How SMS can be used to improve healthcare engagement

Health-and-Medical-Treatment-in-New-ZealandThe feasibility of mobile devices to support healthcare is increasingly being looked at to help reduce costs and increase patient access.

Previously we have looked at some of the challenges facing modern healthcare and how mobile solutions could help, and the specific ways SMS services are being utilised within the healthcare sector.

This week we delve more deeply into how SMS can improve healthcare at various stages of the healthcare mode.

As people increasingly turn to mobile, it makes sense to shift to mobile solutions to increase the public’s engagement with health care.

It’s well known that unhealthy behaviours such as smoking, overeating and not taking medications correctly has a big impact on patients’ outcomes, which makes patient engagement a key part of health management. Recognising this, healthcare organisations are trying to engage patients on numerous levels by using technologies that range from patient portals and secure e-mail to automated phone messaging and texting.

Studies have shown that texting can be an effective way to improve healthcare. In a National Cancer Institute study, for example, researchers more than doubled the smoking quit rate among teenagers by texting reminders and supportive messages to them. Similarly, a texting program called “text4baby” was found to have helped promote maternal and child health among users, and healthy eating messages delivered via SMS were found to be an effective way  of targeting health advice to young adults.

This doesn’t mean doctors have to text directly with their patients.  With cloud-based software such as Modica’s customer engagement platform OMNI, data can be fed into the system and scheduled to deliver a message via SMS and MMS, email or a website en masse at specific times, making it a cost-effective and efficient way to communicate with people on a large scale.

Texting is also perfect for reminders, appointments, filling prescriptions, preparing for procedures and paying bills, cutting down on time required by staff having to phone or mail these communications.

Other Health and Medical SMS services could include automated alerts, such as flu-shot reminders and test results, securing patient information with 2FA and basic Q&A and customer services.

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