How Electronic Communication is Reshaping Health and Social Care Delivery

Today, mobile devices and the Internet remain the most widely used means of communication. The same is true for healthcare: in the past year alone, more than 70 per cent of internet users have searched for health-related information from a variety of sources. At the...

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Today, mobile devices and the Internet remain the most widely used means of communication. The same is true for healthcare: in the past year alone, more than 70 per cent of internet users have searched for health-related information from a variety of sources. At the same time, key problems in the provision of medical services – long queues, lack of time to work with the patient and others – encourage the optimisation of information exchange processes between doctor and patient through the introduction of information technologies. Here is a brief overview of most popular digital forms of communication.

Telemedicine

Telehealth is a type of communication between a clinician and a patient using computer (or a smartphone) and telecommunication technologies. Today it is available to everyone. All you need is a device with internet access. Any communication method can be chosen – video, audio, chat. This format became especially relevant with the onset of the coronovirus pandemic, when some people were unable to visit hospitals.

  • The most popular service is online consultations with various specialists. You can get help and necessary health information from general practitioners, paediatricians, gastroenterologists, allergists, dermatologists, neurologists, ENT doctors and many others.
  • An online consultation is a conversation between a doctor and a patient to identify main symptoms and assess the current problem. After the online appointment, the doctor may order additional tests to get a more complete picture of the condition. The “visit” to the doctor ends with recommendations for treatment and medication.
  • Another service is telemonitoring. It is most often used when working with elderly people who, due to their age and health, find it difficult to visit a polyclinic. Online monitoring allows you to monitor the condition of patients using the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data analysis. This is done thanks to special sensors that analyse various health indicators: temperature changes, blood sugar, blood pressure, etc. All this data is fed into a dedicated electronic memory.

In addition, telemedicine allows clinicians to consult with each other, give advice, streamline workflows and make live broadcasts from operating theatres.

AI Chatbots

Online chatbots are now the rage in many industries. However, healthcare system has been slow to adopt this type of AI technology, although it’s a great way to develop patient communication. Auto-response chatbots can offer greater efficiency and lower costs.

  • An AI chatbot can quickly help patients find the nearest clinic, pharmacy or health centre based on their specific needs. The chatbot can also be trained to provide useful details such as opening hours, contact information, and user reviews to help patients make an informed decision.
  • For patients who are not yet ready to book an appointment but have a number of questions, text-based communication channels allow clinics to respond almost instantly and make a positive impression from the first interaction.
  • For existing patients, clinics can send automated messages to remind them of an upcoming appointment or instructions on how to prepare for a procedure – all of which not only meet a basic need for convenience, but also the modern demand for this type of communication.

CRM systems

The Patient Relationship Management System with the integration to Practice Management Software implies the establishment of a long-lasting, comfortable and pleasant relationship between the doctor and the patient. Both the specialist and the direct management of the clinic need to pay attention to building communication. The effectiveness of the work of a particular doctor and of the whole organisation depends on it.

  • Clinical CRM helps build the doctor-patient relationship. It enables an organisation to maintain electronic medical records that provide a holistic view of each healthcare consumer and patient.
  • Medical CRM allows you to send necessary information to patients by text message, phone call or email. Automatic reminders through multiple communication channels reduce no-shows, while online appointment booking through the website increases the number of first-time enquiries. In this way, CRM enables the practice to manage patient interactions from the initial contact through to repeat visits and long-term relationship building from a single system.
  • It also helps to maintain EHRs (electronic health records), which contain complete medical information about patients, including services provided, test results and treatment programmes.

Social media

Social media has made our lives easier by making information easily accessible. For this reason, the use of social media in the medical field is very useful. It allows clinics, doctors and other medical professionals to use these tools to share valuable information with people.

  • Social media is a great platform for learning, online academic discussions, dissemination of information about new techniques, research, training courses, conferences and online research. They make it possible to transcend language and geographical boundaries, allow doctors from all over the world to communicate, receive feedback, provide opportunities for professional feedback, development and exchange of experience.
  • Social media is enabling the development of personal brand. Photos of diplomas, live feeds from conferences, reviews of articles, discussions of clinical cases, and the publication of personal opinions on medical issues help to build an expert’s online image among colleagues and patients alike. A large number of subscribers and likes can be an indirect confirmation of the expertise and popularity of the author of a medical blog, which can attract potential patients, employers, the media and advertisers.
  • Social networking sites also allow doctors to create convenient educational platforms that can be used by patients as information resources.

Conclusion

In conclusion, electronic communication holds immense potential to revolutionize the landscape of healthcare and social care delivery. Through the utilization of advanced technologies, such as telemedicine platforms, electronic health records, social media platfforms and secure messaging systems, healthcare professionals can enhance patient outcomes, streamline administrative tasks, and improve overall efficiency.

However, it is imperative to acknowledge and address the challenges associated with electronic communication, including issues of privacy, security, and accessibility. By embracing innovative solutions and fostering collaboration between stakeholders, we can harness the power of electronic communication to create a more interconnected and patient-centered healthcare ecosystem. As we navigate the evolving digital landscape, let us remain committed to leveraging technology responsibly to ensure equitable access to quality care for all individuals

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