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Unified Communications Increases Patient Engagement

May 21, 2015 by

As a patient, you want the inside scoop on everything related to your health, from test results to prescriptions. You also want to be able to ask questions for clarification. Without technology, this wouldn't be possible. However, with unified communications solutions, patient portals provide people with everything they could need to participate fully in their health care.

Providing Reliable Information

After an appointment, patients could be waiting to hear about test results or they may need to know more about a new condition. Without patient portals, they might be feeling anxious about their lab results or searching the Internet for information. However, this is no longer an issue with UC. Patients can see their results as soon as their doctors can, Forbes explained. They have access to information that can explain their lab reports, which allows patients to ask better questions targeted at how to handle the disease.

"We needed to give [patients] better access to that information," R. David Allard, M.D., of Henry Ford Health System told the source. "We wanted to share all the information we have."

The patient portals also gives users reliable sources to use for research, instead of looking on their own for websites that could be untrustworthy. Consumers are more likely to trust information their own doctors provide as opposed to what they can find on their own, according to InformationWeek. The online portal also suggests groups and tools that could be useful to patients with certain conditions, and allows them to communicate with others with similar diseases through social media. Users, both physicians and patients, can also see other doctors' online presence to allow immediate collaboration solutions to speed up service through the portal.

Increasing Physician-Patient Communications

Doctor appointments can be stressful even for the healthiest people. There is always a chance that their health care providers catch something that may not have been there before. If patients tune out their doctors because their minds are elsewhere, they may have questions at a later point. However, with different schedules, it could be difficult to get their physicians on the phone to respond to their concerns.

"It's often hard to catch the patient when they are most able to listen and learn," Allard explained to Forbes. "And sometimes when patients have their questions ready to go, they're not in front of the doctor."

With UC solutions, this is no longer an issue. Patient portals provide countless methods for communication between users and doctors. All from a website or mobile application, patients can use email, instant message, or video conferencing to get in touch with their physicians, according to the source. This lessens the wait time for patients and allows doctors to respond as soon as they get a minute, which may not be long enough for a full phone conversation. Patient portals also allow their users to take care of renewing prescriptions, scheduling appointments, and paying any remaining medical bills.

While this new push to mobile health may be a work-in-progress, it simplifies the patient-doctor relationship. Portal users know they can access the website for their health records, as well as reliable sources for their conditions. Various methods of communication within one location streamlines conversation between physicians and patients to allow for an open discourse at all times.

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