Health IT, Patient Engagement

Luma Health utilizes bot-enabled messaging to improve patient-provider communication

In addition to tools around appointment scheduling and referrals, Luma Health now has a new product: Care Pathway Messaging, which allows doctors and patients to communicate through bot-enabled customized texts.

As a practicing physician, Dr. Tashfeen Ekram noticed a recurring problem: There’s a breakdown in the ability of patients and doctors to interact.

This complication caused him to found Luma Health with Adnan Iqbal and Aditya Bansod in 2015. The San Francisco startup created a cloud-based messaging platform that enables patients and providers to communicate. Consumers don’t have to download an app to utilize Luma Health’s features. Instead, they receive automated text messages directly to their phone.

The company initially narrowed in on how to improve patient scheduling. It now has a variety of products, including the following:

  • The referral management tool helps specialty clinics automate referral outreach and encourages patients to self-schedule.
  • Actionable reminders allow providers to create custom appointment reminder messages that patients can reply to.
  • The feedback and reputation management capability makes it easier for patients to leave comments and providers to gain actionable insight.
  • After a patient cancels an appointment, the smart waitlist feature goes through an office’s waitlist to fill the open slot.

In addition to these tools, Luma Health has recently unveiled a new product: Care Pathway Messaging. Through bot-enabled messaging, providers can send texts to patients, which can be customized based on the consumer’s individual needs.

In a recent phone interview, Ekram, the company’s CMO, said the tool has the ability to send “highly timed, highly personalized messages” to individuals.

For instance, a gastroenterologist can utilize the feature to help coordinate care before and after a patient has a colonoscopy. Through Care Pathway Messaging, patients get text reminders to ensure they’re following the right procedures before the colonoscopy. They also get reminders post-procedure about drinking enough fluids and resting.

Ekram added that the capability helps remove hurdles that stand between the patient and getting the help they need. “That’s where we see the power of Care Pathway Messaging — to help facilitate a lot of that access to care,” he said. “We can facilitate that outside the office and between care visits.”

Though other companies like Klara and Medici are working on boosting patient-provider communication, Ekram said his startup’s mobile-first approach sets it apart.

“We try to make it more interactive,” he said. “We like to be able to facilitate conversations.”

The San Francisco company also prompts patients to move forward with next steps, Ekram noted. If a patient can’t come to their appointment, Luma Health helps the patient find another time for a visit.

Photo: monique28, Getty Images