It’s quite a common phrase here at Emmi Solutions:
“We reach patients where they want to be reached, when they want to be reached, and on the devices they already own.”
So naturally, a recent blog post we came across on how texting patients can produce positive outcomes caught our eye.
According to the post, a series of studies was conducted among 30 randomly chosen asthmatic children, ages ranging 10-17 years old. Over a period of 3 months, one group of children received text messages every day, another received them on varied days, and a third group did not receive texts at all. Among those who received text messages, the content required them to return simple responses about their health.
The study revealed that the patients who received daily text messages had “improved psychological and physical outcomes,” indicating that “cell phones can be used effectively to improve health outcomes.”
(Which is affirmation for the thousands of mhealth companies pursuing this angle that they could be on to something substantive.)
However, the blog admits more research needs to be done.
“While our data are far from conclusive they do provide an interesting road map for other researchers to pursue. Among the open hypotheses that we are investigating is whether this simple text-based system leads to improved outcomes in other chronic diseases such as diabetes, or whether symptom awareness and knowledge improvement lead to improvements for patients suffering from mental health issues…A related set of research questions aim to understand whether the patient’s text based responses (in the time between office visits) can be provided to the healthcare professional to improve point of care interaction.”
It’s important that this type of research is being conducted.
As more and more patients become increasingly active in their own care, and as there is a need to provide higher quality care, it is essential to make the health conversations easier.
If we want to keep track of patient condition, get them engaged, and stay engaged, it seems natural to assume reaching them at their convenience is the first step.
And we agree.
That’s why our solutions are accessible on desktops, mobile devices, and tablets. We want to help health professionals reach their patients in a way that is mutually beneficial.
That being said, studies of this nature would be much more informative if they encompassed the other modalities at which patients can be reached – not just texting.
Our work with clients has shown that it is beneficial to offer solutions in a mobile manner, on a variety of devices.
Yet, this also gets to a key challenge in today’s healthcare market.
Many providers simply do not have the time to reach patients in all of these ways - at least not effectively, or as well as they could be.
Just as further research is essential, so is finding an effective patient engagement partner.
You may be trying, you could even be almost entirely there, but that’s why we exist – we can take you the extra step with your patients.
Without complication, without disruption.
In the simplest sense, we’re here to help.