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Missed Opportunities: How Doctors and Hospitals Can Better Communicate with Patients

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Alma, Mich. (March 7, 2019) - Connected Nation’s Connected Communities program shows that Michigan healthcare providers may be missing out by not offering interactive online services to their patients. This is according to new data presented at the Michigan Academy for Science, Arts, and Letters last week at Alma College in Alma, Michigan.

According to the findings, presented by CN’s Director of Research Development, Chris McGovern, Michigan households are going online to interact with doctors, specialists, and other healthcare professionals; in fact, more than 95% of survey respondents with home internet service said that they have gone online for that purpose at one time or another.

A separate survey of healthcare providers, though, shows that the types of online services they offer tend to be unidirectional; in other words, they only offer information to patients with limited to no means of interacting or communication back and forth.

For example, nearly nine out of ten healthcare providers reported that they maintained websites. Most of those sites, though, only offered educational pages about common ailments, services provided, or hours of service and contact information; they did not offer a means to interact online.

In fact, just slightly more than one-half of healthcare providers (53%) reported that they offered online interactions with patients or their families, while just 45% said their websites included the ability to conduct transactions with patients (such as scheduling appointments or paying bills) and only 28% said that their websites offered any personalized information that would require a patient their caretakers to log in or access personal information.

At Connected Nation, we’re looking at all the ways that broadband is helping improve lives. If your doctor is one of the forward-thinkers who offers online services (be it text messaging, video consultations, or even more “futuristic” applications), give them a shout out in the comments below.

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About Chris McGovern: As the Director of Research Development for Connected Nation, Chris works with Connected Nation staff and external stakeholders to develop research deliverables and provide critical analysis. He uses qualitative and quantitative techniques to interpret data, formulate reports, and make substantiated recommendations based on research findings.