Competition, informed patients, and the abundance of online review sites are just a few of the
external forces that impact patient leakage. The
more convenient and accessible a practice is to
a potential new patient, the more likely a new
patient is to take action and follow through.
Few meaningful empirical studies exist
on the effectiveness of text-based patient
engagement. However, those using our cloud-based, telehealth communications platform
Rhinogram frequently report increases in
patient engagement and numbers of new
patient appointments. When asked, practice
leaders say these improvements link specifically to their offering of text-based
communications with patients.
Text-based conversations with multiple
patients take place in near-real time versus
the one-to-one focus necessary for voice calls,
giving practices the ability to increase engagement with patients without placing an additional
burden on staff.
North Carolina plastic surgeon Broc Pratt,
M.D., who also uses Rhinogram’s telehealth
platform, says he has developed strong connections with his patients, bolstering the patient
experience and increasing satisfaction. “Patients
are more likely to reach out to me via text versus
a phone call, which allows me to quickly and
easily answer their question and put their mind
at ease,” Dr. Pratt notes.
Workflow Improvement Benefits
A telehealth communications platform offers
more than convenience for patients. It also
improves workflow efficiencies. While saving
staff time and reducing no-shows are obvious
benefits of automated appointment reminders,
the implementation and effective use of a telehealth platform can transform a practice (see
“Reduced Phone Call Volume”).
When texts, multimedia images, and other
communication streams are presented to practice team members via a computer monitor or a
mobile app, the information is easily integrated
into their daily workflow. Messages appear in a
dashboard where any staff member can respond,
allowing the practice to employ a one-to-many
communication strategy. All messages are then
permanently stored and are un-editable, making
them a valuable resource for future interactions
or administrative audits.
Certain platforms also allow quick message
triage to appropriate team members, allowing
the scheduling team to handle appointments,
billing staff to field financial and insurance
queries, and freeing clinical team members to
address care concerns.
Time-saving features such as templates
quickly address frequently asked questions,
send pre- and post-op care instructions, or provide consistent patients responses, adding value
to the telehealth communication platform.
Cutting Through Complexities
In today’s health paradigm, the patient sits closer
to the center of the care continuum than ever
before. Patients want to be engaged in their care,
and the use of a comprehensive communications
strategy that embraces telehealth messaging cuts
through the complexities of a modern medical
office, giving the patient the desired information
quickly without sacrificing quality of care.
Ultimately, patient convenience wins the day.
Patients are no longer willing to be compliant
recipients of health care. They are becoming
active participants, demanding that their desire
for quick, easy access to their medical information and providers be met.
Nearly 50% of respondents in a recent MGMA
Stat survey indicated that they think telehealth
will make a positive impact on their organizations. 4 Clearly, patients are ready for the next
step in the evolution of health care, and perhaps
the best place for this evolution to take root is
among the more than 230,000 group practices
serving a majority of the U.S. population.
Keith Dressler, D.D.S., M.S.D., has been a practicing orthodontist for more than 30 years. He is
chairman and CEO of Rhinogram and currently serves
on the advisory board of the American Teledentistry
1. K. Gooch. 2016. Patients’ No. 1 Complaint? Front-Desk Staff. Becker’s Hospital
Review, April 26, 2016. Accessed November 27, 2018 at beckershospitalreview.
2. StudyKIK. 2018. List Your Clinical Trials. Accessed November 27, 2018 at studykik.
3. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 2018. Physician Fee Schedule:
CY 2019 Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule. November 1, 2018. Accessed
November 27, 2018 at cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-Fee-for-Service-Payment/
4. MGMA STAT. 2018. Where Is Telehealth Headed in 2019? November 6,
2018. Accessed November 27, 2018 at mgma.com/data/data-stories/