Help Patients Stay Healthy with SMS Reminders to Take Their Prescriptions
Last year, over 1 billion prescription items were dispensed in England. According to the Nuffield Trust there were, on average, 19 prescription items per person in England. And an article on NHS said that almost half the population is taking prescription medications.
However you look at those statistics, it’s clear a lot of people are taking a lot of medications. It isn’t too hard to imagine then, that some of those people may be taking several prescriptions. It’s probably easy to forget, or confuse, the timing on medications when you are taking so many. Even for people with only one prescription it is possible to forget about it.
SMS reminders are a great way to help patients stay on track and take medications when they need them. For example, I have asthma. The medication I take keeps it under control. It works so well that when I run out of the medication it takes 4-5 days before I start to have difficulty breathing. Unfortunately, that makes it easy for me to forget to call in or pick up my refill. It isn’t until I start to feel the symptoms again that I remember to get to the pharmacy. That can be dangerous, particularly if someone has a condition worse than my asthma (which while troublesome, has never been life threatening).
NHS’ report from December 2014 highlights this fact saying the most widely prescribed drugs were cholesterol-lowering statins. While missing one pill won’t likely cause issues, if a patient isn’t consistent taking their medications life threatening problems can arise. Patients taking antidepressants can also be at high risk if they don’t take their medication regularly or suddenly stop taking it. There are many other medications that would have the same problem.
How SMS can help
Over 93% of the UK population has mobile phones. All of those phones are capable of sending and receiving text messages. Doctors and pharmacists can use SMS messaging to help patients in the following ways:
- Repeat prescription reminders – for people like me that can’t seem to call in their refills before they need them, pharmacies can send a quick SMS message with a reminder that it’s time for a repeat. This will help minimise the amount of time someone may go without their medications (hopefully it will eliminate any missed time). It could be possible to actually request a repeat prescription by replying to that text message too, depending on how the service is set up. If getting a repeat is as simple as sending a text message it’s likely more people will do it in time.
- Guidance on scheduling medications – people who need more than one medication, or have one that needs very specific scheduling, could benefit from SMS reminders. The messages could provide reminders or guides to ensure the medications are taken properly. Many medicines work better when they are taken at certain times or intervals (antibiotics for example) so this type of communication could help people get healthier and stay healthier.
- Encouragement to keep taking medications – many medications have side effects. Some of those may be outright unpleasant. But if the medications are stopped there may be worse side effects or they may not work as intended. When a doctor knows that a particular treatment may be difficult to complete, they can sign the patient up for a series of SMS messages that encourage them to continue by reminding them of the benefits they will see if they do. And also warn them of any dangers of stopping the medication without notifying the doctor.
Managing health can be challenging. SMS messaging can be used to help people stay on track and live healthier lives. All it takes is a simple message to break through distractions so people can focus on what they need to do with their medications.
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?
Is SMS messaging a good investment of your business’ time and money? A report from Mobile Ecosystem Forum shares some data on how SMS is being used, who is using it, and provides some evidence showing the answer to that question is most likely “Yes”!
People have their mobiles within arm’s reach about 22 hours of every day. That means even while they are sleeping! It makes sense then, that if you want to remind someone of an important event (an appointment with your small business for example) you should use their mobile.
There are many benefits of using SMS marketing for businesses within the health and beauty industry. From instantly connecting with customers to booking appointments and increasing sales, the opportunities for the health and beauty sector are huge when it comes to business text messaging. Due to the fast-paced nature of appointment booking within the industry, and the increasing competition, SMS marketing could be the key to separate you from your competition.
SMS marketing has seen a huge uplift in popularity in recent years, with big brands investing in the technology to better engage with their customers. There are so many benefits of SMS marketing, from the ability to directly to reach customers with your communications, to the fact that over 80% of SMS texts are read. With over approximately 90% of the world receiving mobile coverage, you’re highly likely to be able to reach your audience, regardless of where they are. SMS marketing is cost effective, and campaigns are quick to develop, in as short a time period as the time it takes to write a text message. This gives you the advantage of being able to communicate quickly, and effectively with customers, reacting to information almost instantaneously. With so many reasons to use SMS marketing, we’ve highlighted four sectors successfully using SMS messaging as case studies to highlight the advantages of investing in the technology.
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.
People rely on their mobiles for everything these days. They check them up to 200 times a day! Any business that communicates with customers can take advantage of that by using SMS messaging for transactional information. Read on to see the top 5 reasons why.
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.