10 reasons why healthcare providers should be using SMS

SMS, the cost-effective solution for patient communications

We know that our healthcare providers are working harder than ever across the entire industry. Streamlining communications and providing access to self-service where possible, is the key to decreasing admin time and inbound call traffic.

But don’t just take our word for it! A recent group case study with the Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust highlighted how SMS appointment reminders and their wider digital communications had helped reduce missed appointments by 27%.

More recently and together with our parent company imimobile, we supported Oxford University to conduct COVID-19 research via mobile using our Messenger platform.

To highlight how SMS can help achieve all of this for your practice, we’ve put together 10 of the top ways SMS can really transform the patient experience and reduce the strain on staff.

1. Appointment reminders

A staple of SMS for so many includes pharmacies, dentists, opticians, and GP practices. A simple reminder 24 hours ahead of an appointment gives patients the time and option to rearrange as needed or act as a handy prompt.

We’re also acutely aware of the vaccine roll-out that is currently ongoing, with many centres sending letters out to confirm a vaccination appointment. Substituting letters for a bulk daily SMS send could save both time and costs. Additionally, mobile communications open the door for confirmations and reminders for these crucial appointments.

2. Confirmations and cancellations

Secondary to the above, appointment confirmations offer peace of mind and a point of reference. Similarly, SMS can enable cancellations where patients can no longer attend an appointment without increasing inbound calls.

3. Access to support and additional services

SMS as a channel can be used to allow access to essential support services and other facilities. Share online materials, relevant links and helpful information in attachment form or tracked links.

4. SMS Keyword

Re-direct inbound traffic to free up phone lines and staff by directing more mundane questions through text messaging. Patients can send in requests for more information or help packs using an SMS keyword. For example, text QUIT to get support to stop smoking.

5. Fully integrated for seamless sends

Our SMS API facilitates seamless customer communications from within your existing systems to automatically send reminders and alerts. Some SMS providers can be costly and take longer to integrate, but our easy to implement solution can have you set up and ready to send in just a few moments.

6. SMS long number

An SMS long number makes it simple to have real-time two-way conversations beyond automated responses. For patients who don’t feel comfortable discussing their health needs over the phone or in person, SMS can provide a sense of comfort and anonymity whilst still facilitating important conversations.

7. Share educational information

SMS can provide access to helpful information without visiting health centres in person. Share everything from tips for healthy eating and healthcare advice for minor ailments to specific support as downloadable PDFs.

8. Wait time updates

During busier periods, you can let patients know the current wait time for walk-in appointments so that they can avoid unnecessary delays. Similarly, your staff can avoid being further overwhelmed with walk-ins.

9. Check-up reminders

To further reduce the strain on resources, providers can automate reminders for bi-annual eye tests or check-ups. Patients can then respond or use online services to book a routine appointment.

10. Alerts

Let patients know when prescriptions are ready for collection or that their test results are in with a reliable SMS alert. One of the many qualities of SMS is its accessibility. Text messaging is native to every mobile device; meaning patient do not need to download an app or log in to access important updates.

These are just some ways SMS can support those within the healthcare industry. Whether you’re new to the channel or have been using text messaging in some form, are your patient communications working as hard as they could be for your practice? Get in touch today to see how else our Messenger platform can help.

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Over 98% of the text messages sent from our SMS tool are opened and read. That’s unmatched communication power for your business. Try it for yourself.