By Vonesa Wenzel, Partner, HomeCare Connect
Healthcare texting has gained traction as physician practices and some managed care companies incorporate texts into patient communications, often to send appointment reminders and clinic directions. Studies show that healthcare texts can improve compliance with treatment and lead to behavioral changes, including smoking cessation, weight loss, and diabetes management. Text messages are particularly useful for helping people manage chronic conditions.
Recognizing the prevalence and benefits of texting, HomeCare Connect integrated this capability into CareLink, the HIPAA-compliant technology we developed specifically to drive and support home health care management services in workers’ compensation.
Within an hour of receiving a referral, we contact the injured worker to introduce ourselves, assess their condition and tell them what services to expect and when. Part of the initial contact includes asking if they would like to receive future communications via text.
A good 85% of our injured workers prefer texts. Many aren’t always available or able to answer a call; bedridden patients especially have trouble getting to the phone. People hesitate to pick up from an unknown number and listening and responding to voice mail takes longer than electronic communications. Seriously injured workers or their families can respond to a text at their convenience. When they opt in, we ask if they want their texts in English or Spanish and can text in both languages.
With the injured worker’s permission, group texts keep family members and caregivers informed. CareLink automatically sends messages regarding the delivery of durable medical equipment, the status of home modifications, when to expect a visit from a nurse or physical therapist. Claims representatives receive these notifications according to their preferences, usually email or text.
In everything we do, we strive to stay close the injured worker, anticipate issues and resolve them quickly. We recognize that critically injured employees need to know someone cares and will do something to help them. Texting facilitates this engagement; injured employees tend to ask more questions and let us know how they’re doing. Another benefit: when injured employees are well informed and feel heard, they take a more proactive role in their own treatment and express higher satisfaction with their care.
Speaking of satisfaction, CareLink periodically texts short satisfaction surveys on DME, nursing services, home modification and/or prosthetics to injured workers so they can rate an encounter with a provider on a 1-5 scale. A low rating prompts us to investigate the situation and recommend changes.
Satisfaction survey results help us rank the 18,000-plus providers in the network we own. When a new referral comes in, CareLink combines satisfaction scores with other factors, such as expertise, location, cost-effectiveness, and client-specific requirements to select the best providers for the case.
CareLink’s telehealth module, TeleConnect, also brings us close to the injured worker, their caregivers, adjusters and other stakeholders. For examples, if a wound fails to heal properly, our nurse can watch as the care is being provided and suggest changes in real time. Through a teleconference, the treating physician, adjuster and other stakeholders can quickly collaborate on a case and make immediate decisions. TeleConnect can also bridge the gap in care if a hurricane, snowstorm or other inclement weather prevents a home visit.
Our In-House Clinical Director of Prosthetics & Orthotics conducts teleconferences with injured workers and their prosthetic providers to identify the best prosthesis and guide its use. He can see and talk to someone who is struggling with a new prosthesis to correct the fit, help them change their gait, or recommend other changes. We can apply his 40 years of experience to complex claims without incurring travel time and costs.
With an app that downloads easily and requires no special equipment or software on the user’s part, TeleConnect is particularly useful for delivering much-needed transparency into home modifications. Video can depict home conditions in a way that still photography simply cannot. The contractor gives claims representatives, occupational therapists, nurse case managers, and other stakeholders a virtual tour of the home and discusses recommended changes. Stakeholders can ask questions, make suggestions and better understand recommendations, timelines, and expenses along with any construction challenges. They can also tour the progress of the home midway through construction and tour the completed project. Videos are archived and made available if issues arise in later in the claim. Claims representatives can see exactly what their companies are paying for–and why–without leaving the office.
As our name suggests, we are all about connecting with everyone involved in the claim – especially the injured workers. Texting and TeleConnect enable us to touch the injured employee, act with a sense of urgency and communicate frequently and clearly – and in whatever manner injured employees and clients prefer. Rapid response and clear, frequent communication promote patient engagement, accelerate recovery, and increase an injured employee’s satisfaction with their care.
This is a sponsored post from WorkCompWire marketing partner HomeCare Connect.