For many of us, the world suddenly feels different than it did just a week ago. Beneath all the headlines, our board, leadership and the entire CareMessage team understands the impact that this pandemic of COVID-19 is having on the most disadvantaged and sickest members of our society.
These low-income, chronically ill patients need reassurance, guidance and care, especially if they are simultaneously struggling with the challenges of poverty and chronic disease (for one illustration, see here). These patients need to understand how to keep themselves and their families safe, what to do if they're sick, and how to navigate the overall health system.
The health of underserved patients is our top priority at CareMessage. We know that the last few weeks have been challenging for many of the health organizations we work with, as the impact of COVID-19 continues to expand. Now, more than ever, effective health communication with staff and patients is imperative as we all fight to stop the spread of the virus. Last week alone, over half a million COVID-19 messages were sent through CareMessage, 522,347 messages by 25 customers to more than 250,000 patients. We have taken action to bolster our efforts in supporting you during this turbulent time by offering the following:
Dedicated COVID-19 Task Force
We created an internal group dedicated to supporting our customers in their work against COVID-19. We have a live support team that is ready to answer any of your questions and we will be constantly updating our recommended coronavirus communication strategy directly on our Help Center.
We have formed a COVID-19 Task Force with a goal of helping our clinics achieving the following four outcomes:
- Prevention: Enable underserved clinics to provide educational information around COVID-19 spread, including hand-washing and self-quarantine instructions.
- Coordination: Enable underserved clinics to coordinate care for patients and staff who are showing symptoms that may require follow-up
- Mitigation: Enable outreach to at-risk patient groups (especially the elderly and those with serious underlying medical conditions) to drive testing.
- Recovery: Our patients’ lives are heavily impacted by Social Determinants of Health, and we predict this pandemic will have long-standing effects on them in the months to come. During recovery, we hope to play a part in collecting data around patient needs and connecting them to social services, such as healthy food and access to medication.
Strategic COVID-19 Text Message Templates
We created text messages templates you can send to patients and staff to notify them of any changes in your policies and communicate best practices for prevention and preparedness. We’re constantly updating content to reflect the needs of the clinics we serve and all patient messages are available in English and Spanish.
These messages are available to all organizations, whether they are a CareMessage customer or not. They can be modified to be used on social media or any other messaging platform, a few topics include:
- Prevention. Hand washing education, links to the CDC website
- Education. Symptoms, links to the CDC website
- Preventing Exposure. Notices to notify the clinic before coming in to prevent unintended exposure to staff and patients
- Food Distribution. Low-income patients will be financially hit the hardest by this pandemic, and may be finding it difficult to afford food. Some Feeding America locations are offering a 14-day supply of non-perishable food. We recommend making your patients aware of this resource as soon as possible.
- Staff Communication. Your staff and volunteers probably have a lot of questions on your policies and up-to-date information. We've created messages to communicate with them.
- Medication Refills. We know low-income patients already struggle with accessing medication. Since partners like Direct Relief are working hard to distribute medication to our clinics, we created messages to ensure those medications are delivered to patients as quickly as possible.
- Clinic Announcements. Let patients know about limited clinic availability, changes to guest policies, changes in procedures, etc.
Our mission as a non-profit is to empower you with technology that improves the health of your patients, and we hope that the additional actions we are taking will better serve you during these difficult times.
Free COVID-19 Messaging with CMLight
We've released a free messaging solution for all Safety Net Providers that can be used without any integrations with fast staff onboarding. Fill out our form if you'd like to get started on CMLight:
- We are proactive in reaching out to the rest of our customers today with direct communication around COVID-19.
- We are immediately purchasing additional servers from Google Cloud to support this ever-increasing need, and our engineering team is deploying optimizations to our code to further enable the product to scale.
- We will continue to update our content and resources in accordance with the latest recommendations from health officials.
If you know of other organizations that serve underserved patients and could benefit from access to CareMessage during these times, please feel free to have them to reach out through our website. If you have ideas for any other messages or communication best practices, email firstname.lastname@example.org or click a time below to connect.