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Recover Faster from Surgery with a Text

April 26, 2016

Clinician use a simple browser interface to text with patients

According to the Pew Research Center, over two thirds of all Americans own a smartphone and use text messaging as their primary communication method. Text messaging is increasingly being integrated into patient engagement communications. This practice can be good for a patient’s health and a hospital’s bottom line. Over half of all hospital surgical revenues come from Medicare and Medicaid. In an effort to reduce government financed healthcare costs, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provides bonuses to hospitals that perform well in patient surveys (HCAHPS) and penalizing hospitals for costly and avoidable readmissions.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, almost 20 percent of Medicare patients who are discharged from a hospital are readmitted within 30 days, at a cost of $17.4 billion annually. Many of the readmissions could be avoided with better patient communications. One solution is to engage patients post-discharge via text messages with Mutare’s Vital Link SMS chat module. Through a simple browser interface, clinicians can message with patients or their caregivers after discharge to track their recovery process and intervene before conditions worsen is an evolving best practice.

SMS pivot to secure communication doesn’t require a special app

HIPAA and Protected Health Information

Texting protected health information can be a HIPAA violation, even with a patient’s consent. So Mutare built its SMS chat module to enable a clinician to start a conversation using an SMS message and pivot to a secure conversation. There is no app to download; instead the patient receives a secure URL to continue the conversation privately. The patient's progress can be tracked and if conditions worsen, a nurse can triage via secure text and intervene before an ER visit is necessary.

Adding the SMS chat module to a post discharge workflow costs about $1 per patient discharge. Secure texting is available as a cloud service so there is no expensive hardware needed. The system can be interfaced using HL-7 to any EHR system so messages can be added to a patient's record with ease.

Adding SMS chat to post-discharge workflows is a logical solution. Patients avoid painful complications reducing morbidity and mortality, hospitals lower costs, receive better survey scores and can earn bonus payments from CMS. For more information on the Vital Link SMS chat module, click here to contact us.

About Mutare

Mutare creates customized software that makes communication easy, secure and efficient, with solutions for speech to text transcription, smart notification, smart chat, contact centers and more. For more information visit us at