Cutting healthcare expenses: Exploring the benefits of SMS automation in minimising missed appointmentsTopic: Healthcare
20 July 2023
Let’s begin by stating the obvious: missed appointments are an expensive waste of resources. In fact, each missed appointment costs the NHS an average of £30 per person.
With cost-savings continually being sought out in the healthcare sector, innovative ways to communicate and engage with patients have to be found. This presents an opportunity for providers to evolve, and embrace digital, mobile-focused channels like SMS automation.
SMS with its 98% open rate is unequalled as a communication channel, and appointment reminders are one area where it excels. By using a channel which is mobile-focused, convenient and personalised, the patient is more likely to read the reminder and subsequently attend their appointment.
Exploring SMS automation in healthcare
SMS automation involves using technology to send automated text messages to patients, providing them with timely reminders, appointment confirmations, and other important information. But what exactly are the key features and benefits of SMS automation and its potential impact on reducing missed appointments?
Enhancing patient engagement
Healthcare providers can use SMS automation to foster better communication and enhance patient engagement. By sending personalised reminders and notifications, patients are more likely to stay connected and actively participate in their healthcare journey. This increased engagement can lead to improved patient satisfaction, loyalty, and ultimately better health outcomes.
Streamlining workflow and reducing costs
SMS automation in healthcare can streamline administrative tasks and significantly reduce costs associated with missed appointments. By automating appointment reminders and confirmations, healthcare providers can optimise staff productivity and decrease no-show rates. This streamlined workflow ultimately leads to better resource utilisation, improved patient flow, and reduced healthcare expenses.
Ensuring compliance and data security
Given the paramount importance of patient privacy and data security in healthcare, it’s crucial to address these concerns when implementing SMS automation. Healthcare organisations must ensure that the SMS automation platform they choose adheres to the highest security standards and compliance regulations. This includes employing encryption protocols, secure storage of patient data, and obtaining patient consent for SMS communication.
Implementing SMS Automation: Best practices and considerations
To effectively use SMS automation in healthcare, certain best practices and considerations should be taken into account:
- Choosing the Right SMS automation platform: Healthcare organisations should select a reliable and secure SMS automation platform that meets their specific needs. It should offer robust features such as message personalisation, scheduling options, and integration capabilities with existing systems.
- Creating effective messaging strategies: Developing effective messaging strategies is essential for successful SMS automation. Healthcare providers should craft clear and concise messages that convey the necessary information to patients. Not only this, but when it comes to healthcare, empathy is also key, and should be considered. Therefore personalisation and language tailored to the patient’s preferences can enhance the effectiveness of SMS communication.
- Measuring success and continuous improvement: It’s important to measure the success of SMS automation initiatives to assess their impact on reducing missed appointments and improving patient engagement. Collecting data on response rates, appointment confirmations, and patient feedback can help healthcare organisations refine their strategies and continuously improve their SMS automation processes.
SMS automation offers healthcare providers a cost-effective solution for enhancing patient engagement, streamlining workflow, and achieving better financial outcomes. By utilising this technology, healthcare organisations can minimise missed appointments, improve communication with patients, and move towards a more efficient and patient-centred healthcare system.
With the right platform, messaging strategies, and measurement of success, healthcare organisations can harness the power of SMS automation to deliver better patient care.
Getting started with SMS appointment reminders
Esendex has worked with a range of healthcare providers to implement SMS based strategies for appointment reminders. This can be done via our secure online platform, or through our API, which allows SMS to be integrated directly into public service providers’ existing systems. Contact us today to get started, or start a free trial today.