Email provides a fast, affordable, and easy way to improve all healthcare related organizations. It’s the one piece of technology that everyone uses, with over 196 billion emails sent each day. However, the healthcare industry has been slow to adopt email due to its history of security problems for HIPAA compliance. The good news is there are now vendors like Paubox who offer HIPAA compliant email solutions that can encrypt and secure protected health information (PHI), making email a viable solution. This can be especially helpful for small to medium sized practices that may not have the budget or technical resources to utilize complex enterprise systems. Here are three ways having HIPAA compliant email can improve your practice.
1. Make your operations more efficient
Having the ability to securely email patients and other healthcare specialists does more than give practices another means of communications. Email can make your practice more efficient. How many times have you been in the middle of processing paperwork or finishing a task when the phone rings? Is your first reaction “Yay, a phone call!” Probably not. That’s because you knew that a phone call could take 10 minutes or more to finish up. On the other hand researchers from Yahoo Labs found on average the reply time for emails was just two minutes. Emails can also be incorporated into workflows by copy/pasting emails into your management software to document notes and patient interactions.
2. Reduce Errors
In addition to breaking workflows, phone calls can create risk for errors. A 2013 study by Michigan State University revealed that even a brief interruption can double the amount of errors that occur. Email can also reduce breakdowns that can happen with verbal communication. It can be easy to misinterpret or mix-up a detail from a phone conversation. An email trail can help keep things clear for all parties involved. This can be especially helpful when following up on treatment with a patient. An email can give patients clear instructions that are written, saved in their inbox and can be referred to in the future.
3. Improve patient experience
A 2014 study by Catalyst Healthcare Research revealed that 93% of adults would prefer to see a doctor that offers email communication. Of that 93%, a quarter of them said they would even PAY MORE to see a doctor that offers email communication. Offering to communicate via email gives your practice the ability to deliver what patients want. By simply being willing and able to communicate with patients via email can set the tone for a positive patient experience.