7 ways to use SMS texting in healthcare

Healthcare text messaging can be used in many ways. Here are 7 ideas to use SMS to improve patient engagement.
A patient text alert that demonstrates use cases of texting in healthcare communications

The healthcare industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that, in many ways, is still using older technologies when it comes to administrative tasks.

For example, scheduling and reminders, prescriptions, and follow-ups, not to mention all the internal resources that go into shift scheduling, often operate on a decade-old technology (if not older). So how can texting in healthcare help the industry and pull them into the 21st century of communications?

Healthcare texting and patient care best practices

Let’s start with patients because, well, healthcare is ultimately about them. When we surveyed ~1,500 patients this year about their communication preferences, text messaging emerged as the mean most preferred channel for the below use cases in healthcare:

Appointment reminders and texting

Here are interesting facts32% of patients with one or more no-shows don’t return to the same practice within 18 months and 68% of Americans, or ninety-six million, had to wait longer than a week to get mental health treatment. That’s a lot of lost revenue and time that could have been spent helping people.

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

By implementing SMS, healthcare providers can reduce missed appointments, ensure patients are seen, and fill appointment slots.

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 is being followed and give patients a path to reach out if they have follow-up questions.

In addition, because texting is asynchronous, it allows doctors, nurses, and patients to communicate as time permits without finding time in busy schedules to answer quick questions.

Prescription instructions and healthcare reminders

Related to aftercare, ensuring that patients have the correct information on how to take their medication is crucial. Taking it incorrectly or in the wrong combinations can have serious side effects.

Texting 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 prescription.

Healthcare professionals and healthcare texting

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 via texting

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 no gaps in coverage and that those patients can get the care they need.

Healthcare texting 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 are 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 aligns with the CTIA guidelines is key to ensuring message deliverability.

Learn how text messaging can benefit you

These are just a few ways the healthcare industry can benefit from texting. Talk to one of our experts and learn how text messaging can help the healthcare industry and you in particular.