Improve Your Pre-Procedure Patient Communications

Pre-procedure patient communication is one way healthcare organizations can help make sure patients are ready for the scheduled appointment and that the procedure goes well. Learn how to automate pre-procedure engagement to improve patient outcomes.

September 14, 2021

Some gastroenterologists perform as many as 12 colonoscopies a day, making them a highly routine screening. Preparing for the procedure, however, can feel anything but routine for patients. Pre-procedure patient communication is one way healthcare organizations can help make sure patients are ready for the scheduled appointment and that the procedure goes well.

The procedure prep process starts days before the screening and involves multiple steps that can be difficult for patients to follow, so developing effective pre-procedure patient communications is crucial. Yet one clinical study found that nearly half of patients undergoing a colonoscopy said they received no verbal instruction; at the same time, one-third claimed they received no written instruction for preparation.

The Effects of Inadequate Prep

That may explain why inadequate preparation still occurs in up to 30% of colonoscopies. In some instances, this results in canceled procedures, wasting both patients’ and providers’ time, creating a scheduling headache and lost revenue for health systems. The colonoscopy moves forward as providers usually don’t realize preparation was insufficient until after the screening has begun. According to another study, these “failed” colonoscopies due to inadequate preparation lengthen procedure times, result in shorter surveillance intervals, and lead to increased healthcare costs. 

Automating Colonoscopy Education Workflows

Such statistics prompted AdvantageCare Physicians, a prominent New York City primary care network with more than 500,000 members, to automate pre-procedure patient communications for colonoscopies. Wanting to improve patient compliance with the detailed pre-procedure instructions provided by their gastroenterologists, AdvantageCare Physicians deployed HouseCalls Pro. The platform enabled a four-step patient education campaign over seven days delivered via SMS text, voice, email, or live chat depending on patients’ preferences, including their language of choice.

By parceling the patient pre-procedure information out in a steady stream of four short messages, the health system saw compliance rates rise significantly. They also saw a reduction in the number of canceled procedures. Automating the pre-procedure messaging improved patient engagement and staff members no longer spent valuable time calling each patient individually to prepare them.

Tips for Automating Pre-Procedure Patient Communications

If your health system is interested in developing a successful workflow for pre-procedure or post-procedure patient communications, consider an automated patient engagement platform that allows you to:

  • Develop carefully nuanced messaging that helps patients understand what to expect before, during, and after their procedure and the plan for recovery success.
  • Provide instructions and nudge patients at appropriate times to ensure they are prepared for the procedure, follow-up visits, and protocols.
  • Deliver messages in the patient’s preferred language to reduce miscommunication.
  • Create learning-friendly communications by adding links to videos, charts or other educational materials related to pre-procedure and post-procedure instructions. 
  • Enable personalization and customized communications based on patient differentiators and their unique care needs. 
  • Offer true two-way communications so that patients can both ask questions and respond to information in real-time. 
  • Alert care team members to patients who may require additional support.
  • Automate scheduling, rescheduling, and follow-up appointments.
  • Capture all patient information automatically in the EHR, including self-reported data following a procedure.  


Learn more about Pre and Post-Procedure Engagement

To learn more about how automated patient engagement can streamline pre-procedure and post-procedure workflows, resulting in an improved patient experience and care quality, increased revenue for health systems, and reduced burden on staff, click here.


More Patient Communications Resources


Explore Healthcare