How to use SMS for the Healthcare Industry

May 15, 2017 - 5 minutes read

Effective communication in healthcare is pivotal to managing the tasks that go into guiding a patient from sickness to health. Twenty-four years after the first SMS, this “old” technology has found new and innovative ways to make itself relevant to the healthcare industry. SMS, a medium once confined to mobile has now expanded its capabilities to help healthcare agencies manage administrative tasks, patient care, internal communications and marketing with ease and at an affordable cost. While smartphone usage, and with it, the reliance on apps is steadily on the rise, it still hasn’t caught on with the ubiquity of cellular phones. While 92% of US adults in the 18-29 demographic own a smartphone the percentage decreases for older demographics with only 42% of adults over 65 owning a smartphone. SMS or text messaging, a common thread between smartphones and basic phones, needs to be an intricate part of your healthcare communications strategy.

Text messaging plays its role in healthcare communications by helping cut down on appointment no-shows, making sure patients stick to medication schedules or informing staff about timetable changes. Today, the move to cloud platforms has further expanded the capabilities of SMS through automation, better personalization and application integrations that make your SMS campaigns work in sync with other healthcare applications.

sms for healthcare

Appointment Reminders and Alerts

Healthcare facilities and personnel have to deal with hundreds and thousands of appointments every day. New appointments come in, old ones are confirmed or canceled, and then many fail to show up altogether. Managing this process can be frustrating and confusing unless there is a proper communication strategy in place. By asking patients to sign-up to SMS updates, healthcare facilities can reach out to patients with SMS reminders before the day of the appointment.  By setting up your keywords, the SMS can ask the patient to confirm with a “Yes” or a “No”. A “Yes” will automatically confirm the appointment while a “No” can be made to trigger the next SMS asking them to reschedule or thank the patient for the update.

Further SMS alerts can be set up to inform patients about test results, recurring checkups, and prescription refills. Recurring alerts can be used to make sure patients adhere to their medication schedule and also encourage them through educational information, health tips and more.

For in-house hospital communications that extend beyond patient care, healthcare facilities can use SMS for notifications about cleaning and maintenance schedules, timetable changes, staff meetings and informal affairs such as employee birthdays.

What can you do with CallHub?

Schedule text messages

An automated service lets you plan and schedule your text messages to be sent out at the time of your choosing. You can set up SMS campaigns to send appointment reminders before the day of the appointment or use it to automatically send out invites before an event.

Personalize messages

Personalize your messages with custom “tags” that let you automatically include individual details into your SMS. For example, a generic message like “Please confirm your appointment with ABC. Reply with “Yes” to confirm or “No” to reschedule.” can turn into something more personal like, “Hey John, Please confirm your appointment at 11.30 with ABC. Reply with “Yes” to confirm or “No” to reschedule.”.

Sign-up campaigns

Patients can sign-up to receive reminders, updates, and alerts by messaging a keyword to the number of your healthcare facility. You can also use the feature to collect patient details which can be updated to your phonebook or synced with your CRM.

Automated responses

You can set up automatic responses to messages based on keywords. For example, patients responding with “Yes” to an appointment confirmation message can be sent a thank you message with the confirmed details, and those responding with “No” can be sent a text message asking if they’d like to reschedule.

How do I get started?

For a demo of how to run a text messaging campaign through CallHub, watch this simple video tutorial.

Watch demo on text message campaigns

Or sign up right now to get started for free.

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