Can you Improve Patient Outcomes with SMS?
Articles - 2 min read

Can you Improve Patient Outcomes with SMS?

Communication is one of the healthcare industry’s biggest challenges. It’s a problem that impacts patient engagement and outcomes, as well as the caregiver’s ability to provide effective treatment.

To understand the impact communication can have in a healthcare setting, consider these statistics:

- More than 250,000 deaths occur each year due to medical error, with an estimated 80% from caregiver miscommunication. - More than 30% of medical malpractice cases are a result of miscommunication. - Missed appointments and no-shows cost the U.S. healthcare system $150 billion each year. - 25% of hospital readmissions could be avoided with better communication.

Patient portals were meant to be a solution to the communication problem, but they have been largely ineffective. Though the portals themselves can positively impact patient outcomes, they aren’t being used consistently.

Based on a 2017 U.S. Government Accountability Office report, 88% of hospitals and 87% of healthcare professionals provide patients with a way to electronically access their health information. However, only 15% of hospital patients and 30% from other care settings actually use the portal — even if they sign up for it. The factors contributing to this disparity include usability, age, education level and a preference for direct communication.

The problem is that healthcare organizations are trying to get patients to adopt new technologies rather than leveraging the ones they already use. That’s why text messaging has become a popular alternative.

We check our phones around 80 times a day, and 98% of texts are opened, with an average response time of under two minutes. The immediacy and convenience of texting make it an incredibly effective — and inexpensive — communication channel across industries, including healthcare.
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