Text messaging celebrates its 30th birthday next year—the first text message was sent in 1992—however it’s creators would hardly recognize their invention which today has evolved into a world-changing communications technology. It’s snowballed from a trendy way for friends to informally chat to be an integral part of day-to-day communications for consumers, businesses, organizations—you name it, they’re using it.
From delivery notifications when an Amazon package arrives on your doorstep, to a way to provide a sales transaction receipt, to curbside restaurant or grocery pickup, to measuring online attendance at church services, texting is replacing most other modes of communication when it comes to fast, efficient, and convenient interaction. Americans rely on texting as much as they count on always having their smartphone by their side.
It’s also the case in the health and medical care sectors. In most places you can now connect with a 9-1-1 call center with a text, and beginning in July 2022, people will be able to text 9-8-8 to connect with a national suicide hotline network. They’re even finding new ways to use texting to fight the COVID pandemic. New research found that primary care physicians who texted patients vaccine notifications prior to a scheduled care appointment increased preventive vaccinations for the flu by 5 percent, which has timely implications for the rollout of the COVID vaccine.
When it comes to getting as many COVID vaccine shots in arms as quickly as possible, texting has been an indispensable 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, through texting.
- Boston Children’s Hospital was able to use their text-first patient communication technology to schedule staff to receive the COVID vaccine.
- A large health system in Alaska used its group messaging capabilities to send 20,000 text messages to nearly 10,000 eligible patients to rollout their COVID vaccine program. Within a matter of weeks, they vaccinated nearly 5,000 patients from those efforts.
But in an even larger sense, text messaging is the new normal for how healthcare providers communicate and engage with 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, accessible and effective way for providers to reduce no-shows and increase confirmations and get patients the 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.
To learn more about how a text-first approach and a more refined appointment workflow can help you reduce no-shows, increase confirmations, and keep you connected to patients before, during, and after the visit, check out the guide, “The Perfect Appointment Workflow: A Path to Improve Patient Outcomes and Increased Revenue.”