3 Easy Tips for Using Email for Therapy Team Communication

Last night, I had the privilege of listening to several healthcare technology start-ups give presentations on their companies and the technology they've utilized to improve the healthcare industry. It was a really cool opportunity to learn more about some of the biggest problems facing the healthcare industry and some of the solutions that are being dreamed up to solve them.

One such problem is the lack of communication between physicians, patients, and other healthcare providers who are all providing care for one person. NovitaCare aims to solve this problem. Using a mobile app, patients can organize all their healthcare information so that it's readily available for providers on visits, and providers can even communicate with each other and the patient across the interdisciplinary team.

As a music therapist, I'm frequently on a team of providers for our patients, and communication is an integral part of success for our clients. Unfortunately, team members regularly communicating outcomes, goals, and expectations is not the norm. It can be difficult as a provider to organize this kind of treatment, and even more difficult as a parent who is juggling therapy, school, and more.

Clearly, there is a need for the products that companies like NovitaCare offer, and as healthcare moves more and more to a patient-centered model, I believe we'll see more companies offering similar products and services. However you don't need to wait for technologies such as this to become more mainstream to enjoy a high level of collaboration! There are workable solutions right in the palm of your hand on your smart phone already!

A few simple tricks from your email service can allow for effective communication between therapists serving you or your child.

1. Set up groups

Just about any email service allows you to create a group of email addresses. This allows you to simply type the name of the group in the "to:" box and poof! Your message is sent to the whole group. Add the email addresses of all the member's of you or your child's interdisciplinary team (their speech language pathologist, occupational therapist, music therapist, etc.) to a group, and you can easily communicate with the whole team.

I love it when I get to be part of these teams! I've had parents apologize to me for inundating me with emails, to which I tell them "Don't apologize, I love it!." Being able to know before I go see a client how their week has been going and what's been working for other therapists allows me to be more efficient in my time with my client. Any therapist that DOESN'T want this communication is probably not the kind of therapist you want working with you or your child, right?

2. Have team members create a dedicated folder for you or your child on their email service

With all those emails coming in, things might get a little messy in your therapists' email inboxes! Most quality email services allow users to sort incoming messages by subject, sender, or content. They can have all the messages regarding your child sent to a dedicated folder for that child and keep things organizing for easy access later and a clean inbox.

3. Don't forget HIPAA compliance

Email may contain protected health information, so be sure your providers keep their email password protected and consider using first initials for the clients name rather than their actual name ("A" instead of "Andrew").

 

We've got some crazy talented music therapists who would LOVE to be on your child's interdisciplinary team! Sign up for a free consultation to learn more about what we do!

 

Image credit: Wikipedia Commons

Andrew Littlefield MM, MT-BC

The George Center , 12060 Etris Road, Roswell, GA, 30075