Messaging • Last Updated 9/29/2023

6 Healthcare SMS Use Cases

SMS response rates and convenience make text messaging ideal for almost all caregiver-to-patient and internal communication.

By Michael Bratschi

Doctor using SMS

SMS response rates and convenience make text messaging ideal for almost all caregiver-to-patient communication and internal communication between healthcare employees. And, since SMS enables two-way communication, SMS can streamline and automate repetitive processes and regular communication.

Although the potential use cases for healthcare SMS are broad, most focus on building better patient relationships and improving patient engagement.

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Appointment Reminders

Missed appointments are one of the biggest drains on healthcare revenues and patient health. SMS appointment reminders have proven to be one of the best solutions to this problem.

SMS appointment reminders can be automated, which reduces the required effort from healthcare providers and removes the possibility of failing to send appointment reminders. Additionally, SMS communication streamlines the process of rescheduling appointments. So, patients are more likely to schedule and show up for their appointments.

Aftercare Instructions

The majority of healthcare documentation has moved to digital media. And, people have their phones with them most of the time.

Supplementing paper aftercare instructions with SMS aftercare instructions makes the information more accessible and easier for patients to keep. People frequently lose paper documents more than they lose their smartphones, and digital documents are easily backed up and redelivered. In short, patients are more likely to read and follow aftercare instructions when they’re delivered via SMS.

Capturing Patient Feedback

Getting patient feedback can be extremely difficult because there’s very little incentive for people to make the effort once they’ve received their treatment. So, the convenience of SMS significantly improves patient feedback response rates.

Sending feedback requests and allowing patients to submit feedback via SMS is the most convenient feedback channel for patients. SMS also has a massive usability advantage over paper feedback forms, since the feedback is already in a digital format, which is easily uploaded to patient databases or tracking software for aggregation and analysis.

Streamlining Prescription Refills

Automated SMS prescription refill reminders reduce missed refills. Additionally, patients can order prescription refills with a few simple SMS messages. The entire process of ordering refills and scheduling a pickup appointment via SMS can be completed in a minute or two, which means patients are more likely to do it.

Improving Accessibility to Healthcare Education

Sending medication side effects and diagnostic information via SMS helps ensure that people read and understand the information. SMS delivery also makes it more convenient for patients to retain and reference the material as needed.

Critical alerts and information can be sent directly in an SMS message. Vital, but less urgent, information can be delivered via a clickable link in a text message.

Clinical Trial Recruiting and Feedback

SMS automates and streamlines the process of recruiting and gathering feedback from clinical trials. Patients can opt into or out of a clinical trial by responding to a single automated SMS message, which can be sent to entire patient databases at once. And, SMS is the most convenient feedback channel for patients and clinical trial hosts. Patients can quickly and easily respond to yes/no or multiple choice questions, and the responses are easily moved to digital databases for processing.

There are more potential healthcare SMS use cases. But, the theme is consistent: SMS offers convenient, reliable two-way communication that enables healthcare providers to engage and work with patients more efficiently than other communication channels.

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