In this digital age, many healthcare providers are leveraging medical chat tools with wide-ranging communication capabilities to deliver patient care quickly and affordably.
As a result, patients get to interact with the healthcare provider team anytime, from anywhere. Beyond that, they can also schedule appointments, access test results online, and get their queries resolved.
Also, the live chat ability backed by efficient access to the medical database helps deliver reliable diagnostics to patients immediately when needed.
In this blog post, we explore how healthcare institutions may leverage medical chat tools with innovative capabilities to assist patients more proactively.
How can you use medical chat to assist your patients?
Medical chat can be an effective point of contact between the healthcare service provider and patients. Attaching chat abilities to your website can help you offer patients support, information, and guidance, ultimately improving patient experience.
You can use the medical chat facility in the following ways to assist your patients.
1. Scheduling, reminders, and alerts
Studies indicate that with one-third of the scheduled appointments, patients either cancel the appointment at the last minute or do not show up at all. Helping them reschedule, as well as pushing reminders and alerts, can help reduce no-shows.
Patients can manage their appointments using the medical chat system. They can enquire about the availability of slots and request appointment rescheduling.
You can offer assistance in case the patient endures challenges in the process. Healthcare providers can also send notifications and reminders to patients about upcoming appointments using the medical chat system.
2. Updating patients on test results
When test results become available, the medical chat interface can be used to update the patients. You can also include a brief message to convey the nature of the tests taken and present an overall picture of the diagnostic.
Depending on the type of test taken, you can use the medical chat system to explain the test result to the patients and educate them on the normal ranges.
The message can also be extended to indicate the next steps, like follow-up appointments, lifestyle changes, or other medical advice based on the results.
3. Providing sustained care
Healthcare providers can do frequent check-ins, review symptoms, and offer medical advice and recommendations to patients. This is more helpful in treating patients suffering from chronic conditions.
Patients can update the status of their condition and share self-monitored data and information. In this case, the chat is best used as an addition to the patient engagement platform.
4. Prescription renewal
You can help patients renew their prescriptions online using a medical chat system. This is helpful for patients with repeat prescriptions. Such patients can request prescription renewals without waiting for an appointment or in-person consultation.
You can assess the self-monitored data and prescribe dose or medicine adjustments accordingly. Based on the data, you can inform the patients if they need to make up an appointment for a consultation.
5. Remote diagnostics
Healthcare service providers can use the medical chat system to evaluate patients' symptoms and assist them with diagnostic guidance. You can have a questionnaire or a form to collect essential information for diagnosis.
You can also request patient videos and images using the chat solution to gain deeper insights into the analysis. So, patients can seek remote diagnostics using the medical chat system.
How do patients benefit from medical chat systems?
From convenience and reduced wait times to enhanced continuity of care and self-management, medical chat systems offer a plethora of benefits to patients. The following are the key benefits:
1. Reduced wait times
A medical chat system helps reduce wait times generally associated with in-person appointments. They can receive timely medical support and assistance, particularly when going through a chronic condition and illnesses requiring routine checkups.
They can schedule appointments and renew prescriptions without visiting the medical facility, which many patients prioritize because of their health.
2. Enhances access to medical care for people in remote areas
Using medical chat systems, patients can seek assistance and consultation online. They can access healthcare services from their home without visiting the facility. All that they need is internet connectivity.
This greatly supports people in remote places with limited access to transportation and resources. Patients can seek timely medical assistance no matter where they are living.
3. Easier health tracking
Medical chat widgets help patients track and access medical history. They can maintain track of symptoms, medicines, prescriptions, appointments, renewals, exercise routines, and more. This makes it easy for patients to access their condition's health trends and nuances and take timely feedback and consultation with the doctor online.
This is more effective than using manual methods like files or paper records, as there are chances that they might be misplaced or lost.
It must also be noted that 76% of people expect text reminders about their medical appointments. As the healthcare service provider sends notifications and alerts about medication, appointments, health screening, and follow-up visits, patients feel heard and tend to be proactive in managing their health.
4. Medical chat aids people with disabilities
Medical chat systems reduce the need for in-person consulting, which is extremely helpful to people with disabilities who find it hard to travel.
Moreover, healthcare providers and patients can communicate via video, text, or audio. This helps people with hearing impairments or visual problems. Further, the font size of the text display can be adjusted, and this helps people with visual impairment.
The chat systems integrated with assistive technologies can ensure that people with disabilities can easily interact with the system. Therefore, the medical chat system empowers people with disabilities to seek medical support, book appointments, renew prescriptions, and more, without external support.
➡️ However, healthcare organizations need to be careful to use appropriate technology to talk to patients. For example, even though it's a great tool for instant messaging, WhatsApp shouldn't be used for communication in the healthcare industry. Also, not every version of Slack supports HIPAA-compliance, meaning that you should also carefully choose your solution for internal staff collaboration.
Why do healthcare providers use medical chat systems?
Medical chat systems enhance the efficiency of operations in healthcare institutions and help improve the patient experience. The following are some reasons why medical institutions rely on a robust chat system:
1. Reach patients easily
Chat systems help healthcare service providers converse with multiple patients simultaneously, which helps manage a high volume of patient inquiries. This way, the healthcare providers can serve more patients at any given time.
As chat systems help patients access quality healthcare from being bound inside the comfort of their homes, medical institutions can enhance their reach beyond geographic boundaries.
Most chat widgets support multiple languages, so healthcare providers can communicate with patients in a language of their preference.
2. Enhances operational efficiency
The medical chat system eliminates the need for phone calls and in-person consultations. It must be noted that 41% of patients prefer live chat support against 32% who prefer phone support.
Also, it provides a centralized platform for internal and external communication. As the chat system automates the process of appointment scheduling, test result alerts, notifications, and prescription renewals, it reduces administrative burden.
This saves time for healthcare providers who can invest the same into performing other crucial operations. So, the chat system enhances the operational efficiency of medical institutions.
3. Improves patient experience
Medical chat systems help patients access healthcare services, book appointments, maintain health records, and seek medical support without visiting the facility. This eliminates the need for in-person visits and travel.
Chat systems also help patients avoid long wait times, making them feel more satisfied with the overall experience.
Patients can access their chat history, health records, and test results in a centralized platform, which helps build trust between them and healthcare providers.
As medical institutions offer chat services beyond the clinic's operating hours, patients can seek timely medical advice during emergencies.
4. Easier staff collaboration
Medical chat systems offer a unified platform for collaboration with the internal team. As they operate over the internet, the staff members can access the chat and stay connected even if they are not at their desks. The internal team can use the chat system to delegate tasks, track patient history, share updates, and discuss further plans.
Chat systems also help foster collaboration between different departments in a medical institution. The staff members can access chat history, ensuring critical information is passed on when healthcare providers transition during shifts.
Reduce no-shows and improve patient satisfaction with Rocket.Chat
Several studies have highlighted the healthcare industry's cost of no-shows and appointment cancellations. The US healthcare system endures a loss of $150 billion yearly due to no-shows and canceled appointments.
Rocket.Chat's open-source platform offers omnichannel support, allowing patients to connect through video, voice, SMS, chat, and social media based on their preferences. As the chat system reduces wait times and enables remote consultation, Rocket.Chat helps medical institutions enhance patient experience and satisfaction.
Furthermore, the healthcare sector is vulnerable to data breaches. The total cost of data breaches in the healthcare industry is estimated at 13.2 billion USD in 2020. A 2020 healthcare report shows that 93% of healthcare organizations have experienced data breaches at least once in the three years between 2017 and 2020. So, medical institutions must invest in a HIPAA-compliant medical chat system that offers comprehensive privacy.
Rocket.Chat offers a safe platform for communication between patients and doctors online. The chats are end-to-end encrypted and offer role-based access and permissions. Most importantly, the chat solution is HIPAA-compliant.
Have more questions? Get in touch with our team to learn more about the features of Rocket. Chat.
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