Doctors lag in latest communication methodsNews added by Benefits Pro on October 28, 2013

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By Kathryn Mayer

Americans are going more and more high-tech in their communications, but doctors are still sticking with tried-and-true methods.

The majority of health care providers are using traditional forms to communicate with patients, despite both patient preferences and efforts to boost health IT adoption, according to a survey.

Sponsored by TCS Healthcare Technologies, the Case Management Society of America and the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians, the survey found that 91 percent of physicians reported using a telephone to communicate with patients, while 74 percent reported using letters.

Meanwhile, just 5 percent of doctors reported using patient portals to communicate with patients, 8 percent reported using smartphone applications and 7 percent reported using remote monitoring devices.

“Although recent research shows consumers are using smartphone applications regularly in the marketplace, [most] are not taking advantage of smartphone applications with their patients,” the report said. Only 6 percent utilize this type of remote monitoring IT solution.

But there has been an uptick in acceptance, a positive finding, researchers said.

More than half of providers (54 percent) said they use email to reach patients, and social media and text messaging communication use has also increased over the last couple years.

“The acceptance of email communication is a perfect example of how care managers can adopt new technologies that patients are comfortable with, and focus their efforts directly on patient guidance and engagement,” said Cheri Lattimer, CMSA executive director. “This shift is also indicative of where we need to more diligently address issues and barriers associated with mobile applications, HIPPA restraints, as well as enhance financial and performance alignment to support advancing technology innovations.”

Rob Pock, founder and president of TCS Healthcare Technologies, said it’s extremely important to know “what types of technology patients currently use, coupled with a firm grasp of the direction IT trends are headed” so that health providers can keep patients engaged in their health care.

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