Are healthcare providers making the most of SMS?

Topic: Healthcare
healthcare stock photo

Healthcare providers are under more pressure than ever to deliver better outcomes at lower cost – with patient engagement a key area in delivering this. Find out how SMS can be used to streamline communications, reduce spend, and have happier patients.

Many healthcare providers have realised the potential of SMS for having more engaging patient interactions – but few have realised just how many ways it can help.

Why is SMS so effective in the healthcare sector?

SMS is a great way for healthcare providers to offer their patients an easy, convenient, and efficient means of engagement. SMS also enjoys an open rate of 95 percent (source), meaning that the chances of the message prompting an action to take place are much higher.
SMS is also a great way for healthcare providers to reduce their cost to engage with patients. With an increasing number of cuts coming from central government, healthcare providers are under mounting pressure to reduce spend. This is certainly an area in which SMS can help.
For example, the cost to communicate via post to an audience of 5000 would be £2500. For that, healthcare providers can expect a response rate of 2.5% when they need to retrieve information from patients. This means each response would cost £20. Compare this with SMS, which would cost £190 to connect with the same audience, and offers a more impressive response rate of 10%, and a cost per response of 38 pence. The savings to be made here are more than apparent (source).

What are the different applications of SMS in health and aged care?

Appointment notifications and reminders

From routine check-ups to hospital appointment reminders, using SMS makes confirming and rescheduling appointments easier, and more reliably attended.

Major incident notifications

Having a robust disaster recovery plan to manage unscheduled server outages is a mainstay of any professional ICT Services team. One of the actions implemented after the WannaCry cyber attack on the NHS in 2017 was to “deliver text alerts to NHS CEOs and CIOs when email is unavailable” (source) – showing the importance of SMS as a business continuity channel.

Service Improvements

After a patient has visited a healthcare practice, why not find out what they thought of their experience by sending them a text-based survey? It’s economical and more likely to prompt a response than email or letter (source). With the responses gained, you’ll be able to identify areas where you can improve efficiency, improving patients’ experience and in all likelihood, reducing costs.

Remote staff communication and rostering

For healthcare providers with remote staff, SMS is a fast, two-way, and reliable way of communicating. Staff benefit from getting immediate SMS notifications in the event of shift changes and emergencies. Projects can be updated, empty shifts filled, and missing equipment identified and sourced efficiently and cost-effectively.

Closure notifications

External circumstances like bad weather can sometimes mean healthcare providers are not able to offer all of their services. Quickly and easily send broadcast SMS messages to patients to let them know about closures.

I’m interested to know more

Esendex work with a wide variety of healthcare providers, ranging from doctor’s surgeries to dentists, to provide more engaging SMS communications. To find out how Esendex can improve your customer communications with SMS, get in contact today 0345 356 5758 or email us at [email protected].

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