• Dr. Lauren O'Byrne

How to best utilize technology when communicating with your health care provider

Effective communication between providers and patients has been linked to improved health outcomes, and technology can play a key role in connecting you with your care team.

A technology-enabled medical practice uses a combination of tools that improve communication with and care of patients wherever they are. At the core of this practice is a strong relationship between the patient and the provider team. It’s not enough to simply use technology – you need to use the right technology for the situation.

Phone Calls

In an urgent situation, this is the best method to contact your provider. Most practices have established phone communication at all times of the day. Even if you cannot speak to your provider, there are methods in place to deliver prompt messaging.

Text Messages

Many practices allow direct messaging to their providers via cell phone. Although this is not HIPAA protected, it may be the simplest way to contact your doctor about a routine or nonurgent issue.

Patient Portal (like MyChart)

A secure website or app that allows patients and their providers to communicate securely online. Patients using any device connected to the internet can access the portal with a secure login. The portal provides a way for patients to initiate routine and nonurgent requests during or outside of office hours. The portal usually allows patients to complete requests for prescriptions, appointments and referral authorizations, and to view information from their outpatient medical records.

Email

Physicians also check their business email, in addition to the patient portal requests. Like text messaging, this is not secure but may be a convenient way to communicate with your provider.

Video Visits

Videoconferencing allows for the timely evaluation of both urgent and nonurgent issues that might not require an office visit. Evidence is growing that the use of videoconferencing in the medical environment is useful for a variety of serious and chronic issues. In recent surveys, patient satisfaction was rated very highly for the videoconference visit experience, and this method can be an effective way to deliver care.

Although technology can play an important role in your care, it shouldn’t always be used to replace a face-to-face interaction. At Spry, we believe that you are free to choose the method of communication that is most convenient for you, and we will work with you to meet your needs.

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