Messaging

How the healthcare industry can benefit from text messaging

George Perry
George Perry
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Doctor using smartphone - "Your shift change has been approved"

Setting aside debates about how our healthcare industry is run (wanted to get out ahead of that one), the reality is that the healthcare industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that, in many ways, is still using older technologies when it comes to administrative tasks.

Scheduling and reminders, prescriptions and follow-ups, not to mention all the internal resources that go into shift scheduling, are often operating on technology that’s a decade old (if not older).

So how can a technology like texting, a technology that itself is more than 20 years old, help the healthcare industry and pull them into the 21st century of communications?

Patient Care

Let’s start off with patients because, well, healthcare is ultimately about them. There are lot of ways that texting can be used to improve their overall experience, as well as that of the healthcare provider.

Appointment Reminders

Here’s an interesting fact — missed appointments cost the healthcare industry $150 billion per year [source]. Yes, you read that right. Billion…with a B. That’s a lot of lost revenue and time that could have been spent actually helping people.

Lots of larger healthcare providers have moved towards application-based systems that allow patients to schedule appointments and get reminders, but these all rely on those patients to install the application and enable notifications.

By implementing SMS, healthcare providers can reduce the number of missed appointments, ensuring patients are seen and that appointment slots are filled.

Aftercare and Follow-Ups

Following proper aftercare can prevent additional trips to the doctor, helping to reduce costs for patients. By utilizing text messaging, healthcare providers can send messages to ensure aftercare if being followed, as well as give patients a path to reach out if they have follow-up questions. Because texting is asynchronous, it allows doctors, nurses, and patients to communicate as time allows, without having to find time in busy schedules to answer quick questions.

Prescription Instructions and Reminders

Related to aftercare, ensuring that patients have the correct information on how to take their medication is crucial. Taking it at the wrong times, or in the wrong combinations, can have serious side effects. Texting to the instructions is one more way to help patients take their medication correctly, and sending them reminders of when to get a refill ensures they’re never without their medication.

For the Healthcare Professionals

It’s not just patients that can benefit from the healthcare industry implementing text messaging — it’s also the healthcare providers themselves.

Patient Feedback

It’s easy to forget that the healthcare industry is a service industry. Text messaging allows supervisors to send surveys to follow-up on how their visit went, if they had any issues, and use that feedback to provide better care.

Scheduling Updates and Reminders

Whether it’s getting shifts covered or sending out reminders about changes to shifts, texting provides a channel that supervisors know is more likely to be answered; we read 98% of texts within 3 minutes. This response rate ensures there are no gaps in coverage and that patients are able to get the care they need.

Notifications

Weather alerts, emergency notifications, or other time-sensitive notifications are better served with text messaging. Calls are ignored, emails may get caught in SPAM filters, and app notifications are swiped away, but we read our text messages. For time-sensitive messages, there’s no better channels.

Getting Your Messages Delivered

Of course, none of that matters if your messages aren’t getting delivered. Using a text channel that aligns with your use case, and that aligns with the CTIA guidelines, is key to ensuring message deliverability.

Learn How Text Messaging Can Benefit You

This is just a few of the ways the healthcare industry can benefit from texting. Give us a call and talk to one of our experts and learn how text messaging can benefit the healthcare industry and you in particular.

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