SMS In The Healthcare Industry - A Healthy Advantage?

SMS Healthcare Industry

SMS improving healthcare communications

When you look at the phenomenon, the growth of the healthcare industry, through the narrow lens of a single facility, the implications of this growth are quite clear and easy to see. It means that doctors are in high demand, centres are crowded with patients, and nurses are being spread so thin they need clones of themselves just to be able to manage their patients, let alone have lives outside work.

As any system grows then, so too grows the need for that system to be able to function with efficacy. What works for a system might not work when that system grows. Processes diverge and converge. Which makes it important is to ensure that a certain level of homeostasis is always kept intact so that everything continues to function as a whole. One size never did fit all.

Simply put, what this means for healthcare providers is that the avenues through which communications flow—internally between staff members and the various faculties, and externally between the centres themselves and patients / external stakeholders—must be uncluttered, unclogged and free flowing.

Fortunately, the technology necessary to ensure that internal and external communications run smoothly is already here and better than that, it’s well established. It’s been tried, tested, and around a long time. It’s not overly technical and simply put, it works. The only thing left to do for facilities within the healthcare sector is to figure out exactly what is required for them specifically (because to reiterate, one size doesn’t fit all).

Of course, because it’s our specialty, the rest of this article will spell out just a few of the ways in which healthcare providers are using SMS to streamline their communication processes. But first, allow me a slight digression to outline a couple of the reasons why so many in the healthcare industry are turning to the power of SMS to improve their business processes.

The Growth of SMS

SMS Growth

SMS is one of those communication technologies that’s matured over the last decade. For this reason alone, we know that it’s a technology that the majority of people are comfortable with, that the majority of people have access to, and that the majority of people know exactly how to use. It’s a simple, reliable service and it’s everywhere.

The most noteworthy factor in this pool of positives is as I vaguely alluded to above; SMS is a demonstrably trusted service. Consider that 97% of SMS are opened, and that of that 97%, 90% are read within three minutes of being received. Gel those figures in with that the average response rate for SMS is 90 seconds and that 75% of people would prefer to have offers sent to them via SMS rather than see them as mobile ads while they scroll through apps or browsers. What you get is a platform that people frequently use, one that’s so common to people that they trust it.

While many believe SMS to be dying off, the truth is that SMS is now more integrated into our lives at both a professional level than ever before.

SMS in the Healthcare Industry

Healthcare SMS

But enough about that. Let’s get back to the healthcare industry, and lay down a few specific examples of how SMS is allowing healthcare providers to build a smooth and seamless communications infrastructure.

Patient Follow-ups, Reminders, Appointments

Healthcare providers also use SMS to keep patients updated about their appointment times. Doing this serves hugely in terms of cutting down no-shows.

It’s also a big benefit on the patients’ end, as it organises those not always so organised. In the healthcare industry, where customers are not just customers—but patients—missing an appointment can sometimes have dire results, on which there is no need to elaborate.

Similarly, many patients will require follow-up calls to measure how they’ve been feeling, perhaps, for example, after being prescribed a new medicine.

Because it’s a two-way system, patients can text back with a thumbs up to say that everything is a-okay, or alternatively, be given a number to call if they think something might not be quite right and that they need to schedule in another appointment.

This can cut admin costs substantially and let the human-power be spent in better places.

Alerts and Updates

The use of alerts and updated in the healthcare industry via SMS is a critical component of any patient / staff communication.

It can be a difficult task to monitor ones unwell loved on, especially with family, personal and work obligation pulling you in different directions. That's why a simple SMS can make such a difference and help keep family members informed 24/7.

SMS can also be used to inform patients or the public surrounding medical alerts. For example, let's say that a highly contagious viruses is swarming through our cities, terrifying the healthy and not so healthy? What can be done?

A simple burst message campaign would let you target hundreds if not thousands of individuals giving them information about what's going on and informing them as to where they can seek medical advice if needed.

Internal Communications Between Staff

SMS has the ability to be the glue that keeps your infrastructure together. Staff meetings, changes to the timetable, staff member birthday parties—these are all areas to which SMS could lend its helpful, organisational hand and take the hassle out of constantly playing voicemail ping pong with staff.

For a real world example of how a client of ours in the healthcare industry implemented SMS to better manage the response rates for available hours sent out to part-time nurses, follow through here and have a read.

So there you have it, a number of instances demonstrating how SMS can be used to create a seamless, smooth running communications infrastructure for centres in the healthcare sector. The only thing left to do is make it happen.

Would you like to learn more about how SMS integration can help grow organisations within the health industry? Find out more here.