Phone tag. We all hate it.
Maybe you had a patient who came in recently and you ordered lab tests. Now the results are back, and you want to discuss them with your patient.
Or maybe you needed to order an imaging study, and you want to let your patient know the results and discuss treatment plans.
In this time of social distancing to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, it’s even more important to have a secure, reliable way to communicate with our patients.
Here are two scenarios where Direct Health’s asynchronous chat feature can help you communicate results to patients.
A 45 year old woman presents to your office with symptoms of a urinary tract infection. She also has T2DM and hypertension, and this is her third UTI in the last year.
You’ve successfully treated her with first line antibiotics in the past, but you are concerned about resistance, so you collect a urine specimen to send off for culture and sensitivity testing. After a couple of days you receive the lab results, and you decide to switch the antibiotics she’s taking based on the susceptibility results.
Instead of playing phone tag with her, you send her a message in Direct Health and upload the lab results for her to review.
You explain your reasoning for changing her antibiotic: the antibiotic she’s taking shows intermediate susceptibility, but the bacteria causing her UTI show stronger susceptibility to another antibiotic.
She confirms she’s taken this antibiotic for another condition in the past without any issues, and you electronically send her new prescription to her pharmacy from within Direct Health.
Reporting Imaging Results
A 38 year old man who presents to your office after he twisted his left knee while doing yard work. He has pain, tenderness, and swelling on the medial aspect of his knee and a positive McMurray’s. Anterior and posterior drawer signs are negative.
You suspect your patient has torn his medial meniscus, so you order an MRI. You also give him instructions for RICE therapy (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and a prescription NSAID.
A week later, you receive the results. Instead of going back and forth trying to let him know over the phone, you send him a secure message in Direct Health. You let your patient know he has a small medial meniscus tear in the outer edge of the meniscus and a mild MCL sprain.
Via chat messages and a secure audio call on Direct Health, you discuss his treatment options with him. He decides to try conservative therapy for now. You send him gentle knee exercises for him to perform at home as tolerated.
And, of course, he can follow up with you in the office or on Direct Health.
Forget Phone Tag Frustration
With Direct Health’s asynchronous chat system, you can securely send results to your patients and answer questions without playing phone tag.
If your staff usually performs these follow up communications, they can do it for you and bring you into the conversation as needed.
And if a follow up communication becomes more complex and rises to the level of a visit, you can charge for it appropriately.
About the Author
Stephanie Kreml, MD is a former urgent care doctor and advises digital health and life science companies. Dr. Kreml also served as Chief Medical Officer for Accordion Health where she worked alongside data scientists to develop machine learning-based tools to enable healthcare organizations more effectively manage their patient populations.
She is an Advisory Panel Member for Dell Medical School’s Texas Health Catalyst program, enabling researchers to translate technologies into commercial healthcare applications. Prior to medical school, she held engineering positions with Motorola and Texas Instruments. Dr. Kreml received her Doctor of Medicine from Baylor College of Medicine and her Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin.
About Direct Health
Direct Health is working to change how healthcare is delivered by recreating the doctor-patient relationship. With the secure messaging app, physicians and patients have the ability to connect via text, call, or video, from anywhere and on their schedule. This enables patients to chat with their doctor, vet, or therapist at any time, and clinicians to extend care and get paid without extra overhead or burdensome schedules. With over 20,000 doctors across the platform, Direct Health is leading the way in the future of healthcare. For more information, visit http://www.directhealth.us.