Texting as a Touch Point

By Vonesa Wenzel, Managing Partner HomeCare Connect

Texting has woven its way deep into the fabric of American culture, including in the healthcare sector. Studies show its effectiveness in fostering medication adherence, treatment compliance, and the management of diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Over 81 percent of the population owns smartphones, according to the Pew Research Center. Roughly one in five adults use a smartphone but lack traditional broadband service at home, making texting preferable to email.

Dedicated to communicating frequently–and well–with the injured workers it serves, HomeCare Connect formally rolled out its free TextConnect service last year.

Within an hour of receiving a referral, a care coordinator contacts the injured worker to introduce the company, assess the injured worker’s condition and share what services to expect and when. This initial contact includes asking if they would like to receive future communications via text.

Nearly three-quarters of these workers’ compensation patients opt into texts, which are sent in English or Spanish.

Texting is fast and convenient. Plus, many injured workers, especially those with catastrophic injuries, aren’t always available or able to answer a call. People hesitate to answer an unknown number, and listening and responding to voice mail, then playing phone tag with a clinical care coordinator can delay care.

Instead, care coordinators text to check in with people and answer their questions. Texts alert injured workers to the timing of nursing visits, delivery of home health durable medical equipment, and updates on home modifications and prosthetics. If desired, family members and caregivers can be included in group texts.

Since piloting the program nearly a year ago, HomeCare Connect has seen an increase in patient engagement. Injured employees tend to ask more questions via text and tell their coordinators how they’re doing. When patients 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, periodic texts ask injured workers to rate an encounter with a provider on a 1-5 scale. A low rating prompts the company to investigate the situation and recommend changes. Responses also help rank the 18,000-plus providers in the HomeCare Connect’s network. When a new referral comes in, its system combines satisfaction scores with other factors, such as expertise, location, cost-effectiveness, and client-specific requirements to select the best providers for the case.

HomeCare Connect developed its own texting technology, integrating it into its self-built, HIPAA-compliant CareLink platform that drives home health management services in workers’ compensation.

As its name conveys, HomeCare Connect is all about connecting with everyone involved in the claim – especially the injured workers. The goal is to recognize issues and resolve them quickly. Texting provides an extra touch point with the injured employee and it allows care advocates to act with a sense of urgency and communicate frequently and clearly – and in the way injured workers prefer.

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About HomeCare Connect

Specializing in catastrophic cases, HomeCare Connect manages the quality and cost of home health care, DME and supplies, home modification and prosthetics and orthotics for workers’ compensation patients and payers. The Inc. 5000 and the Orlando Business Journal’s lists of fast-growing, privately held companies have captured its rapid growth. Based in Winter Park, Florida, near Orlando, the company serves clients nationally and can be reached at www.homecareconnect.com or 855-223-2228.