Many of us at Solutionreach have been directly affected by the communication standards (or lack thereof) in healthcare, so we understand how important improving that communication really is. My own experience in healthcare and what I have seen in practices since I started working here is part of what drives me in my job.
I assumed I knew the importance of being well-informed as a patient, but I never really knew how uninformed patients can be until I had two events that opened my eyes.
The first happened when I started working at Solutionreach. I was shocked to learn that even with the best intentions, patients are often left clueless and expected to fend for themselves. With the busy lives we lead, we need doctors to tell us that we are due for exams. Then after telling us, to keep reminding us until we schedule. Then remind us of the scheduled appointment until we walk in the door. And even after we leave, we want them to tell us about our medication schedule and when to come back for a follow-up appointment. It's this never ending circle of important reminders that can save lives.
Those reminders, or should I say lack of reminders, is what led to my second realization of the importance of patient communication. Reminders are a way to help patients be proactive regarding their health. My sister was diagnosed with colon cancer which led to stomach cancer, which then led to her early death. During that time while watching my sister go through cancer, my father was diagnosed with skin cancer which traveled to his lungs and brain. He passed away twenty days before my sister. Two deaths that could have possibly been avoided by a simple message reminder of the value of checkups.
Hearing "You have cancer" must be the most frightening words one can hear. But even worse is hearing "If only we would have caught it sooner."
Who’s to blame? The patient who didn't come in for annual exams, or the doctor who wasn’t educating his patients on the value of those tests? Placing blame isn't going to change anything but what can be changed is how we move forward.
We can honor those we lost by providing solutions to offices for reaching out to all patients and educating them on the importance of being proactive when it comes to their health, and the value of following through with treatment. Messages can also be used to offer support and encouragement, and give them hope for healing. To let them know, they are not alone.
I am proud to be part of a company working to improve patient communication and encouraging patients to take an active role in their healthcare. By opening the lines of communication between providers and patients, the words "If only we had caught it sooner" may never have to be said again.