Clinics in the Western U.S. Increased Patient Outreach Most During Early COVID-19 Outbreak
Tashfeen Ekram, MD
An analysis of patient data interactions on the Luma Health Total Patient Engagement Platform™ revealed that healthcare communications in the Western U.S. jumped more than anywhere else in the country during the period after COVID-19 was first confirmed in the United States. The proactive communication in that area may have helped save lives. And, it has forever changed patient expectations around how (and how often) providers communicate with them between appointments.
It isn’t particularly surprising that the volume of sent messages increased substantially in the Western U.S., since the earliest reported cases of COVID-19 were concentrated in Washington and California. Despite COVID-19 hitting states in this region before states in other regions, Washington and California were able to contain the spread better than some other locations that reported confirmed cases later — possibly because of some of the proactive communication from healthcare teams in this region of the U.S.
The fact that states like California and Washington did not turn into COVID-19 epicenters, confirms the value of proactive communication.
Proactive Communication to Patients Enabled Healthcare Teams to:
Educate patients about health threats in their community
Promote healthy behaviors such as hand washing, staying home when sick, and covering coughs
Help high-risk patients recognize particular risks related to underlying health conditions
Conduct digital patient screenings via surveys
Prompt patients to call their clinic before showing up in person if exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19
Identify patients who require testing and route them to the appropriate care setting
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Healthcare providers have always considered patient communication and engagement to be beneficial and effective for driving improved patient outcomes. The higher communication volume in the Western U.S. paired with the fact that states like California and Washington that could have turned into COVID-19 epicenters didn’t, confirms the value of proactive communication.