Messaging and Health Care

The Impact Of An Aging Population

The average age of the US Population continues to rise. A recent report by the Population Reference Bureau titled “Aging in the United States” examines how boomers born between 1946 and 1964 will reshape America’s older population. A key fact in the report states, “The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to more than double from 46 million today to over 98 million by 2060, and the 65-and-older age group’s share of the total population will rise to nearly 24 percent from 15 percent.”

Even simpler: 10,000 people turn 65 every day. Health care spending if current trends continue will grow from $3.6 trillion today to over $6.0 trillion by 2027. Change is not optional.

This dramatic shift has contributed to changing care models. The US Government has altered many of the guidelines for the treatment of this aging population.  They have also changed the requirements for payment for these services. These changes include more extensive use of technology for in-home monitoring, treatment, and care.

At MessagePro, we’ve identified these four key points to consider at your Health Care Organization as you find ways to meet these changing patient demands and Medicare requirements.

Value-Based Care Models

The Current model of fee-for-service is eroding quickly. New value-based payment models from government and private insurers gaining traction throughout the industry. Practices and Home Care Agencies must adapt to monitoring patients outside of the office. Most health care companies are well suited for managing inbound communications to their facilities. However, few, if any, are versed or have the tools to engage with patients outside of the office. Many even have issues making outbound calls to patients to remind them of upcoming appointments. The amount of interaction and the poor efficiency of calling programs requires a totally new approach to remote patient communications.

Growth in Interactive Messaging Provides a Key Indicator

Telehealth grabs much of the spotlight for communications service providers offering solutions to health care organizations. However, telehealth is still a labor-intensive method to deliver service to patients outside of the office environment. In addition, it may be “overkill” for many situations where a true one-on-one, face-to-face session is not needed to meet patient needs. A robust care management platform that combines subscriber/patient management, responsive scripts, data collection, alerts, alarms, and complete logging and reporting are a way of delivering requirement monitoring and support via automation. This is a key component of any remote patient communication strategy and is useful for almost every application.

HIPAA and Security

These topics regularly grab headlines. Many health care organizations outside of hospitals still rely on texting and fax machines for information sharing. Texting and faxing can easily lead to HIPAA violations. It doesn’t matter if they are used for company-to-company communications or for internal staff messaging. Regulatory focus has increased markedly on texting as well as unattended fax machines in office environments.

News outlets regularly publish reports about fines and penalties for HIPAA and Security violations. Announcements of fine settlements of over Twenty Million (USD) were made in the last half of 2018. This isn’t optional: like backup and concerns about hacking, this is no longer optional for any organization.

The Entire Ecosystem Needs Productive Partnerships

Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems have added simple communications tools to their offerings along with web portals. However, these “bolt-on additions” are not really the comprehensive answers most medical organizations need to fully adapt to the new marketplace. They also need the flexibility to support both scheduled and on-demand communications. The old way of building solutions: acquiring individual services, stitching them together, negotiating with individual suppliers, and managing the process internally, is no longer effective, even for the largest health care organizations. It is much more effective to acquire or upgrade to fully integrated solutions that combine flexible messaging options, real-time communications, intelligent integrations, reporting, and more. These types of solutions provide benefits to health care organizations and to partners. They deliver key pieces of the solution in easy to use configurations.

How MessagePro Messaging Solutions Can Help

MessagePro partners with software providers, communications service providers, billing companies and more to serve over 1,500 physicians, home care companies, and even a large health care insurer. This trend is accelerating.  We expect it to even push forward faster in the years ahead. More often, health care organization select integrated approaches to communications and messaging. They realize that the total cost of ownership is considerably less with an integrated approach. Individually selecting services, assembling those into a solution, and managing this process internally drives up cost.

MessagePro has almost 50% of our subscriber base involved in healthcare. We expect that this trend will accelerate and expand our growth rate in this area even further. The products and functionalities we provide are a key reason for the expansion.  However, it is our understanding of the rapidly changing roles of healthcare providers and our efforts to partner with key suppliers to health care companies that are driving our success.

Traditional product and service sales work in healthcare, but more importantly, a willingness to partner with adjoining and occasionally overlapping service offerings delivers more substantial results. Recognizing the significant changes coming to healthcare delivery is an important facet to expanding the role of communications service providers and IT professionals to health care organizations.

Migrating service to the cloud, integration, and enhanced communications services (particularly messaging) are all required to better support any health care organization. MessagePro strongly believes in creating these working partnerships and leveraging these through its own distribution channels of MSPs, ITSPs, IT consultants, and billing companies. Learn more about our approach by connecting with us or reading more on our website at www.messagepro.com.

 

Gregg Smith is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MessagePro.

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