How SMS Messaging is Revolutionising the Healthcare Industry
With 64% of people stating they prefer text messaging for customer support, over voice calling – it is no wonder the hectic, often overstretched health care sector is utilising SMS messaging frequently. Below we’ve listed out a range of benefits of using text messaging within the healthcare sector.
It is no secret that the healthcare sector is over stretched and the healthcare professionals within it are often overworked. SMS messaging helps to improve staff efficiencies within the sector, using automated technology to trigger communication that needs to be sent periodically. Text messaging removes some of the training time required to answer phone calls and removes the challenges that can arise with person to person phone calls. SMS messaging ensures the messages sent by your healthcare centre are uniform and remain consistent with the same tone of voice.
One of the biggest benefits of SMS messaging within the healthcare sector is the option for patients to cancel appointments via text. As appointment reminders are sent, patients can be encouraged to respond with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer as to whether they are still able to attend. This can help the healthcare sector save time and money, by freeing up appointments that are no longer needed and improves the attendance record by sending helpful reminders to patients about the details of their appointment.
SMS messaging also provides patients with a reminder service when their prescription is ready to be collected. If a certain drug is only collected every few months, this can prove to be hugely beneficially to the recipient. This could help the healthcare sector to save money and improve cost efficiencies – by reducing the number of uncollected prescriptions. It also means drugs can be freed up for other patients if the initial recipient no longer has a requirement for them.
Customer satisfaction survey
Ensuring your customers feel cared for and listened to is extremely important. Text messages can be used to follow up activity after an appointment to ask different questions about the customer’s experience. From waiting times, to how friendly the patient found their experience of your practice, to how well they felt their enquiry was dealt with – you can cover a range of topics that will help you to improve the service you offer. SMS messaging can be a reactive service, so as people respond to your questions, they are sent a relevant following up text – based on their answer.
Clearing waiting lists
Many healthcare practices struggle to accommodate the growing number of people who are already patients and the waiting list of people waiting to join. Sending periodical text messages to the people registered on your database and asking whether they wish to remain registered, can help you to free up spaces for new patients who are waiting to join your practice. Within your texts, you can state if no response is received the person will be removed from your database within a reasonable time frame, say a couple of months.
You can send real-time SMS messaging to keep your patients in the loop about potential delays to their appointment. This can help to ensure that patients aren’t sat waiting for a long time and getting frustrated about the delay in being seen. In the short term, this can mean appointments are more productive and staff are less likely to be abused by frustrated patients. In the long term, this can mean you are able to monitor the delays you face within your practice and look at making adjustments to avoid appointment delays moving forward. Is it that you have particularly busy times, which has a knock-on effect to the rest of your day? Or that you are understaffed and actually need more health care professionals working within your centre?
Recording and analysing the data you receive from the SMS messages you send to your customers can help you to improve efficiencies throughout your practice.
Follow up messaging
SMS messaging can be used to follow up attended appointments, enquiring if the patient’s recommended treatment is proving effective, or if a follow-up or alternative treatment is required. The text messages sent can be personalised to each individual without appearing insensitively generic. The use of follow-up texts can improve patient relationships, helping people to feel cared for as individuals, and that the practice genuinely cares about their health and wellbeing. It can help to eliminate ‘no show’ appointments and improve patient – practise relationships.
Using text messaging to communicate different treatment options with patients can be a great way of giving the patient space whilst making treatment based decisions. If you work within a healthcare practice that offers a paid service, it allows the patient to decide upon the best course of action for them both physically and financially. You can also text patients when you have offers running on certain treatments or treatment packages, helping you to increase sales of the treatment, and improve your customer relationships.
Within the healthcare sector – often employees are working across different shift patterns, during different times of the day and night. Finding a way to communicate out important information such as shift changes, highlighting legislation updates, staff notifications and urgent updates can be a challenge on top of the demands already placed on your team of healthcare professionals. Utilising text messaging to send out your internal communications can help to keep the infrastructure of your business working effectively and efficiently.
If you manage a healthcare practice, or work as an employee within one and don’t currently use SMS messaging as part of your service, contact Fast SMS to understand exactly how text messaging could transform your current service levels. With so many options available through SMS messaging, understanding where you want to improve customer relations or business efficiencies will be the key in implementing our text messaging service successfully for you.
New mothers face many challenges in the days and weeks following the birth of their child. Any parent will know most of them well with lack of sleep being a primary one. But many women are also at risk for other conditions that could be prevented by regular monitoring - enter SMS.
When people talk about SMS marketing they usually refer to the one-way message with coupon codes for a sale. Or potentially a two-way message requiring the customer to respond with a keyword in order to get a deal. And that is customer communication for sure. It’s also marketing. But it’s just the very basics of what SMS messaging can do for your business.
In a report released last week by Nielsen, it turns out people want more than just to see a lower number on the scale. In their study, 75% of people worldwide plan to lose weight by changing their diet. And another 72% plan to exercise – that’s where your health club and SMS comes in.
No-shows are a serious issue in dental offices. Some surveys estimate they account for as much as 10% of appointments, resulting in thousands of pounds lost each year. Many practices send reminders via post or email, but simple appointment reminders aren't always that effective. Not only is there a loss of revenue, but other negative side effects as well.
Before the winter cold and flu season hits I decided to do what I can to get healthy and stay healthy. Last week I began a 21 day cleanse that involves eating lots of fruits and vegetables as well as taking supplements. A lot of supplements. So many that I really have trouble keeping track. But luckily the company that makes the cleanse I'm using offers support via SMS reminders.
The challenges facing the healthcare sector today, whether you work for an NHS Trust or a private health company, are increasing. In an ever-evolving environment, maintaining high levels of patient satisfaction is an unenviable challenge many healthcare providers face on a day-to-day basis. How can SMS help?
There is something of a revolution occurring in the UK, and worldwide, where healthcare is concerned. Gone are the days of patients idly sitting and waiting for doctors to dole out advice. With 93% of the population holding a tool in their hands, anybody can use a mobile phone to access a wealth of information, just at our fingertips. SMS can maintain that feeling of instant information without causing the confusion, panic and misunderstanding so often associated with self-diagnosis.
Although SMS services are usually associated with retail marketing campaigns, you can also use these communication tools across many other industries. SMS text messaging can be used to provide a perfect veterinary patient/clinic communication tool, and because of this it is becoming increasingly popular within the specialist animal care sector.