Close Gaps in Care with Personalized Messaging

Close Gaps in Care with Personalized Messaging

With the cost of medication non-adherence reaching $100 – $289 billion a year, and with statistics showing that  non-adherence causes 125,000 deaths yearly in the United States, finding ways to close gaps in care is an ongoing concern in the healthcare industry. To assist with reducing these numbers, more and more attention is being paid to using personalized messaging to assist patients in following care programs that deliver better health outcomes. Personalized Messaging for healthcare

Personalized messaging, delivered through a multi-channel communications process, allows patients to receive information in ways that are most convenient to them. Whether that information is communicated via text messaging programs sent to smartphones, a patient portal system that can offer clear reminders for patients related to appointment and medication alerts, or outbound IVR systems that help remind patients to review their pharmacy benefit options, personalized messaging can deliver more positive outcomes for patients and close gaps in care.

Text Messaging:

Using text messages that are personalized to patients, especially those with chronic conditions, can help close care gaps and remind patients to take their medications. A University of Chicago Medicine pilot program using text message reminders for diabetes patients has shown success for enhancing patient support and self-care for chronic conditions. The program showed promise for patients, with an average decrease of HbA1c levels from 7.9 percent to 7.2 percent, while individuals that had the most poorly controlled HbA1c levels dropped from 10.3 percent to 8.5 percent in only six months.

Another study undertaken in Australia with patients with coronary heart disease demonstrated the benefits of using personalized messaging to drive better outcomes. The objective of the study was to examine the effect of “a lifestyle-focused semipersonalized support program delivered by mobile phone text message on cardiovascular risk factors”, with patients that were in the intervention group given four text messages a week in additional to their usual care. The text messages provided advice, motivational reminders and support to change lifestyle behaviors.

The results of the study showed that after six months, levels of LDL-C were significantly lower in participants that received text messages versus the control group, with reductions in blood pressure and BMI, while showing higher rates of physical activity. The majority of participants reported the text-message program to be useful (91%), easy to understand (97%), and appropriate in frequency (86%).

Access to Information:

A recent study by Kaiser Permanente showed that members of a health plan were more likely to engage in preventive care measures when they were able to access their health information online and receive alerts related to gaps in their care.

The study found that consumers who use Kaiser’s Online Personal Action Plan, which provides access to health data and sends emails if members need preventive care, are more likely to see closure of care gaps, especially in a few specific areas.

For example, portal users were 9 percent more likely to have mammograms, 6 percent more likely to receive a Pap smear and 12 percent more likely to schedule HbA1c testing for diabetes.

Other communication tactics include increasing the member’s use of personal healthcare portals by more orderly and clear website design. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association found that the biggest factor that lead to acceptance of the website tools was simplicity of use.

Improving Engagement: Text messaging programs and access to personalized information are important for helping to close care gaps because they help drive engagement with individuals to help them comply with medication use and encourage health management activities that lead to better patient care outcomes.

A Benefits Magazine reported  study showed that 88 percent of workers say they “lack an understanding of the value of preventive services,” while 56 percent say they have “no motivation to stay healthy,” and 47 percent say they have “difficulty taking time during the work day” to visit a doctor. Finding ways to deliver personalized messages that are targeted to the specific needs of individual can help drive better outcomes by relaying the importance of following prescription medication guidelines, and engaging in wellness programs to drive better health outcomes and lower costs.

To drive overall better outcomes for patients,  close care gaps, and reduce the cost of care health plans should consider software applications that help deliver personalized messaging  to patients via their preferred communication channel. RxEOB offers a number of products that can be customized  to deliver higher levels of engagement for patients. To learn how RxEOB can assist you, please contact us at 888-648-0989 ext. 226, or email us at info@rxeob.com.