Many remote patient monitoring programs (RPMs) spend all their focus on prioritizing patient enrollment during deployment. Often, the challenge with RPM programs is not enrollment, but trying to keep patients engaged. In most cases, there are some behavioral barriers preventing the ongoing use of an RPM platform. Even when it comes to doing the necessary, routine action to support their treatment plan. Using a few simple approaches, you can reach patients and influence their engagement behaviors. Don’t worry, they don’t just rely on patients using an App or having internet access to make this happen.
Top Ways to Reach a Patient in Your RPM Program
Below are Harmonize Health's top three recommendations to reach your patients and drive engagement. These recommendations start from the least to most disruptive patient experience.
1. Push notifications
Push notifications are little snippets of content sent to your phone by an App. You can send notifications any time; patients don’t have to be in the App or using their device to receive them. The only prerequisite is the patient must enable notifications in their App settings.
- A patient can look at their notifications quickly but also clear them just as quickly. Once notifications are cleared, they cannot be retrieved again.
- Push notifications are just one of many daily notifications patients may receive. But they are non-disruptive and have a lower chance of causing information overload on a patient.
- Push notifications are the least personal way to reach a patient.
- You can easily monitor performance with push notifications.
- Notifications may push through an App but do not require large bandwidth to access.
2. Text messages
Text messaging is a form of electronic messaging with words, symbols, emoticons, links, and so on. They do require a correct patient mobile phone number on file. Text messaging is now a more popular way for marketing outreach, so before rolling out, review any relevant legal rules for complete compliance.
- The patient looks at the messages and can access them again at any time.
- When done right, text messaging can be a more personalized way to reach a patient.
- Text messaging has shown to have up to 98% open rates, which means they will likely have high open rates with patients.
- Text messaging is easy to monitor performance with metrics.
- Text messaging does not require the internet to access.
3. Phone calls
Phone calls are the most personalized way of connecting between patients and providers, but also the least scalable.
- The patient either receives a call or listens to a voicemail. Important: Always leave a voicemail. Even though some people don’t routinely listen to voicemails, it’s a documented, personal touchpoint showing that you exist. Also, it’s the only way for the patient to know what you need from them without calling back.
- Phone calls are a very personal form of outreach and some demographics may appreciate phone calls more than others.
- Phone calls are the most disruptive way to reach a patient but also have a high impact on engagement behavior change - so use them wisely.
- When approached right, performance monitoring is possible but it is harder to measure compared to text messages or notifications.
- Phone calls do not require internet access.
Is Email an Effective Way to Reach a Patient in an RPM Program?
Notice, that email messages didn’t make the list of the top ways we recommend reaching a patient to drive patient engagement. As you probably have encountered, email is a common (over) used marketing and communications channel. Patient reach through an email channel presents a challenge as your email competes with other emails flooding in daily. Also, Emails are a highly visual medium. Meaning, that they often require extra resources to develop or maintain to achieve opens and click-throughs. The last significant reason emails didn’t make the top of the list is because they require internet access.
In the end, it’s not just about running an RPM program that achieves high patient enrollment. You want to keep patients engaged and effectively reach patients so they adhere to their care plans - sometimes for months but most times longer. By monitoring your RPM program and using effective approaches like push notifications, text messages, and phone calls, you can help motivate patients to sustain patient engagement.
Do you want to take these recommended patient engagement tactics a step further? Use this Cheat Sheet on helpful tips and best practices for using push notifications, text messages, and phone calls to achieve high patient engagement in your RPM program.
Harmonize Health is a remote health management platform that helps providers engage patients easily to improve their health.