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Apr 15

Weathering the Storm: Utilizing Healthcare Automation Tools During a Crisis

Healthcare Automation Enables Providers to Interact with Patients During Global Viral Outbreak

Within our lifetimes, it is likely that we will know of natural disasters near and far from home, viral outbreaks, and other disturbances that cause our lives to shift. These shifts may last for moments or they may take up chapters in our lives. As healthcare professionals, it is important that during these disruptions we find means to remain available to our patients. At times, this means relaying that we are no longer operating as normal. Healthcare automation allows us to do this while enabling those on the front lines to focus on what matters… healing.

Let’s talk about utilizing healthcare automation tools during times of disruption and uncertainty.

Automated Messaging

Automated messaging allows your practice to push out mass messaging to your patient base without the manual work. This type of patient engagement tool should be utilized to push critical messages or updates to patients as time goes on. Here are some examples of messaging you may want to include in automated messages at your practice on the patient end:

  • In the case of a viral outbreak
    • directions on how to receive testing, if your facility provides it
    • what hours your facility is open for essential appointments / how to reschedule non-essential appointments
    • restrictions on who is able to enter the office for essential appointments
  • In the case of viral outbreak/major disturbance
    • where to receive reliable information (CDC, .Gov websites, ETC)
  • In case of a natural disaster
    • where patients can seek out relief materials (food banks, Red Cross, ETC)
    • if your office is open to the public/functioning as normal

Coupled with this, ensure that any directories are kept up-to-date with personnel who are still available to be reached at your facility. As tensions run high during critical times, this saves your staff from unnecessarily frustrated patients.

There are automated messages you may want to create for your staff as well, regardless of the crisis at hand. These may include:

  • Schedule changes or available shifts for pick up
  • Updates on the status of fellow staff members
  • Updates regarding the status of the community

Enabling your phone system to provide answers on how, when, and where to receive care (and more) can save your team valuable time when it comes to treating those who are critically ill and injured. When a major disturbance has hit your community, healthcare automation provides your organization with a means to do more with little.

Patient Portal Solutions

Accessing a patient portal solution allows providers to directly and securely speak to patients without having them physically at the practice. This solution is ideal when exposure risk is high or when a practice may be inaccessible due to a disaster. Many barriers still exist when it comes to patient engagement and patient portals, as talked about in an article from Out of the patients surveyed, many with access to a patient portal solution stated they did not access their solution due to the following…

  • Patients wanted to speak face to face with the provider
  • Privacy concerns
  • Didn’t feel it necessary to view medical records online
  • Inability to access the website

For those patients who find value in what patient portals offer, providers should be reiterating the messages presented through their automated messaging systems. Coupled with this, present other valuable information that patients may need throughout a crisis situation. Other ways that a patient portal may prove to be beneficial during a viral outbreak or natural disaster include providing:

  • Prescription refill information
  • Lab results that had been pending may be posted to a chart, and a provider can follow up with a patient through secure direct messaging
  • Provider follow-up after an essential visit
  • Self-quarantine information (if applicable for the outbreak at hand)
  • Guidelines for what patients may be seen vs. those who need to stay home

Patient portals help relay messages, keep patients informed, and enable your practice to be regulatory compliant all at once. When a time of disaster, crisis, or illness occurs in your community, the benefits are more evident than they may have been previously. Encourage your patients to utilize these solutions to receive updates and communicate securely with their care teams.

We offer many integrated healthcare automation solutions that help you achieve better communication with your patients and your staff. AutoRemind and Demandforce offer automated messaging platforms to help you stay connected regardless of the disturbance your practice faces. Henry Schein Secure Chart, our patient portal solution, is configurable to your practice’s needs and secure so your organization can interact as needed during a crisis.

Are you interested in learning more about our integrated patient engagement solutions to help you weather disturbances? Visit us at or call us at 800.624.8832.

About the author,
Savanna Adams

Savanna is the Marketing Communication Specialist at Henry Schein MicroMD. She schedules emails to clients, prospects, and VARs, manages social media accounts, performs research, writes blogs and eBooks, and much more while helping to support the simple yet powerful MicroMD solutions.

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