Improving digital communication in healthcare in 2024

Sara Ana Cemazar
February 27, 2024
min read

Did you know that over half of patients are willing to switch providers if their digital communication needs aren't met? 

As a result, many healthcare businesses are increasingly adapting customer experience team strategies to improve patient satisfaction. A key element of these innovations is the integration of digital patient communication platforms in healthcare. 

Recent years have seen a dramatic transition in the healthcare industry. The use of modern platforms and cutting-edge technologies by healthcare providers has completely changed not only how they treat patients but also how they communicate with them, exchange medical records, and work together for better outcomes.  

This transformation has boosted the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare delivery, paving the way for innovations like personalized treatment and cutting-edge health data management strategies.

In this blog, we explore the topic of digital communication in healthcare and its impact on patient satisfaction. We also discuss the challenges so that you can strategize the use of the medical chat tools better. 

How does digital communication impact patient satisfaction?

In a recent study, Jackie Sturt, a professor of behavioral medicine in nursing at King's College London, and Professor Frances Griffiths of the Warwick Medical School investigated the use of digital communication in the healthcare sector and how it boosts patient engagement among younger patients.

Here are the key findings of the study:

  • Improved patient-provider communication: Patient engagement healthcare apps facilitated easier communication between young patients and their physicians, leading to increased patient engagement and improved follow-up.
  • Enhanced patient proactivity: The study participants, who ranged in age from 16 to 24, demonstrated greater involvement and proactive behaviors in their healthcare by using digital interactions with their caregivers.
digital communication in healthcare
  • Streamlined patient referrals: The study also demonstrated how quickly patients were assigned to the right healthcare provider based on their requirements.
  • Potential time investment for staff: The majority of the study's findings were favorable, with the exception of a little worry over the extra time this would demand of medical staff.
    This issue is thought to be mitigated by savings in other areas of care, such as visits made to refer patients to the most suitable clinician or specialist.
  • Highlighting data security: The study also demonstrates the necessity for healthcare organizations and personnel to have policies to protect confidential patient data sent via digital channels.

For example, some popular communication tools are not built for exchanging confidential patient data. Learn more:

📚 How to use WhatsApp in the Healthcare industry?

📚 Is Slack HIPAA-compliant?

📚 Is Microsoft Teams HIPAA-compliant?

📚 How can you achieve HIPAA-compliant messaging?

5 types of digital communication in Healthcare

Digital communication in healthcare involves different tools and platforms that facilitate the exchange of records between healthcare companies, patients, and other stakeholders. One of the tools used for digital communication in healthcare is patient engagement software

Here are some key types listed below:

1. Email

Email serves as a major channel for healthcare teams to easily exchange ideas and information, speeding up the decision-making system and improving patient outcomes. However, it's not the ideal choice to exchange confidential patient data.

With e-mail, patients can: 

  • Consult from the comfort of home: Emails eliminate the need for unnecessary in-person visits. Patients can stay in their own homes and connect with their healthcare specialists when required. 
  • Get answers outside of business hours: They can also ask questions, receive clinical advice, and get updates without worrying about business hours or the distance of the healthcare facility.
digital communication in healthcare

2. Instant messaging

Instant messaging is one of the most widely used methods of information exchange. In addition to its wide popularity, this communication method's lower cost of scaling makes it suitable for health messaging/reporting. 

Here’s how instant messaging can help:

  • Streamline patient care:  Instant messaging improves the overall patient care process for both patients and staff.
  • Personalize your messaging: Tailor messaging to each person or group for increased relevance and engagement.
  • Boost satisfaction through real-time communication: Timely responses from both healthcare providers and patients enhance trust and build lasting relationships.
  • Reduce missed appointments: Healthcare facilities use this to send reminders before appointments, leading to fewer cancellations and absences.
  • Minimize delays and wait time: Patients can arrive later and avoid unnecessary waiting when healthcare providers communicate delays through instant messaging.
  • Share sensitive information securely: Secure instant messaging software makes it possible to safely and conveniently share private information, including charts, prescription drugs, X-rays, and more.
  • Increase medication adherence: Prescription reminders sent to patients via instant messaging lead to an increase in the number of prescriptions filled.
  • Enhance healthcare team collaboration: Medical teams communicate in real time using secure instant messaging apps for healthcare. Collaboration in healthcare allows medical professionals to treat more patients efficiently throughout the workday.

3. Live chat

Live chat platforms are excellent patient chat tools. They allow patients to book their next appointment with a doctor through a process that is very similar to giving a clinic a call. Patients can also conveniently and securely chat with health professionals online. 

digital communication in healthcare

Here’s how live chat ensures privacy, flexibility, and accessibility:

  • Consultations on your terms: Live chat offers greater privacy and flexibility than traditional calls, allowing patients to consult with doctors discreetly from work or while on the go.
  • Robust security protects your information: Leading live chat providers prioritize security, preventing data leaks and ensuring private conversations remain confidential.
  • Accommodating diverse needs: Audio and video chat options support patients with visual or hearing impairments, as well as those who prefer sign language communication.
  • Breaking down language barriers: Auto-translation features empower patients to communicate in their preferred language, enhancing comfort and understanding.
  • Expanding access to care: Live chat enables remote consultations and telehealth services, eliminating the need for in-person visits and making healthcare accessible to a wider range of individuals.

4. SMS

With 41% of patients willing to change providers over a lack of texting options, it's clear that this communication channel is becoming essential in healthcare.

Text messaging or SMS is a type of digital communication in healthcare that allows clinical professionals, including doctors, to maintain direct communication with their patients.

Let’s review why SMS should be leveraged:

  • Streamline healthcare tasks: SMS simplifies various healthcare communication needs,  from appointment reminders to health education and medication compliance support.
  • Boost patient engagement and outcomes: It plays a key role in improving patient engagement, enhancing efficiency, and driving better health outcomes.
  • User-friendly and widely accessible:  Unlike specialized platforms, SMS requires no additional software or training, making it exceptionally easy to use for everyone.
  • Reach a wider audience: Text messaging isn't limited by internet connectivity or smartphone type, ensuring healthcare messages can reach patients in diverse locations and circumstances.
  • Universally compatible: SMS's widespread compatibility means healthcare messages reach virtually all patients, regardless of their phone model.

5. Videos

Patients now watch videos of procedures and medical information remotely before treatment. Through video calls, doctors, nurses and family members can also log in and monitor patients. These techniques help reduce patient anxiety levels and improve patient care.

Leverage video communication to enhance patient care and engagement:

  • Expand access to specialist care:  Video communication enables patients to receive expert treatment from specialists regardless of location, eliminating the need for potentially stressful or costly transfers.
  • Facilitate collaborative diagnosis: Through this type of digital communication in healthcare, doctors in multiple locations can collaborate on diagnoses and treatment plans, improving decision-making and patient outcomes.
  • Boost engagement with personalized videos:  Personalized videos deliver relevant medical information in a visually appealing format, increasing patient understanding, retention, and overall engagement.
  • Address specific patient needs effectively: Tailor personalized videos to individual concerns or questions, leading to better communication and potentially improved treatment results.
digital communication in healthcare

Challenges to effective digital communication in Healthcare

Notwithstanding the advantages, there are some obstacles you have to tackle in order to implement efficient digital communication in healthcare:

1. Disconnected consumer experience and lack of personalization

Because patient data and digital platforms are often not integrated, multichannel consumer contact points might result in a disconnected and impersonal patient experience

Disconnection information will impact patient happiness and personalization due to a lack of a system and channel integration.

2. HIPAA Compliance

One of the biggest challenges is HIPAA-compliant texting. Adhering to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) restricts the options for communication channels and software. HIPAA-compliant chat solutions that offer industry-grade security, like Rocket.Chat, can alleviate this concern. 

Get started with Rocket.Chat’s secure collaboration platform

Talk to sales

Rocket.Chat is a chat software built to support patient communication as well as internal collaboration of medical and non-medical staff. Due to its customization options and advanced security options, it's a great choice for Healthcare organizations that want smooth communication experience without risking confidential data exposure.

Learn more about Rocket.Chat for Healthcare and get in touch with our team to get a personalized demo.

Frequently asked questions about <anything>

Sara is an SEO Strategist at Rocket.Chat. She is passionate about topics around digital transformation, workplace experience, open source, and data privacy and security.
Sara Ana Cemazar
Related Article:
Team collaboration: 5 reasons to improve it and 6 ways to master it
Want to collaborate securely with your team?
Deploy Rocket.Chat on-premise or in the cloud and keep your conversations private.
  • Digital sovereignty
  • Federation capabilities
  • Scalable and white-labeled
Talk to sales
Looking for a HIPAA-ready communications platform?
Enable patients and healthcare providers to securely communicate without exposing their data.
  • Highly scalable and secure
  • Full patient conversation history
  • HIPAA-ready
Talk to sales
The #1 communications platform for government
Deploy Rocket.Chat on-premise, in the cloud, or air-gapped environment.
  • Secure data governance and digital sovereignty
  • Trusted by State, Local, and Federal agencies across the world
  • Matrix federation capabilities for cross-agency communication
Talk to sales
Want to customize Rocket.Chat according to your own preferences?
See behind the engine and change the code how you see fit.
  • Open source code
  • Highly secure and scalable
  • Unmatched flexibility
Talk to sales
Looking for a secure collaboration platform?
Keep your conversations private while enjoying a seamless collaboration experience with Rocket.Chat.
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Cloud or on-prem deployment
  • Supports compliance with HIPAA, GDPR, FINRA, and more
Talk to sales
Want to build a highly secure in-app chat experience?
Use Rocket.Chat’s APIs, frameworks, and managed backend to build a secure in-app or live chat experience for your customers.
  • Supports compliance with HIPAA, GDPR, FINRA, and more
  • Highly secure and flexible
  • On-prem or cloud deployment
Talk to sales

Our best content, once a week

Share this on:

Get your free, personalized demo now!

Build the most secure chat experience for your team or customers

Book demo