SeamlessMD Podcast – Episode 27 – Top 7 Digital Patient Engagement Myths



In this episode of the SeamlessMD Podcast, Dr. Joshua Liu, CEO of SeamlessMD & Marketing colleague, Alan Sardana, discuss the Top 7 Digital Patient Engagement Myths. See the full show notes below for details.

Guest(s): Dr. Joshua Liu (@joshuapliu), Co-founder & CEO at SeamlessMD

Episode 27 – Show notes:

[0:07] Dr. Liu shares how Telemedicine, Virtual Care, and Digital Patient Engagement are often used interchangeably due to the lack of a universally consistent framework of definition;

[1:00] Myth #1: “Digital patient engagement is synonymous with telemedicine and virtual care”

Telemedicine is the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology. In other words, telemedicine is using telecommunications technology to replace an in-person occurrence between a patient and provider;

Virtual care is a larger umbrella term that encompasses all the ways healthcare providers remotely interact with their patients. In addition to treating patients via telemedicine, providers may use live video, audio, and instant messaging to communicate with their patients remotely;

Digital patient engagement interacts with patients by guiding them between visits (in-person or via telemedicine) using automated, pre-programmed education and instructions based on their particular intervention;

[9:00] Myth #2: “Digital patient engagement is pointless because of video visits”

Video visits are the “low-hanging fruit” of telemedicine & virtual care as they replace an existing workflow (in-person visit);

Digital patient engagement screens patients in the background, determining whether a video visit is necessary, optimizing the workflow;

Thus, an optimized, digital workflow would have both;

[12:26] Myth #3: “Digital patient engagement is only for young patients”

This myth stems from underestimating the technological prowess of senior citizens and fails to recognize how Digital Patient Engagement platforms such as SeamlessMD use a multi-channel  (SMS, Email, App) approach that bypasses common communication barriers that older generations may experience;

[17:31] Myth #4: “My EHR/EMR can do this already”

This myth is similar to saying “we have Microsoft Word so we don’t need Excel”;

Patient portals carry out other useful functions such as displaying lab results, but lack the algorithmic functions and comprehensive content needed for complex patient engagement;

Further, leading EHRs like Epic and Cerner recognized this gap and now recommend integrating SeamlessMD with their patient portals. See SeamlessMD’s listing on the Epic App Orchard and on Cerner CODE;

[22:25] Myth #5: “A person can do exactly what digital patient engagement does”

This myth is technically true, but not scalable. SeamlessMD serves not only as a non-labor-intensive alternative on a more regular occurrence, but also a more efficient data collector and compiler;

To perform the same functions as Digital Patient Engagement, an in-person auditor would need to:

  • Follow & guide each patient 24/7;
  • Send personalized messages, education & reminders based on the stage a patient is at (e.g. pre-op, post-op) as well as their unique profile (e.g. comorbidities);
  • Collect PROs, patient compliance & post-op symptoms;
  • Send self-management education based on the patient’s symptoms and activity;
  • Create graphs and charts mapping the patient’s progress and to display signs of complication;
  • Display population trends for each PRO data point (e.g. pain scores across the population, opioid use after discharge, mobilization compliance post-op day 1-30, etc.);
  • Combine each patient’s real-time activity with the population medical history data to produce real-time readmission predictions;

[31:14] Myth #6: “It’s easy for us (a medical institution) to go out and build our own app for digital patient engagement”

Anyone can build an app with sufficient time and money, but would also need to build a company dedicated to ongoing research and development to improve engagement rates, accessibility & maintenance;

[37:08] Myth #7: “Digital patient engagement is only valuable with big amounts of data, artificial intelligence & machine learning”

This is a myth because of the word “only”. Big data, artificial intelligence & machine learning can certainly make a better platform. But, good outcomes such as reduced Length of Stay, Readmissions, SSIs, and ED visits were achieved without machine learning in trials, simply by engaging patients digitally without A.I.;

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