How to Communicate Effectively with a Patient’s Family

There is no doubt that effective communication leads to better patient care and helps in building trust with the patient’s family. Communication is a vital part of patient care. When a patient is admitted to a hospital, his family goes through a very emotional time – especially if it is a terminally ill patient. The family will understandably have concerns and questions for the healthcare team members and would want information to be shared with them.
Most families advocate strongly for their loved ones in the hospital and so it is tricky for the healthcare team members to be considerate towards family members and their concerns while making sure they can assert their expertise successfully in healthcare communication. Sometimes walking this fine line can cause a rift between the healthcare team members and the patient’s family. However, a few tips such as follows can ensure that healthcare team members build a trusting connection with the patient’s family.

Listening with Patience

In order to communicate effectively, healthcare team members have to listen to what the patient’s family has to say with patience. It is also important to listen actively and attentively. By reflecting back the family communications, actively listening to what they are saying will make them feel heard. A healthcare team member should never interrupt when a family member is expressing his concerns and instead should try to understand what is being said in order to effectively respond to it.

Being Mindful of Body Language

Verbal communication is only half of communication. Nonverbal cues are just as important such as the body language or the tone of voice that give away a lot of information. Therefore, the healthcare team members should be aware of the nonverbal cues they are sending off. Maintaining direct eye contact with the patient’s family can make them feel that the healthcare team member is genuinely interested in what is being said. A soft but calm and firm tone of voice will convey healthcare team member’s empathy as well as confidence. The goal is for the patient’s family to feel that the healthcare team member cares and is also an expert.

Hucu.ai Brings Family, Patients and Healthcare Teams Together.

Actively Listen at the Next Level

When a family has expressed their concerns and questions, a healthcare team member can summarize what has been said and repeat it to show that he was listening actively in the first place and understands them. This is a form of effective healthcare communication that also helps to create an imprint of the information in one’s memory. The healthcare team member can also ask follow up questions to take the communication to the next level as this helps to improve patient care. It will also make the family feel that there is genuine care and interest in the healthcare team member’s side.

Following Patient's Privacy Rules

It is crucial to remember and follow privacy rules when giving away the health information of any patient. All healthcare team members must know HIPAA laws and follow privacy policies strictly. Otherwise, violation of HIPAA laws can lead to very expensive fines. First of all, patients have to consent to the release of their medical information to their family members. Healthcare team members can share medical information with only those family members who are involved when treating the patient or in the process of payment, only if the patient allows.

Honesty is the Key

No matter how worried, concerned, or emotional a patient’s family is, it is best to always be honest about the patient’s medical condition. It is easier to lie about the condition to ease the worry of their loved one but that can create a gap in understanding and expectations. It is common for healthcare team members to receive intense reactions of sadness or anger, therefore, they have to be calm at all times. It is critical to remember that their job is to provide care for the patient and also be a source of comfort and understanding for the patient’s family in difficult times.

Communication with Family Member Made Easy with Hucu.ai

Whether a patient is in post-acute care or hospice, healthcare team members have to communicate with the patient’s loved ones and give updated information about the condition of the patient. It can be overwhelming for the healthcare team members to receive phone calls or messages on their pagers from a patient’s family asking after the patient when the healthcare team members are taking care of numerous patients and have a really hectic schedule. In such a case they not only have to spare extra time to talk to the patient’s family but also have to repeat information which can be mentally exhausting.

Hucu.ai Is HIPAA Compliant and Keeps Patient’s Family Updated in Real Time.

On the other hand, the patient’s family also goes through an emotionally charged time and stays worried wondering about their loved one in the hospital. It is natural for them to want to know what’s going on and if everything is alright.
There is a solution that tackles all of these problems through one platform: Hucu.ai.
Hucu.ai is a HIPAA compliant, person-centered text messaging application that brings together healthcare team members, patients, and family members in a digital room. When a family member is added to the patient’s “channel” in the application, they can receive live updates from the care team members about the patient’s condition. They can text back questions and concerns and receive answers any time of the day from any place.
It takes out the hassle of wondering, worrying, calling the hospital, and waiting for answers when the patient’s family member can simply receive text updates via Hucu.ai. It is also very helpful for the healthcare team members to effectively communicate with the patient’s family without taking extra time for phone calls. This leads to better patient care and family satisfaction.
For more information on how patients, families, and healthcare team members can use Hucu.ai, check out this page.
Sources of Information myallamericancare, wolterskluwer
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COVID-19: Effects of Isolation on Elderly People

As countries worldwide are affected by Covid-19, the elderly population is being told to self-isolate for a very long time. This is an attempt to shield the elderly and also to protect the overburdened health systems as the countries enforce curfews, lockdowns, and social isolation in order to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
However, it is a well-known fact that social isolation among the older populations is a serious public health concern because of their greater risk of autoimmune, cardiovascular, neurocognitive, and mental health problems. Santini and colleagues published a study and demonstrated that social disconnection puts older adults at a higher risk of anxiety and depression.
Online technologies can be harnessed to offer social support networks and a sense of belonging to the elder population. Interventions can simply involve more frequent telephone conversations with significant others, family, close friends, voluntary organizations or health-care professionals, or community outreach projects that provide peer support throughout the enforced isolation. Beyond these interventions, cognitive-behavioral therapies can be delivered online to reduce loneliness and improve mental well being in elderly people.

Hucu.ai facilitates remote care effectively.

It is true that isolating the elderly can reduce the transmission of the virus, and minimize the spread in high-risk groups. However, isolation strategies are increasingly difficult to maintain over time. Such mitigation measures have to be effective in preventing transmission and avoiding increasing morbidity of Covid-19 associated with affective disorders. This effect will be felt the most in more disadvantaged populations which should be the urgent target for the implementation of preventive strategies as discussed before.
There is also an online study named “PROTECT” going on by the University of Exeter and King’s College London which has recruited almost 25,000 people. The aim of the project is to help study the impact of Covid-19 isolation on the health and wellbeing of the elderly population and to find new methods of supporting them. This new arm of the NIHR-funded study will track the physical and mental health impacts of lockdown policies on the older people by putting together a questionnaire to seek the experiences of the cohort as a result of the forced isolation.
This investigation came after it was found that half of the adults above 55 years have experienced mental health problems even before the lockdown. Meanwhile, previous pandemics have resulted in a high rise of mental health issues like self-harm, suicide, alcoholism, and more. The ultimate goal of PROTECT’S study is to design new methods to support people through the lockdown and isolation phase which remains a harsh reality for many older people who are sheltering in place.

Hucu.ai’s Family Messaging feature lets senior residents stay in touch with loved ones.

Elderly people often face issues like financial insecurity and loneliness as they deal with major life changes which can increase the risk of mental illnesses. They also face barriers to access services. All of this is being worsened during the coronavirus pandemic around the world.
In the PROTECT study, researchers are questioning the cohort about their experience of self-isolation and the immediate impact on their mental health. It will have questions about their mental health during the pandemic, how many times they leave the house, the extent of isolation practices they are observing, their care responsibilities, and the level of loneliness they feel. This information will be used to identify future support interventions and methods.
The study includes a battery of cognitive tests that will allow the researchers to explore any impact on brain functions over the longer term. The study is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). Dr. Byron Creese, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Exeter said:
“Repurposing the PROTECT study means we can find out about the impacts of self-isolation on the mental health of people aged 50 and over, using a large-scale long-term study. It’s critical that people stay at home and follow government guidance, and by joining PROTECT, you could help us understand the wider impacts of doing this. Weeks or months of adhering to isolation policy could have a really significant impact on the mental health and wellbeing of older people, particularly on top of the loneliness and isolation that some older adults already experience. Over the longer term, we will also be able to tell if these policies have any impact on memory, and whether these policies have any impact on mental health.
Our Protect study provides us with a unique opportunity to explore in depth the consequences of social isolation on mental health and well-being. We will also explore whether certain coping mechanisms are more efficient than others to maintain mental health and wellbeing. This will provide a window into potential interventions to help elderly people facing social consequence.”
Clive Ballard, Professor of Age-Related Diseases at the University of Exeter Medical School, said that previous pandemics have taught us that these situations can have a significant impact on mental health. During SARS, we saw a 30 per cent increase in suicide, and a rise in self-harm and alcoholism. Older people currently have to endure unprecedented periods of isolation in order to protect themselves, and we urgently need to develop new ways to support their mental health through this period.

Is Isolation only Affecting the Older Generation?

Well, the older generation is more at risk of developing mental illnesses, cognitive decline and other problems because of the age and pre-existing conditions. However, it is also true that isolation will affect all people at some level.
In the article Health Effects of Social Isolation and Loneliness by Clifford Singer, MD, it is discussed how we are a social species and we need social interaction to survive. Humans have social networks (families, tribes, communities, etc.) that enable us to survive and thrive. Our survival was served by the evolutionary development of behaviors and physiologic mechanisms (neural, hormonal, cellular, genetic) that support social interactions (Cacioppo et al., 2011). But as with all human traits, there is also variation in our social behaviors and needs. The fact is, most of us are psychologically and biologically “programmed” to need social networks. It is logical that social isolation may impose stress on our minds and bodies that have a significant impact on health.
While many adults are more proficient at using digital resources to stay in contact with friends and family,older people may not have as many resources, so it affects them much more.
Thus, urgent actions are required to mitigate the mental and physical health challenges that will result from instructing the elderly people to remain at home, have groceries and medicines delivered, and to avoid all forms of physical social contact with family and friends.
Self-isolation will disproportionately affect elderly individuals who go out of home for social contacts such as going to daycare venues, places of worship, or community centers. Those who do not have close family and friends, and rely on the support of voluntary services or social care can be placed at additional risk, along with those who are already isolated, lonely or secluded.
It would be interesting to note how governments tackle this problem with different support programs while sticking with the isolation policy for elderly people.
Sources of information: cdc.gov/aging, exeter.ac.uk, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
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Three Ways Your Team is Violating HIPAA With Cell Phone and How to Prevent Them

Everyone uses their cell phones in one way or the other in medical practice. Statistics show that about 10 years ago, 84% of physicians admitted to using a cell phone in their practice. The number has increased now. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has been targeting healthcare organizations that have poor HIPAA policies. Using cell phones provides a lot of conveniences but they also pose a huge risk when it comes to HIPAA. Here are three very common ways medical team members may be violating HIPAA when using cell phones and how they can prevent that from happening.

Violation 1: Text Messaging

Text messaging can be quite useful, but it is a potential HIPAA violation. Consider a scenario in which a health practitioner is texting his colleague about a certain patient and the content of the message includes protected health information. That would be a direct HIPAA violation because most cell phone messages are not ‘encrypted’. Also, the medical practitioner will be violating other facets of HIPAA compliance such as data integrity, auditing, access control, and others. Read more on HIPAA Text Messaging Policy here.

How to avoid this HIPAA violation?

It is important not to text content that includes PHI to anyone using non-encrypted messaging applications. Likewise, phones that are used must have password protection so that PHI is not accessible. The solution is to find a medical communications app that takes care of this aspect of HIPAA compliance like Hucu.ai
Hucu.ai is a FREE person-centered messaging network with real-time patient health & staff attrition risk reporting. Innovative post-acute care physician groups and skilled nursing operators are downloading the mobile app (available both in iOS and Android) and improving communication and collaboration immediately. Hucu.ai helps solve key healthcare problems that cause inefficiency and frustration for everyone involved in a value-based care model. For many health practitioners, it is more and more difficult to manage non-HIPAA compliant fragmented communication using outdated 1-1 methods (phone, fax, paper, email, and text) with no accountability. To know more, check out this blog.

Hucu.ai is a complete HIPAA Compliant messaging app

Violation 2: Your Camera Roll

It is easy to consider everyday scenarios in a hospital where one health practitioner could ask his colleague to send them a picture of a patient’s rash, ECG, or even an x-ray. Pictures can also be taken from a cell phone to upload into the EHR because that is quicker, easier and convenient. But is it HIPAA compliant? Probably not! Cell phones do not have photo applications that comply with HIPAA and since images related to a patient’s medical information qualify as PHI, not protecting them properly would be a direct HIPAA violation.

How to avoid this HIPAA Violation?

It is important not to take images if they qualify any of the 18 HIPAA Safe Harbor rules for example, image of a patient in which they can be recognized. If there is a situation in which you need to take such pictures, a medical team member can do that through an app that was designed with HIPAA technical safeguards in place. Again, Hucu.ai is an app that is developed keeping this in mind. When a health practitioner takes images with Hucu.ai, they do not get stored in the ‘photo gallery’ of the mobile. Images remain in the secure ‘cloud’ storage of Hucu.ai’s application that is encrypted. Images also get shared only within the Hucu.ai application which is HIPAA compliant. So you can take pictures, share them in cases of emergencies and get consultation without worrying about breaking a HIPAA rule.

Violation 3: Your Contact List

It is normal for doctors to add patients to their contact list so that they can reach out to them later on and discuss their cases or for any other possible reason. However, that can let social media apps pick this information up which can be a red flag. When a doctor stores patients in their contact list, it is necessary to ban phone applications from accessing that list. Most people don’t know this but applications can leverage phone book to improve your social network. Once these applications have the access to a phone, the social applications may recognize a patient contact as “friend of a friend” of another of your patients, simply because they share the common connection with you. This can lead to these social media applications “recommending” your patients to each other as new connections to make. If one patient can recognize the other one from your waiting room then PHI is leaked and that’s a HIPAA violation. Here is a real example of such a scenario that happened to at least one psychiatrist!

Hucu.ai encrypts all messages for security

How to avoid this HIPAA Violation?

You can only store patient contacts within secure communication apps that were designed with HIPAA in mind or you will have to ban every application on your phone from accessing your phone book. That is a big hassle! It’s for exactly these reasons that we developed Hucu.ai to make communication easy and secure for healthcare practitioners. With Hucu.ai you can chat, speak, and video call with your medical team members without having to store their contact numbers in your phone.
Hucu.ai makes communication super easy, safe and secure. It is easy to install and use within 10 minutes.
To know about HIPAA Violations, read this blog.
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Case Study About Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging

Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging is a 501(c)3 non-profit in central Pennsylvania that supports the maximum independence of older adults . The Agency provides services which range from home delivered meals to home healthcare clinics for the older adults in Clearfield County. Their comprehensive array of services enhances the quality of life of older adults through coordinated community partnerships and initiatives that support and educate members in the community.

Challenges

Reduce preventable hospitalizations, placements, and other negative consumer outcomes

With only 10 case managers and over 1,000 older adults in need of active attention Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging was looking to find a solution for analytics and increased communication. Prioritization of cases was difficult and case managers were spending too much time trying to keep track of each consumer.

Increase communication internally and with outside partners

Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging’s quality of service depends on solid communication and coordination with their multiple contracted service partners. To provide the level of transparency and oversight that keeps their team engaged requires a communication solution that works on any device in real time. Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging’s staff and partners keep each other up to date as patient conditions change.

Assuring secure communications of confidential documents and information

Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging’s case managers are highly trusted partners to their consumers. They need to have the ability to share sensitive information with other team members to assure seamless service and continuity of care. The ability to easily and securely share documentation, care plans, and other information is critical to the quality service they provide.
“Hucu.ai is providing us with data to support our funding requests and to identify those at greatest risk.” – Kathy, CEO

Solution

Manage Consumer Risk in Real Time

With the implementation of Hucu.ai, Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging is better equipped at pinpointing older adults most in need of service through data driven solutions. The consumer journey map tracks the history of each individual adult and the services and care they have received. Plus, real time acuity scores are built from custom acuity scores from evidence-based assessments. This allows the agency to better manage intensive caseload and develop person-centered interventions.

Consumer-Centered Messaging + Patient Family Communication

Rather than sorting through streams of 1-1 silo messages (phone calls, texts, emails, etc.), Hucu.ai provides easy to access patient centered messaging channels. Now instead of sending or making 5 communication attempts with 5 different media, the entire team communicates with timely information in the context of each consumer. Each consumer’s collaborating team can coordinate in real time. Separate patient family channels keep family members in different geographic locations on the same page.

Easy Texting and More –Practical Sharing

Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging’s staff and partners back each other up to assure that consumers always have the support they need. Hucu.ai gives them the ability to share care plans, provide necessary updates and share photos securely without using any phone storage. Everything is securely saved in the cloud in organized channels.

Affordable, Responsive and Easy to Work With

Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging needed a solution that fit their service model so they can meet the challenges of managing numerous older adults. Hucu.ai has been responsive to their needs to support their business goals by developing new features such as real time acuity scores and risk stratification flags.

Improved Reporting on Outcome Measures

Hucu.ai’s flag reporting enhances data collection. This allows Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging to capture SDOH factors and clearly demonstrate the efficiency and quality of services their network provides to older adults in their community. Hucu.ai also provides reports that track partner performance level, effectively keeping all partners accountable.
“We have better access to consumer experience data and are able to manage our team more proactively.” – Ethen, COO

RESULTS

Saved Time

Better client information sharing improves communication and enables continuity of care.

Teams on The Same Page

The right team members and contracted service partners are now included in every communication. This improves collaboration and oversight among teams.

Ability to Identify Risk

Insightful analytics that highlight risks for interventions that support maximum independence.

Hucu.ai Presents Unique Person-Centered Solution for AAAs at the N4A Conference (Virtually from July 19-22, 2021)

Hucu.ai is supporting virtual gathering of leading Area Agencies on Aging by providing person centered secure texting along with real-time acuity scoring tools

#HCBC #careteamcommunication #notforprofitexcellence #healthyaging

The Annual Conference and Tradeshow of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging is the USA’s biggest event and gathering of local leaders in aging services. Every year, the n4a Annual Conference and Tradeshow brings together local professionals, government experts, business leaders, policymakers with other Aging Network practitioners so that they can share their expertise, knowledge, and new inventions or directions in the field of aging. The agencies have various funding sources and are #notforprofitexcellence.

This year, the n4a Conference and Tradeshow will be held virtually to provide peer-to-peer learning, insight into federal policy and national trends that affect local communities. The Conference will offer different formats to discuss innovative approaches, hot topics, and current issues in aging including development opportunities.

A little Background on “Aging” in the USA

By 2030, it is expected that more than 70 million Americans will be 65 and older. 90% of the adults 65 and older hope to stay in their homes as long as they can and experience #healthyaging. However, this also means that these aging people will require some level of service and support to live safely and successfully in their homes and communities.

Hucu.ai facilitates effective team communication in Healthcare

The Older Americans Act (OAA) was created in 1965 for those aged 60 and older with the mission to assist older adults in different facets such as income, healthcare, housing and more so that they can retire and live their remaining days in health, honor and dignity. Currently, there are 622 Area Agencies on Agency (AAA) in the USA assisting older people to fulfill OAA’s mission. The AAAs play a key role in planning, developing, coordinating, and delivering a wide range of long-term services and support to elder consumers under their areas.

Challenges in Healthcare Faced by the Aging Community and AAAs

The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically affected the lives of older people and how they live in their communities. Since their movements were naturally restricted, they needed in-home assistance more than ever. AAA in the USA saw a 70% rise in support and services required by their existing clients in areas of healthcare, nutrition, and referral/assistance. Due to COVID-19, AAAs have been adapting some programs to an online format including caregiver programs, evidence-based health and wellness classes, general wellness programming.

AAAs are also facing challenges and need technological solutions to provide direct assistance on telehealth to clients and to have agency staff work remotely longer-term. Hucu.ai can help in these areas and for #carecoordination.

“Hucu.ai assists Area Agencies on Aging in reaching consumers with person centered communication. Plus,with real time acuity scoring built in, AAAs deliver efficient and effective care,” said Hucu.ai Founder and Chairman Asif Khan.

Hucu.ai is participating in the Conference and rolling out its AAA services to achieve OAA’s mission and to help AAA adapt to their changing environment with its unique capabilities that are built to address the very issues faced by AAAs. With an easy to use, HIPAA compliant text messaging application, Hucu.ai can be used by AAA to:

Manage Consumer Risk in Real-time.

Hucu.ai can highlight risks for interventions that support maximum independence. With the real-time acuity score feature, AAA can standardize separate assessment scores allowing them to better manage intensive caseload. Collaborators can also highlight older adults at greater risk and prioritize them through risk stratification. The availability of consumer journey maps means that AAA can track the history of each adult patient and the services/care they have received.

Improve Transparency and Oversight Among Teams and Partners

Hucu.ai provides network performance visibility to improve the quality and efficiency of the service delivery network. There is greater accountability of results with partner reporting and reduced communication errors. The real-time messaging capability ensures that delays in #careteamcommunication are reduced. AAAs can create better and stronger connections with skilled nursing and hospital teams by allowing them to plan, schedule and share relevant documents in real-time.

Increase Supporting Staff Satisfaction Virtually and Reduce Employee Turnover

Hucu.ai provides easy communication and recognition for staff, partner employees and volunteers. All communication is centralized and teams can gain visibility with the app’s “Honor Points” feature that allows for recognition and appreciation of staff members who manage a greater load of challenging cases. Hucu.ai is an efficient and effective messaging communication app that reduces the reliability on phone answering services, phone tag and missed connections. These help the staff feel more involved at the right time.

Extend Consumer-Centered Reach with Tech-enabled Services

Hucu.ai can increase access to services remotely. Providers and facility staff can tag each other and receive timely notifications. A patient’s family member can also be added in separate conversations, keeping them updated about the care progress for ease of mind. Hucu.ai alone can replace 5 traditional silo communication tools like fax, emails, text, phone, voicemail, making it super easy for staff members, patients, and family members to come together in one platform to achieve better patient outcomes.

To read more details about Hucu.ai’s services for AAA, click here.

The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) is a 501(c)(3) membership association representing America’s national network of 622 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and providing a voice in the nation’s capital for the more than 250 Title VI Native American aging programs.

Whether it is helping Washington set priorities, building the capacity of our members, raising the visibility of AAAs and Title VI programs nationwide, offering training and educational events, or working to drive excellence in the fields of Information & Referral/Assistance, transportation, livable communities and volunteerism, n4a is dedicated to supporting the success of its members.

About Hucu.ai:

Hucu.ai’s mobile/web apps allow for easy messaging among teams within an organization, with outside organizations, and with consumers & families (via a separate messaging mode) – all in person centered context. Hucu.ai is affordable, requires NO IT staff, launches in minutes, and provides deep care coordination analytics.

Schedule an appointment if you want to join the conference

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Patient-Centered Care: Principles and Importance

Patient-centered care is also called client-centered care and it is a ‘patient-centric approach to medicine and healthcare along with its processes. Patient-centered care is a philosophy on how the patients, providers, or other participants view the process of their healing and treatment.
Patient-centered care is defined as the act of “providing care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, values, needs and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions”. Patient-centered care prizes transparency, empathy, and empowerment.
The increase of patient-centered care means that healthcare systems are becoming more optimized in prioritizing comfort and care of the patients, their families and communities. It would not be wrong to say that patient-centered care is also a new outlook of healthcare. However, there are some consistent core ideas and principles that guide this new style of healthcare. On behalf of Picker Institute and The Commonwealth Fund, researchers from Harvard Medical School have recognized the following principles of patient-centered care.

1. Respecting Patients’ Preferences

At every phase of the care, patients must be given all the information that is needed to make informed decisions about their healthcare. A patient’s personal preference has to be considered when deciding upon the care plan. All caregiving members must be involved and on the same page, working toward the same goal.

2. Offering Personalized Care and Treatment

This principle requires a provider to understand that what works for one patient may not work for another. A standardized approach can negatively affect how quickly a patient can recover. A customized care service according to the condition of each patient can make them feel more empowered and help them recover faster when they will feel that their wants and needs are being met.

3. Physical Comfort

Physical comfort is really important and can help a patient put himself at ease especially when he is summoning the courage to go through a treatment process that can feel painful, scary, and difficult. Providers have to ensure that the patient’s environment is helping him and that he should feel comfortable and safe.

Hucu.ai Provides Access to Care Remotely

4. Emotional Support

Healthcare treatments can take a toll on a patient’s body as well as on his mind. When it comes to patient-centered care, it must be kept in mind that a patient is a whole person who needs a human connection and personalized support to keep up his optimism.

5. Involving Family and Friends

Patient-centered care encourages patients and their family members or loved ones to stay connected to feel optimistic, well cared for – both of which are crucial in recovering faster. Practitioners should involve important people from the patient’s life for the kind of personal support which only they can offer.

6. Access to Care

As much as it is possible, patients should have access to the care they conveniently need at all times so that it reduces the stress in their healthcare routine. Access to care should be simple, like being able to schedule appointments and talk to the healthcare provider.
This is where telehealth like Hucu.ai can make a big difference. Hucu.ai offers patient-centered HIPAA compliant messaging, optimized for those caring for seniors. We make it easy for healthcare teams within and across organizations to stay connected. Hucu.ai is streamlining patient-centered medical care and transition communication. Both Fee for Service and Value Based Care organizations use Hucu.ai to help reduce preventable hospitalizations while improving care coordination and healthcare collaboration.
Practice groups providing on site care for some of the highest risk patients in nursing homes (SNFs) now have the ability to bring teams together via Hucu.ai. Your distributed virtual workforce forms a cohesive and inclusive culture while delivering optimal patient-centered care. All supported by the right messaging infrastructure.

Why is Patient Centered Care so Important?

The increasing demand of healthcare can cause caregivers to focus less on the person they are treating and more on the treatment itself. This is why person-centered care is important because it helps the caregivers to shift their focus on fulfilling the patient’s needs beyond their ailment. This way the patient feels wholly cared for as a human being. Person-centered care is important for patients for various reasons that are also important for healthcare providers.

They will feel more comfortable in your service

Because supporting a patient’s independence and upholding his dignity builds mutual respect, the patient will trust the provider and it will make it easier for the healthcare provider to treat the patient.

Hucu.ai Can Optimize Patient-Centered Care and Improve Communication

Patients are more likely to stick to treatment plans

When patients feel respected, engaged and in control, they will stick to their treatment plans and that in turn lessens the burden on healthcare providers to keep a check on the patients.

Hospitals in the US are extremely strained

When a patient is more informed about his condition, they would be more confident in approaching their ailment and avoid unnecessary hospitalization.

It motivates patients to stick with positive health behaviors

It helps them manage their own health. This is particularly important for people with long-term conditions, who rely on healthcare services.

It is time and cost-effective

Personalized care ensures patients receive medication that they are more likely to take on time. The provider will be spending time and money on what patients actually need.
To know more on how healthcare organizations implement patient-centered care, check out this blog.
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How Can Healthcare Organizations Implement Patient-Centered Care?

Implement Patient-Centered Care

Visiting hospitals can be an intimidating experience. As a result, virtually every hospital is giving priority to delivering quality patient-cared care and support today. By doing so, they go beyond paying attention to each individual’s unique health requirements. Physicians must set their minds and culture to thinking of their patients as people versus just as their diagnoses or complaints. 

They also consider the physical, mental, emotional, social, and mental health aspects of that person’s well-being to achieve optimal health outcomes. It is a holistic approach that calls for active participation and collaborative decision-making from both patients and care teams.

Hucu.ai facilitates effective team communication in Healthcare

So, how does it work? Practitioners begin with anticipating the fear, anxiety, or frustration that patients may experience when receiving care. They put their patients at the forefront of everything they do and reassure them at every stage to maximize comfort levels. Now, with smart technology and modern information delivery tools becoming increasingly accessible, the possibilities of providing end-to-end care as well as treatment are virtually endless. Examples include telehealth, digital appointment scheduling apps, virtual check-ins, and patient portals that are emerging as key technologies in the healthcare industry. These are all about delivering great experiences.

For instance, imagine a situation in which patients become worried when they cannot connect with anyone from a hospital from a phone. Or, what about having to wait for doctors in the exam room when they want immediate attention? This is where digital healthcare solutions streamline processes and expedite the amount of time it takes for physicians to see their patients or communicate with them. 

Here is the question: How can healthcare organizations implement patient-centered care to achieve higher rates of patient engagement and satisfaction? Let’s find out next. 

Develop Meaningful Relationships

Building and nurturing a patient-provider relationship is an important part of patient-centered care. Clinicians must gain their patients’ trust and utilize a shared-decision making model so that everyone can work together to achieve the desired outcomes. This includes practicing empathy and active listening, being mindful of past medical history (PMH), treating patients with respect and dignity, and demonstrating sensitivity to their cultural values. Simply encouraging patients to share their feelings and talk about their families, hobbies, or interests helps them feel at ease. Doing so communicates your desire to know more about them as a person and not only a patient. Also, let’s not forget the importance of keeping one’s word and meeting expectations to build rapport with patients.

Alleviate Fear & Anxiety

Medical practices often involve patients who are fearful of the unknown, of being humiliated, and of being helpless or vulnerable. Caregivers should focus on patient anxiety over physical disability, prognosis, the emotional impact of illness on themselves and their family, as well as the financial impact of their treatment. This means exploring a patient’s fear of being unable to pay high medical fees, dealing with a disappointing clinical outcome, and having to stay in a hospital environment. 

To address all these, health specialists should promote a culture of collaboration and open communication where patients participate in the care delivery process. This will enable practitioners to personalize care plans and strategies that align with patient needs, preferences, as well as lifestyles. For instance, traditionally, nurses specializing in treating overweight patients with diabetes would simply hand over meal plans and exercise regimen without consulting first. 

They would then tell their patients the changes they must make and why. In a patient-centered approach, both sides brainstorm and identify activities that match patient lifestyles. This builds a positive relationship, enables more informed decision-making, and better supports health goals as patients are more likely to follow their healthcare provider’s recommendations.

Offer End-To-End Services

Successful healthcare institutions adopt several approaches to delivering patient-centered care that works in the best interests of both parties. Doctors and nurses should make hourly rounds to conduct a range of duties. These include checking on patients, administering pain medicines, performing therapies, addressing bathroom needs, positioning them comfortably in bed, and ensuring that personal belongings are within reach. 

On admission, patients must receive a file with important information that will be of use when they leave, such as symptoms to look out for, duration of medications, etc. Nurses should make post-discharge phone calls to check on the status of patients and offer self-care instructions. 

It is also necessary to implement bedside shift reports in the presence of the patient and their family so they can ask questions, verify information, and clarify any concerns. Care boards in patient rooms must list data including new and existing medications, tests, and methods of contacting practitioners. Last but not least, hospitals have to benchmark standards of performance for staff to follow. These consist of responding proactively to patients and understanding how to address complaints or concerns as well as emergency situations. 

Offer End-To-End Services

Technological advancements contribute to the success of patient-clinician relationships. Younger patients, in particular, are open to embracing technology as an integral part of their medical care. Tools to improve patient-centered communication include mobile apps, online portals, and dictation software that reduces the time physicians spend on documenting and communicating, freeing them up for face-to-face interactions with patients. 

With remote monitoring tools, patients can monitor their health at home and minimize unnecessary visits to the doctor’s office. This is a convenient alternative for patients with chronic illnesses as systems can monitor their health from a safe distance while remote health centers receive all the data. Telehealth is another effective method of progressing in healthcare through the use of digital communication and information technology. It is especially helpful for patients requiring timely access to health-related services in remote locations. They can easily use their PCs or smartphones to meet virtually with doctors and save the money they would otherwise spend on commuting. This is where Hucu.ai comes in as a leading, easy-to-use, and intuitive healthcare solution. 

Essentially, Hucu.ai is a free, secure, and encrypted HIPAA compliant texting app designed to deliver communications to patients, their families, and approved collaborators in a given moment remotely. It eliminates the red-tape associated with managing phone tags, voicemails, texts, and missed connections, allowing healthcare practitioners to focus on what they do best: provide care. Hucu.ai also integrates features that help healthcare organizations and patients coordinate for COVID-related services, including automating test results notifications, coordinating patient-care remotely, and more. 

To learn more about what Hucu.ai can do for you and how it tackles healthcare-related communication challenges, get in touch with our team. Or, sign up now to get started immediately!

 

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Benefits of Secure Communication in Healthcare

secure texting healthcare

From the debate over smartphones to ongoing concerns about corporate data breaches, information security is something that touches every entity from government officials to corporate CEOs to consumers. However, it is of utmost concern when it comes to healthcare. 

The very sensitive nature of personal health information along with the imperative for constant, easy and mobile communication among healthcare professionals and organizations is presenting a unique challenge for the entire industry. Add in healthcare information privacy laws and other regulations, and it all gets even more complex.

In today’s healthcare industry, outdated and low-security methods of communication are not cutting it anymore. Hospitals, physicians and insurance facilities are adopting different secure messaging apps for healthcare internal needs. Such applications are modeled after the simplicity of consumer instant messaging solutions and are built to be HIPAA compliant. This means that the medical staff can share important, sensitive patient information without the risk of data theft, security breaches and regulatory noncompliance.

Many healthcare professionals and organizations are using HIPAA-compliant text messaging solutions. These applications are a great help for doctors, nurses and other hospital staff in streamlining the efficiency of their patient care. The apps also help them improve workflows; minimize interruptions and many other benefits. In addition, a single dedicated communications platform can help the staff communicate with each other more effectively, and quickly outside of work while still being HIPAA compliant and avoiding steep fines.

To avoid data breaches, companies are employing strategies for keeping data as secure as possible and a top priority. Healthcare data breaches have been steadily increasing in frequency and severity since 2010, according to HealthITSecurity. Breaches can be damaging in many ways, impacting patient care as well as the bottom line. An annual study by the Ponemon Institute and ID Experts found that the average cost of a data breach for a healthcare provider is around $2.2 million and $1 million for a business associate. Overall, healthcare data breaches have cost the industry about $6.2 billion.

Those surveyed for the study attributed the rise in healthcare data breaches to “the sensitivity of health-related information and the large number of ‘data touch’ points, such as different healthcare employees or third parties accessing patient information.” The study revealed that almost 70 percent of providers believe that the healthcare industry is at a greater risk for data security incidents than any other industry.

So how can sensitive patient data be protected in such an environment? A key aspect of data security is encryption. Used in concert with administrative policies addressing authentication, data retention and HIPAA business associate agreements, encryption can be a powerful tool for shielding data. But what exactly is it, and how can it be implemented?

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, encryption is the “conversion of plaintext to ciphertext through the use of a cryptographic algorithm. The process involves “combining the contents of a message (‘plaintext’) with a secret password (the encryption ‘key’) in such a way that scrambles the content into a totally new form (‘ciphertext’) that is unintelligible to unauthorized users.

Hucu.ai is a HIPAA compliant, free text messaging application for the healthcare industry that uses encryption technology for secure communication. We at Hucu know that hospitals, physician practices and healthcare organizations need to manage tasks swiftly and efficiently. So we created an entirely HIPAA-compliant, secure, user-friendly messaging solution that enhances internal communications.

In a nutshell, our enterprise-grade platform allows you to send attachments and multimedia files to colleagues so you can share whatever you need, when you need it. Our secure messaging app is BYOD-enabled, saving your organization thousands in equipment and hardware costs.

Three Reasons To Make the Switch to a Secure Messaging App like Hucu.ai

Healthcare organizations thrive on efficiency. With thousands of patients to serve, an organization can’t afford to have a lax communication strategy that would slow down processes. So why slow things down with antiquated pages and PA systems? The best Secure Messaging App in Healthcare like Hucu allows your hospital, practice or healthcare office to run at its maximum efficiency, while simultaneously delivering tangible benefits to your organization:

Increase the Security and Efficiency of Internal Communication With Hucu

Total Compliance: HIPAA mandates were amended to include the use of instant messaging technology. Hospitals and healthcare organizations that don’t comply face a $50,000 fine for a single infraction, and up to $1.5 million for repeated violations. A secure messaging app like Hucu is built with HIPAA compliance in mind, saving your organization lofty non-compliance fees.

Increased Productivity: It’s impossible to share patient information efficiently when relying on slow computers and pagers. Secure instant messaging apps like Hucu allows doctors, nurses and office personnel, even across organizations with different EHRs, to share sensitive information like patient X-rays, prescribed medications, chart and more. Hucu is a solution that deploys high-grade encryption that safely guards electronic protected health information (ePHI) during transmission.

Cost-Efficiency: Outfitting your organization with multiple devices can get expensive fast. When you implement a secure messaging app like Hucu, employees can download it directly to their personal mobile device. To guarantee everyone on staff has unhindered access to the messaging platform, Hucu is the perfect solution that is Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) enabled, and is compatible with both iOS and Android operating systems.

Three Ways a Secure Messaging App Can Help Medical Staff Improve Patient Outcomes

Apart from the three reasons why you should switch to a secure messaging application right away, there are three more ways that secure messaging can actually help you improve patient outcomes. These are the three most important benefits of secure messaging

 Increased efficiency for better patient care: a 2014 study by the Ponemon Institute showed that a lack of real-time, asynchronous communication methods had a dramatic impact on the efficiency of hospital workforces. Time was wasted during 3 of the most critical patient workflows – emergency response, admissions, and transfers. It was found that this inefficiency cost the hospital more than $1.7 million yearly.

But by applying real-time messaging services, this hospital reduced the amount of time spent on their 3 critical workflows by 57% – thereby saving money and more importantly saving time, thus allowing providers to spend more time caring for patients and driving better patient outcomes.

Fewer errors: many hospital communication structures can lead to interruptions – and errors. Pages and phone conversations often require a task to be interrupted, and errors caused by interruptions are one of the leading causes of death in clinical settings. A dedicated messaging app like Hucu provides clear, focused, real-time communication – but eliminates the need for an immediate response by giving an option. This allows doctors, nurses, and staff to communicate more effectively, but avoid interruptions that could lead to potentially life-threatening errors.

Shorter hospital stays: a study conducted in Philadelphia showed that secure messaging applications allowed hospitals to treat patients more effectively, and reduce the overall time they stayed in the hospital by around 14%. This means that hospitals can provide better patient outcomes, save money on their bottom line, and free up more beds for patients who are in need.

These 3 benefits alone can result in huge cost-savings, massively increased hospital capacity, and a better overall level of patient care.

If you’re interested in the benefits of a secure, HIPAA compliant secure messaging system, Hucu.ai is a perfect choice. We provide rapid, secure, documented text-based communication to hospitals, and our cloud-based technology ensures that you always have access to our services when you need them the most. We help you gain all the benefits of secure communication in healthcare while increasing your processes efficiency. 

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Importance and Benefits of Collaboration in Healthcare

Let’s explore these questions and find out how Hucu.ai can become the much-needed bridge in the gap of healthcare communication. Hucu.ai is a HIPAA compliant free text messaging application that makes communication and collaboration between healthcare professionals, patients, and families seamless.

What Is Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare?

The World Health Organization explains it as “multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds work[ing] together with patients, families, carers (caregivers), and communities to deliver the highest quality of care.”
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation talks about the inherent power struggles and necessary culture changes in its definition of interprofessional collaboration in healthcare:
“Effective interprofessional collaboration promotes the active participation of each discipline in patient care, where all disciplines are working together and fully engaging patients and those who support them, and leadership on the team adapts based on patient needs … It fosters respect for the disciplinary contributions of all professionals.”
Interprofessional collaboration in healthcare is not a new concept. Back in 1972, the Institute of Medicine called for team-based patient care as a way to improve patient outcomes and safety. The idea became a trending topic in 2009 and since then the World Health Organization has stressed the need for interprofessional education as a way to improve the quality of care for patients and global health populations.

What Are The Benefits of Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare and Why Should It be a Priority for Organizations?

Interprofessional collaboration in healthcare is important because when healthcare organizations have a collaborative culture, they want to implement communication tools to support that culture so that they can take advantage of the following.

1. Improved Patient Care and Outcomes

For critical cases, a lot of doctors from different specialities come together to share their valuable insights about the patient. All of them will notice different symptoms and consider various possibilities. Together, they can have a more comprehensive understanding of the patient’s condition. However, these people are rarely in the same room. And they do not have a way to communicate in real-time.
To bridge that communication gap, the hospital needs to have a hospital communication technology like Hucu.ai in place. Hucu.ai allows the care teams to communicate and collaborate seamlessly and securely on the go or at the point of care through text and even video. Healthcare professionals can collaborate about a specific patient in a channel in which only relevant staff members can be ‘invited to join in’. Care teams can share their observations at each round and update the whole channel so that the next doctor can have those perspectives in mind when checking out the patient. It will improve the quality of care immensely.

Reduce Medical Errors and Save Hospital Costs Through Better Communication Via Hucu.

2. Reduced Medical Errors

Gap in communication in healthcare can lead to misdiagnosis, delayed medication – all of which are costly consequences. . According to Johns Hopkins, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S and such errors can cause 250,000 deaths each year.
EHR notes help but clinical communication is more important. This means having a group discussion in which all staff members give information for the nurses to treat their patients properly. Studies have shown that interprofessional collaboration in healthcare can help reduce preventable adverse drug reactions and decrease death rates.
Hucu.ai is a single platform for interprofessional collaboration so that healthcare professionals can keep each other updated with patient’s developments so that chances of errors can be reduced. When a nurse can contact the primary doctor any time in an emergency on Hucu.ai, she is more likely to not make a decision on her own that could be risky for the patient.

3. Faster Treatment

Much of healthcare can include a lot of waiting for example, patients waiting for physicians who in turn are waiting for their colleagues to get back to them with their advice and consultations. When such communication delays take place, valuable time is lost and a patient’s condition can worsen.
Again, Hucu.ai can bridge these interprofessional collaboration gaps with its communication technology and specific features. Hucu.ai can keep care team members connected so that they can reach out to the physician who has not entered notes into the EHR. Hucu.ai can allow healthcare professionals to tag urgent messages and notifications which means that care team members can receive a text as soon as lab results are in.

4. Improved Staff Relationships

Every health profession has its own culture and philosophy. When organizations add power structures, some members are able to speak more than others. That is not favourable to the patient or for the staff morale.
Interprofessional collaboration evens this out for everyone and acknowledges that everyone is playing a vital role on the care team. The sense of community can boost staff retention and recruitment. Hucu.ai has an exclusive feature to highlight star performers and to recognize a team members’ effort through “Hucu Honor Points”. This helps highlight hard-working staff members and create transparency in their recognition.

Increase Care Team Morale and Retention Through Hucu Honor Points.

Supporting Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare With a Mobile Solution

Employees in most industries are connected to each other through communication platforms. All they need is a smartphone. However, healthcare workers don’t have this experience at their work. This is because their employers have not invested in a HIPAA compliant communication platform which makes them rely on outdated technology like landlines, pagers, and fax machines. Hucu.ai is a FREE HIPAA Compliant text messaging application that hospitals can use to solve communication problems.
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Hucu is Solving Healthcare Communication Problems On Three Fronts

secure texting healthcare, hucu.ai
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 y 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 is one of the best Healthcare Communication Solutions that 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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