A crucial aspect of a virtual medical practice is communicating with the patient HIPAA-compliantly, protecting their PHI. The constantly changing rules make this a daunting task for the DIY virtualist, but fortunately, HIPAA-compliant communication apps are available.
Spruce is affordable and user-friendly. At $25-50 per month, you get 2-way SMS, secure team chat, video, and a BAA.
Patient Communication & Access
I have no desire to recreate the standard medical practice in a virtual manner. My virtual Primary Care practice is built from the ground up to be unique, focusing on easy patient communication and access for my patients.
Using a standalone app makes HIPAA-compliant communication safer. It will protect you against any HIPAA complaints, and you can send and request sensitive medical information directly to the patient.
Spruce Healthcare Communication
I prefer to have a separate patient communication platform for my practice since I foresee changing EMRs frequently.
Few EMRs have adequately functional patient communication platforms. I prefer not to get locked into an EMR and have to retrain my patients later on.
1. Text Messaging
The patient can send me a text message with media, and I can do the same: 2-way HIPAA SMS.
This is where I can send a referral or lab request to the patient, which they can take wherever they want.
2. Virtual Visits
With Spruce, I can have the patient fill out a clinical questionnaire, though I won’t use this feature too often.
I can use the app to do video visits which is a must nowadays. Telemedicine rules are constantly changing.
3. Automating Messaging
If a patient reaches me after hours, I can automate certain responses for them. This is especially useful for those running a solo practice.
And if I reply to the same text to patients frequently, I can save them and reuse them. Though, I also use Magical to accomplish the same.
This is executed quite elegantly in their app.
4. File Sharing
Media control is important when communicating with patients.
I want to be able to send my patients documents, and I want them to upload videos, photos, or PDFs.
I can share audio, video, photos, and documents using Spruce. Quite powerful.
Alternative Patient Communication Platforms
Doxy is a strong contender in the telemedicine app space. For the same monthly fee, you get the following:
- Audio/Video telemedicine
- Waiting room
- Patient queue
- Text chatting
- File transfer