Health IT – A Patient’s Experience

Mar 17, 2021

Amendola Communications specializes in healthcare, health IT, and life sciences PR and marketing. A benefit of my employment is that my day is filled with reading interesting innovations.

I research articles for social media, locate editorial calendars from trade publications, and proof press releases before I set them up on the wire. My knowledge in the field has grown substantially over the eight years I’ve been at Amendola Communications.

It’s only in the past two years or so, however, that I’ve been able to experience these healthcare innovations on a personal level. While most of our clients are B2B, meaning businesses selling to other businesses, I’m starting to see several of the products have real meaning in my personal life.

This is a great lesson for marketers. Because the more we can see them from the patient’s side, the better we’ll be able to focus on what’s important to both patients and physicians.

Here are some of the technologies I’m pleased to say are turning out to be everything we’ve said they are.

PMDP – prescription drug monitoring programs: These programs allow my clinicians – either primary care, in the ER or in an urgent care setting – to pull in all current prescriptions from not only the large chain drug store I use, but also a compounding pharmacy for one special prescription. I’m handed a printout of medications pulled from the PMDP and I simply verify.

Electronic prescribing: I can’t remember the last time I had to take a printed prescription to the pharmacy to be filled. Physicians can simply send my prescriptions or refills electronically and I’m sent a text message when they are ready to be picked up.

Mobile health applications: Like so many Americans, I suffer from migraines. My neurologist suggested a mobile app called Migraine Buddy. It allows me to track my migraines, symptoms, medications taken, possible triggers, sleeping patterns, and much more. There are reports that I can pull to give my neurologist necessary information about the number and severity of attacks. There are so many mobile health apps out there; it’s nice when your physician works with you to identify one that not only works for you but works for them as well.

Remote patient monitoring: Not long ago, my father was in the hospital and a cardiologist gave him a heart loop monitor. It is designed to monitor the heart’s function and report it back to the cardiologist via a wi-fi transmitter kept in the bedroom. Each night while my father slept, the day’s cardiac activities were sent to the doctor’s computer. In my father’s case, it was discovered that while he slept, his heart would stop beating several times a minute. He had a pacemaker installed which regulated his heartbeat.

Telemedicine: Especially in 2020, most patients probably got to experience at least one telemedicine visit with a doctor. I used it a few times before COVID-19 as it was convenient and free of charge with my health insurance. But during 2020 and so far into the start of 2021, almost all my care providers are opting for virtual care. Indeed, the industry has seen over 8,000% growth based on insurance claims.

Patient portals: My primary physician’s group, including my neurologist, has a patient portal in which I can request an appointment, send a private message to any member of staff, or save medical documents. For me, it’s an easy way to communicate with my care givers. It’s like a secure email system and I get answers more quickly than playing phone tag.

There are even more innovations that will be coming soon. The Centers for Medical and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued interoperability rules that will make it so hospitals and health systems, through updates from their electronic health records vendors, will allow patients to download their medical records onto their smartphones.

This was supposed to be in effect already, but physicians have enough stress handling the pandemic. So CMS is extending the deadline for the healthcare system to comply.

Reading about our clients’ innovations through bylined articles, press releases and social media is intriguing. However, it’s also exciting to be experiencing these advancements in the real world.

Margaret Kelly

Margaret Kelly is an accomplished administrator with more than 30 years of experience in marketing and public relations. Her industry experience spans the healthcare, building and financial service industries. Margaret is a behind-the-scenes expert instrumental in supporting account teams with day-to-day operations. She focuses on processing press releases, managing social media, and researching speaking and editorial opportunities for clients. As a social media manager, Margaret is responsible for writing and distributing posts, engaging followers and linking to relevant industry leaders; as a result an EHR company gained 15% new followers and a remote patient monitoring client gained 30% new Twitter followers in only eight months. Additionally, a leading senior adaptive computer technology company added social media influence by 44% on Twitter, 67% on Facebook and 57% on LinkedIn in just 14 months. A campaign for the client's webinar caused such an increase in registration the company had to update its webinar platform to accommodate the extra attendees. Before joining Amendola Communications, Margaret served as the public relations agency and graphic artist liaison for a local company. In that role, she scheduled all media interviews for the company CEO, and managed all marketing placements, eNewsletters, website updates and marketing collateral materials. Margaret is a recipient of the Home Builder Association's coveted MAME (Major Achievements in Merchandising Excellence) Award for Best Website. She has lectured at the Home Builder's Association of Central Arizona on website development and at ASU's Del Web School of Construction on marketing.