It is so difficult to take care of yourself even when life is “normal”. During this pandemic, some of the shortcomings of our healthcare system have come to light. One of these shortcomings is the difficulty of having specific health-related questions answered from a credible source. There is a solution to this and several other problems in small-scale healthcare: implementing omnichannel communication.
Omnichannel communication allows for physicians and patients to have two-way conversations using SMS or messaging apps. It blends the personal and the automated by being capable of sending reminder messages to all patients for things like flu shot season, as well as allowing for patients to ask their physicians for clarification or help. It saves both parties time, as phone calls are easily dodged or missed. It also saves the clinic money, as the patient’s ability to confirm or cancel appointments over text gives them time to message other patients and fill a cancellation.
Omnichannel communication has the potential to save lives. Many patients struggle to stay on treatment plans, and implementing this communication system would allow for messages of accountability and encouragement to help them stay on track. Since messaging uses typed words, there is a record of what was said on both parts, which eliminates the likelihood of miscommunication. This ensures that both patient and physician are clear on how best to take care of the case, and can prevent maltreatment due to lack of understanding.
Giving patients and physicians the ability to talk with each other through a more casual means allows for an increased sense of trust. It provides a clear place where patients can direct questions and makes communications with their providers less stressful. But having credible answers and saving time are only the start of the applications of this communication method.