Text Your Way to Better Patient Compliance, Lower Costs

Oct 23, 2015 | Practice Management

Everyone sends texts now. Even, doctors are reaching out to patients to remind them of their health goals and appointments. We hope you’ll be inspired to come up with new ways to use texting in your practice.

It works for expectant mothers. How about glaucoma patients?

SMS service Text4baby, developed by Voxiva, gives tips and advice to expectant mothers throughout their pregnancies and beyond. Since February 2010, they’ve signed up more than 650,000 mothers. Text4baby’s initiative improved preparedness, confidence and awareness with messages like, “Morning sickness may be caused by a change in your hormones. Try eating crackers or dry cereal.” Jennifer Dyer, MD, an endocrinologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, started using SMS messaging to improve patient compliance with taking scheduled doses of insulin.

Cut time and costs

In addition to expanding a doctor or hospital’s reach, SMS messaging cuts time and costs associated with doctor to patient exchanges. Instead of hours spent making phone calls to patients for appointment reminders, doctor’s offices can send a text, which costs much less than making phone calls, and frees up staff time.

Mobile Health has also been used to reduce emergency room visits by 30% and hospital stays by 15-20%.

SMS messaging and HIPPA compliance

HIPPA laws create the biggest barrier to SMS messaging. Known to be insecure in its data, SMS messaging makes it difficult for electronic protected health information (ePHI) to be shared through such a service. Secure data centers and encryption are a couple of ways this issue is combated and enables mHealth programs to thrive while remaining HIPPA compliant.

Please share any ideas you might have about using text messaging in your practice.