It’s been almost 30 years since the first text message was sent in 1992. In this relatively short period of time, the technology has transformed into a world-changing communications platform, one which its creators would scarcely recognize today. Text messaging has progressed from being a popular way for friends to casually chat to becoming a crucial component of daily communications for consumers, businesses, and organizations alike.
Whether it’s receiving a delivery notification when an Amazon package arrives on your doorstep, coordinating a curbside restaurant or grocery pickup, or calculating online attendance at church services, texting is taking the place of most other methods of communication when it incomes to quick, effective, and convenient interaction. Americans, in particular, rely on texting as much as they count on always having their smartphones by their side.
This is also the case in the healthcare and medical sectors. In most places, you can now communicate with a 9-1-1 call center via text. Beginning in July 2022, individuals will be able to text 9-8-8 to connect with a national suicide hotline network. Organizations are even discovering new ways to use text messaging to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
New research has found that primary care physicians who texted their patients vaccine notifications ahead of a scheduled care appointment increased preventative vaccinations for the flu by 5% – a statistic which has timely implications for the ongoing rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.
In terms of getting as many COVID-19 vaccine shots into the arms of the general public as quickly as possible, text messaging has been an invaluable tool to reach and educate more people.
- Allied Physicians Group, a large pediatrics group, shared information about its patient and family webinars – including one about COVID-19 – through texting.
- Boston Children’s Hospital was able to utilize its text-first patient communication technology to schedule staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
- A large health system in Alaska took advantage of its group messaging capabilities to dispatch 20,000 text messages to nearly 10,000 eligible patients as part of the rollout of their COVID-19 vaccine program. Within a matter of weeks, they were able to vaccinate nearly 5,000 patients from those efforts alone.
But in a broader sense, text messaging has become the new normal for how healthcare providers communicate and engage with their patients. From automated text reminders, to pre-visit instructions and digital intake, to post-appointment care instructions and follow-up notifications, text messaging is a quick, easy-to-use, and effective way for providers to help reduce no-shows, increase appointment confirmations, and get patients the quality care they need.
By creating a single-patient communication and engagement appointment workflow, providers can support both virtual and in-person visits at every point along the patient journey.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Patient Portal integrated into EncounterWorks’ EHR system enables patients to review current and past medical history, make payments, and securely communicate with your organization. Patients can even request appointments and update their demographic information to help keep patient information up to date.
How Can EncounterWorks’ Patient Portal Benefit Your Practice?
- Gain new patients
- Engage directly with patients
- Increase patient satisfaction
- Improve patient education
- More patient visits
- Reduced data entry for staff
- Automated reminders
- Fewer missed appointments
- Improve patient communication
If you’re interested in learning more about EncounterWorks EHR, request your demo today or reach out to us at 877.884.3367!
An earlier version of this article appeared on the SRhealth.com blog.