Hucu is Solving Healthcare Communication Problems On Three Fronts

hucu.ai-hipaa messaging app

Technology is playing an important role in delivering quality healthcare today. Healthcare professionals including doctors, consultants, and nurses are fully engaged in a radical action plan for improving healthcare all around the world through telehealth especially after COVID-19 pandemic.

While hospitals and healthcare organizations are jam-packed with coronavirus patients, other patients with chronic illnesses suffer from the lack of availability of doctors and safe spots in the hospitals to see them or care for them. 

Telehealth brings a solution to solve these glaring problems very easily. One of the greatest benefits of telehealth is how it makes communication easy in a remote setting. Patients can connect with their doctors being in the safety of their homes. Doctors can also protect themselves from getting exposed to coronavirus by monitoring patients remotely through telehealth. Furthermore, it increases convenience for both parties by saving travel costs and wait time. Appointments can be scheduled online and through video conference, patients can speak with their doctors. 

There are a lot of telehealth applications and solutions that help with the patient-doctor connection to choose from. Hucu is an exceptional simple HIPAA compliant text messaging application that not only helps with patient-doctor communication, it also allows families to get in touch with doctors instantly, and lastly but most importantly, it creates channels of communication within the healthcare organization for staff members. 

Hucu’s major focus is to empower doctors, patients, and families in the cycle of communication and provide them with easy to access patient-centered information from health needs to care protocols to logistical issues. 

Hucu is solving communication problems on three different fronts and has the potential to effectively manage the complexities involved in any communication:

  • Between healthcare providers and patients or patient families.
  • Among healthcare providers and in their organizations.
  • Among healthcare providers across multiple organizations and locations.

Solving Communication Problems Between Healthcare Providers and their Patients and Families

Hucu has launched a new feature in its application to make communication easy between healthcare providers and the patient’s family. Since healthcare teams can be busy, Hucu lets them efficiently communicate with the patients and families to keep everybody updated without needing phone tags, voicemails, texts, and missed connections. Hucu understands that communications can drive better care which in turn drives better patient/family satisfaction. When healthcare providers send important notifications to families on time via Hucu, it helps reduce patient/family anxiety and creates peace of mind for them. 

Hucu allows focused and organized messages as opposed to disjointed personal messages in the device app and this helps provide patients/families with the best in class experience. With Hucu, healthcare providers can assure all questions are answered in easy to field messages which promptly reduces family concerns about care. When patients/families can have more frequent updates and transparent dialogues with the healthcare providers via Hucu, it reduces potential liability by establishing trustful relationships. 

Now Families Can Get Frequent and Instant Updates About Their Loved One From Healthcare Staff

Several surveys have shown that patient/family satisfaction plays an important role in recommending a hospital to other people. Through Hucu, healthcare providers can ensure seamless communication across all involved care teams and this can triple patient/family satisfaction. 

How is Hucu able to do all this? Hucu replaces the need for phone calls, voicemails, and texts. ‘channel’ feature in which patients and family members can be sent a message by the healthcare provider all at once. Healthcare teams are empowered to invite or restrict specific family members to reduce noise and improve peace of mind for approved family members. Hucu helps enable easy information sharing to communicate patient history, medicine lists, advanced directive, and other important information.There are exceptional benefits for families to use Hucu. It helps them communicate with all healthcare providers that are taking care of their loved one, all at once. No need to place multiple phone calls every single time they want an update. 

Patients and families can share key patient updates like temperature, pulse, Bp, etc. with relevant care team members involved so that proper and timely decisions can be made for improved patient care. One of the greatest benefits of Hucu is its centralization of all patient communications in one place. Such sensitive data is secured on HUCU’s cloud storage so patients, families, and healthcare providers don’t have to worry about storing data on their devices or about losing it for various reasons. It can be accessed anytime, anywhere in Hucu’s HIPAA compliant environment. 

Solving Communication Problems Among Healthcare Providers And Within Their Organizations

Holding telehealth sessions between doctors and patients really helps break down all barriers of communication. Deploying telehealth solutions like Hucu is that a healthcare organization can improve its workflows and communication cycles within its hierarchy. Hucu can help healthcare organizations communicate and coordinate patient care remotely by facilitating internal communication channels. 

In a traditional setting, healthcare team members have to find each other through broadcast announcements in a hospital or contact each other through pagers in emergencies. 

Hucu Organizes Communication Among Healthcare Team Members

Hucu can help the entire healthcare organization get ‘organized’ at its workflow level. When doctors are setting up a telehealth session with their remote patients, they need updated information about the patient’s case from the staff or patient’s family members. This is especially true in a Senior Care Setting. Now gathering such information through phone calls requires time. Verbal communication over phone calls can prove erroneous as well. 

In such situations, a communication tool like Hucu can allow the doctor to gather information from the relevant staff members and family members in a specific channel in a very organized and coordinated way.

Solving Communication Problems Among Healthcare Providers Across Multiple Organizations and Locations

With Hucu, the doctor can easily gather the relevant consultants in one channel, share the patient status, and communicate a care plan. The plan can then be shared with the healthcare team on the application in which they can post notifications and updates as well. Hucu truly organizes all the steps in telehealth so that communication both within the organization and to specialists and collaborators outside the organization can be improved and quality care can be provided. 

Hucu can streamline communication between providers and facility staff by allowing them to communicate in context within each Patient-Channel, with each other in one-to-one direct messaging and within internal and/or external groups through Collaboration Channels. Another amazing feature of “distinctive notifications” helps providers tag each other or tag the entire group. 

Hospitals face open shift challenges very often and Hucu resolves this issue by allowing staff members to quickly message shift availability and get immediate response from the staff. 

In the world of healthcare, patient communication is still too sparse and often lacks transparency and the personal touch that builds trust in the care team. Telehealth solutions like Hucu are here to change that with distinctive powerful features that can optimize any healthcare provider’s practice.  

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Hucu.ai Participates in Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium, Impresses Judges

The Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium was held virtually from 9th November to 11th November 2020. The event created an amazing opportunity for companies to interact with angel and venture investors from Wisconsin over the three-day duration of the conference. Apart from Tech Council Investor Network’s presentation tracks, the conference also hosted the popular Elevator Pitch Olympics and “Investor Intros” which offered a wonderful opportunity for entrepreneurs to introduce themselves and their innovative ideas to investors. 

It was an honor for Hucu.ai to be selected to pitch among the other early stage companies. The judges Sarah Bain, Erin Henry and Michael Thorson provided great feedback” 

– Asif Khan, CEO and Co-Founder, Hucu.ai.

Out of many young companies participating, thirty-seven companies were offered meetings with potential investors, 20 companies were given an opportunity to give recorded-five minute pitches, while only 17 were picked for the fast-moving Elevator Pitch Olympics on November 11th. Did you know that scores of companies from across the Midwest applied to present at the annual conference? Hucu is proud to be one of the selected few. Hucu and 16 others selected for the Elevator Pitch Olympics delivered 90-second pitches that were scored by a panel of investor judges. In addition to the judges’ feedback, participants also got scored by members of the audience for the selection of a second “People’s Choice” award.  Here are the participants apart from Hucu that took part in the Elevator Pitch Olympics. 

“Both Asif and I got a lot out of the conference. It sometimes seems iffy for a virtual event to deliver value, but the speakers were great and we had some encouraging conversations with venture investors.” 

– Laura McKee, COO and Co-Founder, Hucu.ai.

This virtual conference featured informative and inspiring speakers including digital media influencer Jon Jaques as well as healthcare entrepreneurs Dr. Nichole Quick and Kristi Ebong.  The Early Stage Symposium also featured panel discussions, networking, and exciting virtual opportunities to make presentations both formal and informal while allowing entrepreneurs to meet with investors, business leaders, and other like-minded entrepreneurs. 

This year’s virtual symposium built on the foundation Wisconsin Technology Council has established in recent years. Many organizations have cited participation in the conference as a key factor for impactful business growth. More than 1,000 companies have successfully presented during the conference in one way or another over recent years. Participants include entrepreneurs and investors from throughout the Midwest, particularly those hailing from the Badger state. 

The conference was organized by the Wisconsin Technology Council which is a science and technology advisor to the Governor and the Legislature. It was launched back in 2001 and was created by a bipartisan act of the governor and the Legislature. The Council is an independent, non-profit, and non-partisan board with members from tech organizations, venture capital firms, research bodies, higher education institutes, government, and law. 

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Four Stages of Healthcare Transformation to Prepare for Covid-19 Wave 2

senior-care

The coronavirus has truly upended U.S. healthcare. However, some healthcare providers, like Geisinger Health System, quickly activated emergency response plans and canceled all non-urgent procedures and clinic visits. Such healthcare systems also shifted the non-clinical workforce to work from home and saw that virtual communication with patients exploded. Because of the pandemic and the emergency created with an influx of an unexpected number of patients, healthcare systems dealt with shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and important medical equipment for the first time.

All healthcare systems have and continue to experience negative financial impacts from the coronavirus that will total to hundreds of millions of dollars. Just as healthcare systems adapt to their new reality, WHO is predicting Covid-19’s second wave in the near future.

Many aspects of how U.S. healthcare has previously worked including fee-for-service business model – were exactly the elements that left the healthcare systems vulnerable to the crippling impact of the pandemic. It is difficult for healthcare systems to get back to business as usual so they need to instead focus on creating a new normal post-pandemic. Creating the new reality means speeding up the positive transformation that is underway towards value based care, and determining which of the activities healthcare systems have stopped and should not resume.

Now is an excellent time to mobilize your team in order to boldly transform the healthcare systems for the better from learned experience in ways that previously were not possible. Healthcare systems need to take this opportunity to fix what has not worked and direct full attention to new and better goals that are centered on delivering better outcomes and creating true value for patients.

How Can Healthcare Systems Create Better Value for Patients?

Many healthcare systems are directing their focus on mitigating the impact of the coronavirus on their staff, business, and patients. Some are also paying attention to what comes next – like Geisinger – while some have formally initiated post-crisis planning just days into the pandemic by organizing a group of leaders from all parts of the organization. It is important to realize that this critical task should be viewed and executed as a strategic and operational innovation initiative, not as some damage mitigation exercise – or for the sake of restoring revenues.

Healthcare systems can create a steering group for this initiative that defines core areas of business such as HR, finance, IT, clinical enterprise, the health insurance representatives, pharmacy, and others. Workgroups can be created across each of these that are tasked with defining new approaches. Each workgroup can include leaders from outside of the workgroups’ focus. This is vital because some activities may have to be stopped to develop transformation but may be resisted by those closest to them. Outsiders can bring a neutral perspective in the discussion.

This framework presents 4 stages in the transformation.

  1. Resuming non-urgent work
  2. Beginning of the New Normal
  3. Post-crisis Activity and preparing for the second wave of Covid-19
  4. Operational and economic recovery in a transformed system

Members of the group will have to carefully consider the impact at each stage on patients and front line employees by focusing on their needs and what changes for them, and what will make them feel safe. Each activity in these different functions can be categorized as work to ‘start’, ‘continue’ or ‘stop’. The groups will have to use a scenario planning approach for the work as it cannot be assumed that the future will look like the world we knew before Covid-19. When planning exercises, the groups  develop plausible scenarios (e.g., higher reimbursement for telehealth visits) and determine the impact on patient care and the business. This way, the groups can establish common assumptions about the ‘new normal’ and how the healthcare system/organization should respond.

remote care during Covid

Stage 1: Resuming Non-Urgent Work

Most healthcare organizations are resuming their systems. Stages 2 to 4 where innovation and transformation are crucial are the main focus of this blog. In each stage, we will discuss a few examples of the scores of topics that each of the workgroups can tackle on the road to transformation.

Of course, the patients’ and employees’ safety comes first and has been the center of attention during the crisis for most healthcare organizations. It will continue to be so when they will resume non-urgent clinical work. Covid-19 testing is crucial in preventing transmission and healthcare organizations need to validate and continue to perform in-house testing. Contact tracing is also important for containing any epidemic around the country. While this task has traditionally been given to the local and state health departments, many of those resources were spread thin during the national emergency.

Healthcare systems with resources should support the public health departments’ contact tracing as a public-private partnership. Did you know that the U.S. is falling short of the estimated 300,000 contact tracers needed? Many hospitals have the expertise to manage testing, communicating the results, and treating those who test positive. If these capabilities can include contact tracing, it would be a natural extension for many systems. It will definitely contribute to the public good and will also help reduce their own Covid-19 caseloads. Healthcare organizations that begin to perform this will also find the experience valuable if and when the second wave of Covid-19 hits. Contact testing will benefit providers, patients, and communities.

Telehealth Solutions Like Hucu Can Reduce Operational Cost for Healthcare Organizations

Stage 2: Beginning of the New Normal

During the pandemic, healthcare organizations have seen an acceleration of strategies that were previously slow to get acceptance. For example, before the coronavirus, healthcare had 50-80 telehealth visits per day. Many constraints like patient and provider reluctance and reimbursement issues in hospitals prevented the wide adoption of telehealth. However, because of the crisis now, hospitals are seeing almost 4000-5000 telehealth visits daily, half of which are video visits). Most private and government health coverage plans are now reimbursing telehealth visits at the same rate as in-person visits apart from waiving co-payments associated with these visits. What really helped in the increased adoption of telehealth visits? It is the change in the patients’ perception from ‘this provider does not think my problem is important so they are scheduling a telehealth visit for me” to “this provider cares for my safety and therefore, is seeing me via telehealth”.

Many healthcare providers saw the benefits of telehealth visits including that patients who have chronic conditions can now avoid coming to hospitals. Also, providers have a valuable view of patients’ home environments which can provide insight related to their conditions. Healthcare organizations need to plan and build this momentum and continue to expand the use of telehealth and all forms of virtual encounters even after the pandemic ends.

Telehealth solutions like Hucu are a great example of how communication and operations can be sorted out smoothly around patients, doctors, and staff of a healthcare organization. Hucu is a HIPAA compliant text messaging application that offers a platform to patients, doctors, staff, and families to stay connected remotely in a very systematic way. Doctors can check in on their patients virtually and also communicate about the patient with the care team in separate channels. The care team provides real-time updates to families of nursing home residents through Hucu. The healthcare organization can use Hucu to create operational plans following an emergency in minutes via groups. Hucu eliminates the traditional task of contacting individuals and relaying important information every time. Hucu is a complete communication solution that can save staff time up to 50%, increase work efficiency, and reduce costs for the hospitals.

Another program that can empower healthcare organizations to remotely promote and maintain patients’ health is a pharmacy organization. Organizations need to launch mail-order pharmacy which can benefit the patients. Healthcare organizations can deliver prescriptions to patients in a more efficient way and save costs. When these are passed along to the patients, they will be keener to adhere to their medication regimens. Patients can save money and avoid travel, and physical contact which can protect them and others from the spread of the virus. This will also help in wave 2 of Covid-19.

Stage 3: Post-Crisis Activity And Preparing For The Second Wave Of Covid-19

Some of the critical changes that healthcare systems have made in response to the coronavirus are likely to stay with them. For example, many allowed a great chunk of their workforce to work from home. The benefits of this shift included increased employee safety and access to an expanded talent pool since work from home employees can live and work from literally anywhere around the world. As long as the staff can effectively work from a remote location after the pandemic, healthcare organizations can anticipate potential cost savings from the elimination of leases, sale of real estate, and conversion of current administrative space to clinical space. Perhaps the healthcare organizations can work out a WFH model in which part of the workforce can WFH completely which a part can work in hybrid WFH and office-based roles.

A large part of the clinical activity will likely continue as telehealth, so healthcare organizations will have to revise a facility plan for the years ahead. Healthcare systems that had success with WFH during the pandemic can determine what proportion of their workforce could WFH permanently. This will result in decreased operational costs too.

Stage 4: Operational And Economic Recovery In A Transformed System

The fee-for-service business model of the U.S, designed with misaligned incentives that stunted care innovation before Covid-19, was destined to fail under pressure and it did. Covid-19 compounded the already present shortcomings of such an approach – particularly its reliance on maximizing elective procedures and volume in general. The crisis necessitated the quick acceleration of virtual care and care at home as hospital systems and patients deliberately reduced inpatient hospital admissions and avoided ER utilization. Virtual care and home care can reduce costs and improve patient engagement. However, these same efforts also lead to significant reductions in revenue under the present fee-for-service reimbursement scheme in healthcare.

Consequential payment reform should create funding systems that make prevention and population health – rather than maximizing reimbursement – the true focus of patient care. This will need a significant financial incentive to create alignment between value (better health outcomes at lower cost) and reimbursement. Such incentives have to be sufficient to encourage investments needed to transform the care delivery model in the healthcare industry.

Such a model will lead to improved quality of healthcare and reduce costs as more patients will get the right care in the appropriate settings. Without such a shift, U.S. healthcare systems will continue to suffer from the effects of prioritizing volume over value and will be financially exposed and vulnerable in the upcoming second wave of the pandemic just like they were in the first one.

What We Conclude

Covid-19 has caused morbidity, health complications, and devastating economic burden. It has placed a lot of strain on a national healthcare system.

There is a need to leverage the lessons learned throughout this pandemic to transform the way healthcare organizations care for patients. There is a need for private and public payers to work with healthcare systems to continue implementation of  value-based care models.

If healthcare organizations can transform the care delivery and payment systems in ways that will improve healthcare for patients, providers, and communities then we would have found the silver lining of Covid-19.

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