James Legan, MD, an internist in Great Falls. Mont. is not new to the benefits of technology in practicing medicine.
“I run my individual practice with just myself and my nurse." Dr. Legan practices in an office with seven other independent providers who share a common overhead and in-house billing.
In addition to using Updox for electronic faxing, approximately 70 percent of Dr. Legan’s patients use his patient portal to access their records, receive messages from the practice and submit questions and requests. When Dr. Legan heard about HIPAA-compliant secure texting from Updox, he was eager to give it a try.
“Texting is naturally an easier, more comfortable technology. So many of us already use it in our personal lives, it made sense to try it here as a way to engage patients.”
He’s found it’s also easier to get patients on board with using it. “We show them how to use Secure Text in the office before they leave. We send their first text and have them enter my name into their phone contact list.”
Some providers might feel that answering texts from patients would take too much time and overburden their staff. Not true, says Dr. Legan. “In the time it takes to dial a number, wait for a call to be answered and then introduce yourself, you could have already sent your text. Plus, people text in much simpler language. They get right to the point and are OK with a faster, brief reply. It’s much more convenient than a phone call.”
Here’s an example of a recent exchange with a patient. She was at the radiology clinic to get a CAT scan. The clinic needed some additional paperwork. The patient was able to text Dr. Legan’s office and they immediately sent the paperwork over. Case closed in just a few minutes. With phone, the patient may have had to leave a message and wait for it to be heard and then wait for paperwork. She might even have had to reschedule her appointment. “It was a win-win for us,” says Dr. Legan. “Happy patients make for happy providers.”
To further simplify his use of Secure Text, Dr. Legan and his nurse created text templates so they can easily, through the Updox inbox, send a text quickly. Their template library includes options for appointment thank you, summary visits, mammogram reports, pap results, labs, vaccine clinic reminders and how to reply to a text.
“These new engagement tools are the way patient and physician communications is headed. Text is how we communicate with each other already so doctors really should incorporate them into their businesses,” says Dr. Legan. “Those who aren’t willing to do that are missing out.”
Secure Text is one part of the Updox Engagement solution, part of the Updox all-in-one collaboration platform that also includes Communication and Productivity solutions. Through the platform, staff can review faxes, send appointment reminders, text patients, respond to email and send messages to other staff – all within the same workflow. No logging in and out of different systems. It’s multi-tasking at its finest but in ways that save time and money to make patients, providers and staff happier and more efficient.
“Updox is bringing about a revolutionary change in medicine. With everything all in the same system, it’s all so easy and integrated. Updox solutions tie in well together and are packaged all within the Inbox. It makes it very efficient to use,” says Dr. Legan. “Sometimes, we forget how to practice medicine. With Updox – we can do things logically and bend to patients’ needs.”