Wellness in the age of COVID-19
Regular wellness checks with a primary care physician remain a main pillar of good healthcare. Wellness checks help physicians monitor existing health problems and potentially catch new problems before they become too serious. Consistent wellness checks lead to better outcomes for patients, stronger patient–provider relationships and better overall health in the community. Wellness checks are also taking on new levels of importance as we learn more about the potential long-term effects COVID-19 might have on the body. In a time of so much uncertainty, it’s increasingly more crucial for patients to get back in the habit of scheduling wellness checks. We can use health IT to support this need and to help overcome the challenges now associated with wellness-check frequency among patients.
“I feel great, why go to the doctor if I feel fine?”
Despite the importance of wellness checks, organizations are experiencing some challenges. First, it can be difficult for some patients to understand the importance of these visits if they feel physically fine. This problem was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic when physician offices were forced to discourage in-person wellness checks to avoid potential exposure between patients and providers. And now, even as things slowly return to normal, we can expect some patients to remain hesitant to visit a doctor’s office for fear of exposure. (Of course, a telehealth appointment would be the answer in that scenario, but the patient’s fear may prevent them from reaching out to the office in the first place and thus preventing them from learning more about their telehealth options.)
This brings us to the second challenge that physician offices face. If offices can’t always rely on patients to be proactive about scheduling their wellness checks, then they will need to be the driving force for this facet of healthcare. But identifying patients in need of a wellness check, engaging with them, and, ultimately, scheduling the appointment is an extremely time-consuming task. Placing this burden on office staff often leads to a decrease in overall productivity. And that was before the pandemic. Now, as offices can open their doors again, it’s time to “catch up” on the wellness checks that were missed over the past year. Manually engaging with so many patients will be extremely difficult (nearly impossible) but regaining these patients is vital for their own personal health and for the financial health of practices everywhere.
Custom text messaging will be the key
The answer to this looming problem is On-Demand Messaging. This technology can serve acute and ambulatory settings and allows practices to send direct messages to any device with SMS texting capabilities. With the FollowMyHealth® platform, you can customize these messages to target any situation, from scheduling a wellness check to sending vaccine eligibility notifications, office announcements and more. With telehealth gaining popularity, patients are expecting quick and easy virtual options when it comes to their health. In fact, 80% of patients want to interact with their providers via a smartphone and using text messages has shown a 12% increase in confirmed appointments.
The FollowMyHealth On-Demand Messaging functionality can help your practice proactively engage your patients, which is great for their overall health as well as for the health of your practice. For more information on how Allscripts is improving our clients’ wellness strategies, learn more here.