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HCHC offers patients tool to manage appointments

MT. PLEASANT — Henry County Health Center is offering patients a new two-way communication platform for time-based appointment reminders. HCHC recently went live with Relatient, one of the top patient engagement platforms for health systems and provider groups.

Patients will receive time-based reminders for appointment confirmation, rescheduling and instructions.

“Patients wishing to receive appointment reminders can receive them by email, phone call or text message, or all three with a one-click option to confirm, reschedule or cancel. Patients aren’t required to opt in, but we believe our patients will appreciate this way of managing their appointments,” explained Stacy Speidel, application and project analyst with HCHC’s Information Technology Department. “Since going live on the new platform, patients have given positive feedback and appreciate being in control of how and when they receive and review their appointment information.”

HCHC clinical IT specialist Sara Rogers said, “Staff are able to see confirmed appointments and proactively contact patients for rescheduling. If patients miss an appointment, a reminder can be sent so they have the opportunity to reschedule. This allows HCHC to standardize the appointment reminder call process across the organization.”

The communication platform integrates with HCHC’s scheduling and registration systems and looks to email, home and cellphone data provided by the patient to send messages. Scheduled messages include an email five days before the appointment, a voice message three days prior and a text message two days in advance. Messages include appointment time and general instructions. Once a patient confirms their appointment, additional automated messages will stop. All patients will receive a courtesy text message the day prior or day of the appointment.

“Messages are currently being translated to Spanish. We are evaluating other features that include a secure two-way messaging chat feature, broadcasting of mass communication such as inclement weather and change in hours. Future possibilities may include yearly reminder notification and the ability to complete preregistration,” said Speidel.

This additional service complements the already existing patient portal. An email is required to receive an invitation to the patient portal. In addition to email, patients are encouraged to provide their preferred communication method so they can take advantage of the appointment reminders and any features that will come in the future. Patients can call the hospital and give their information, or provide it at the time of registration.

“It is anticipated that this will result in increased patient satisfaction, improved patient communication, and a reduction in missed appointments. It also helps alleviate some of the challenges associated with COVID-19 by increasing patient and staff safety,” Rogers said.