PATIENT ENGAGEMENT | 10 MIN READ
5 Different Studies Reveal How Text Messaging Improves Patient Experience and Outcomes
Written by Michael Wise
For many of us, the idea of getting a text from our doctor’s office reminding us of an upcoming appointment might seem like standard operating procedure. However, the vast majority of healthcare providers have been hesitant to adopt SMS messaging as a preferred way to communicate with patients.
That stance is beginning to change as more and more studies reveal positive results for all types of use cases for text messaging between patients and providers.
Here are five recent case studies:
Emergency Department Follow Up
Participants: 374 English and Spanish-speaking patients
Results: 72.6% appointment adherence rate among texting group versus 62.1% in the non-texting group.
Texting the Care Team
A 2016 study looked at the effect texting had on the number of delays in care and hospital stays. Results concluded texting can be more effective than typical paging systems.
Participants: 11,500 patients at two hospitals
Results: 14 percent reduction in hospital stays among patients over the course of a year (about 0.77 days) using text messaging.
A 2017 study focused on text message reminders and patient attendance for a government-funded diabetes clinic in Hong Kong.
Participants: 248 subjects
Results: 92.9% attendance among those receiving text messages versus 81.4% in the non-SMS group.
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Preoperative SMS Reminders
This July 2018 study focused text messaging and pre-op reminders. There was an improvement among those who were getting SMS reminders.
Participants: 301 patients in a call group, 298 in a SMS group
Absence in Dysfunction: 75% in SMS group vs. 61% in the call group
Risk difference: 15%
The results also site a significant improvement in compliance.
Text Messages for Appointment Management & Timely Patient Response
A North Florida Women’s Care added a text message component to their services in order to assist with appointment management and timely patient response.
Results: Physicians are seeing 100 more patients per month ($10,000 in monthly revenue). They also saw a 25 percent increase in referral appointments (about 1,100 people.
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I work for a doctor’s office, and yesterday we had a meeting about making payments easier for our patients. The topic of text messaging came up, and we like the idea. However, we have questions – What’s the best way to tell patients about it, and how do we even implement such a thing?
There is an evolution taking place in communication. Businesses love to track their customers by requiring them to login with a username and password for even the simplest interaction. Anyone over the age of 25 probably knows what it feels like to have over 100 online accounts.
Let’s face it, compared to other industries, healthcare adapts slowly to change. There might not be a clearer example of this reluctance to adapt than how healthcare has neglected to engage patients through text messaging.