How mobile messaging can be used to improve patient experience

Topic: Healthcare

More than 90% of people own a mobile phone, which makes text messaging the best channel to communicate with your patients, especially if you’re trying to improve patient experience. Unlike email, text massages are easy to find (no spam folder to sift through!) and accessible thanks to their character limits. They also allow recipients to click on links, view images or videos, chat with a bot and more, which allows you to direct you to give your patient exactly what they need in real-time. If you’re hoping to boost your patients’ experiences, here are some top ways mobile messaging can help:

  1. Appointment reminders
  2. Prescription notifications and reminders
  3. Test result updates
  4. Emergency alerts
  5. Two-way conversations
  6. Patient feedback and surveys
  7. Internal communication

Improving patient experience with SMS messaging

1. Appointment reminders

With no-show rates as high as 30% in the US, the total cost of missed healthcare appointments is approximately $150 billion every year. Cutting down on no-shows and time spent rescheduling is a priority for many healthcare organizations, and with open rates of up to 98%, SMS messaging just may be the answer.

More than 90% of people read a text message within the first three minutes of receiving it, so instead of sending flyers via snail mail, which takes days to arrive and are easily misplaced, or emails that end up in spam folders, send an appointment reminder via SMS.

2. Prescription notifications and reminders

Save your patients time the hassle of calling the pharmacy or waiting in a long line by sending them a text message when their prescription is ready for pickup. This also reduces call volume for prescription updates for pharmacy staff, so they can spend their time with patients that require more attention.

And it’s not just pick-up notifications that can help with medication, but send reminders for taking their medicine as well. This gives the patient a much higher chance of taking dosage appropriately and can reduce the amount of follow-up appointment needed.

3. Test result updates

No one likes waiting for test results – especially if you have to wait in the hospital or urgent care before you’re able to leave. Typically, patients will call the reception team for updates on test results and when to expect that information. This can lead to frustrated patients and staff and longer call wait times for everyone.

Combat this by sending test results via SMS messages, so your patient’s know when to expect results and can be notified as soon as they’re available. If the results are sensitive, you can direct your patients to call their medical personnel or log in to your online portal. This leads to peace of mind for everyone and a seamless patient experience.

4. Emergency alerts

Emergency comms – such as practice closures, revised appointment details, and emergency health advice – your patients need updates ASAP. In today’s busy world, we can no longer rely on phone calls or emails to reach patients’ hands in time to make an impact. That’s why leveraging text message notifications can help you ensure your patients are receiving your messages and are as up-to-date as possible.

5. Two-way conversations

In many cases, patients will have initial and follow-up questions for their medical care team, which strains healthcare providers’ already busy schedules and invites long call wait times or extended games of phone tag via practitioner voicemails. SMS two-way conversations allow staff to manage multiple conversations at one time in the same platform. This allows staff to save time and keep other channels open for emergencies, and patients don’t have to wait on hold for access to trained healthcare professionals.

For simple or common questions, chatbots can be leveraged as well so patients can self serve, freeing up time for staff to handle complex questions.

6. Patient feedback and surveys

Patient feedback is critical to gauging the patient experience you’re offering, but convincing patients to take time to fill out a survey can be challenging to say the least. That’s why healthcare organizations should leverage SMS surveys over more traditional methods such as paper letters and email.

When you send a survey via a mobile messaging channel (e.g. an SMS survey), you’re making the most of a 99% open rate and a response rate that’s 209% higher than email, phone, or social media. 

7. Internal communication

In the event of sickness or holidays, trying to cover open shift can be difficult and time-consuming tasks if you’re calling on the phone or using email. SMS messages are a great way to communicate with your entire team at once, taking a job that usually takes hours down to a few minutes. You can also receive replies from available staff members in the same platform, speeding up the entire process and reducing the likelihood of having to cover a shift with expensive agency staff.

Discover how mobile messaging can improve patient experience in healthcare

Technology – including emails, video calls, customer-centered portals, and mobile messaging channels like SMS – goes a long way in improving the relationship between clinicians and patients. 

Whether you’re a healthcare provider or a software company that specializes in providing innovative solutions for the healthcare sector, if you’d like to find out more about how mobile messaging can help your organization, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Author Avatar
Julia Applegate

Based in Charleston, SC Julia is a Demand Generation Marketing Manager with 6 years of experience in B2B technology businesses and an emphasis on growth and demand generation marketing. Julia is passionate about balancing data-driven marketing with creative campaigns and bringing agile methodology to new companies.