large group of patients and physicians. The study found that physicians that were responsive to patients in a secure texting application sent 334% more messages, indicating that patients appreciate the convenience of texting and believe it to be a good means of communication with the caveat of having responsive practitioners. This research has big implications for chronic disease patients who need to ask questions or report on symptoms. If a patient can do this via text and get a response from their physician in a timely manner, they’ll get into the habit of communicating more. What could better communication lead to? There are lots of benefits that could come from this. Chronic disease patients could comply with orders better. They may see themselves playing a more active role in their health because they are part of the conversation. The results? Healthier individuals, more in tune physicians, decreased costs—they’re all possible. The hope is to remove the barriers that currently exist with physician-patient communication.
The most important part of secure texting is ensuring that practitioners and patients are on a secure app that meets all compliance guidelines. With secure texting apps, patients could even send the physician pictures of a wound or other image related to their symptoms. Just by seeing the image, the doctor will be better able to make a recommendation to the patient. Another major point of secure texting platforms is that no messaging or images should ever be saved to the user’s phone. While the app resides on a personal phone, it works much differently than standard SMS texting. Worries about breaching patient information can be absolved. If your organization would like to make the first step toward better physician-patient communication, then get in touch with QliqSOFT for a demo. We’ll show you all the features and benefits our app offers and how it can be a great resource in the care of chronic illness.
A lifelong communicator, this Tennessee native got his start in broadcast news before branching out into public media, corporate, communications, digital advertising, and integrated marketing. Prior to joining QliqSOFT as the company's first marketing team member, Ben shared his talents with organizations that include the University of Alabama, iHeartMedia, and The Kroger Company.
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