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Healthcare organisations and the NHS lose thousands of pounds each year to missed appointments, as well as wasting valuable resources. It is a factor that has been prevalent for years with numerous campaigns attempting to resolve the issue. Harnessing the power of SMS messaging could prevent this scenario, however, via a simple reminder text.
SMS messaging is an extremely useful and reliable form of communication to deliver alerts, notifications and reminders to patients, staff and suppliers. Mobile phone users (90% of UK adults own a mobile phone) have constant access to their devices and SMS messages can be received and read instantly – usually within four minutes. With a two-way channel in place, it also provides an accessible and cheap facility for recipients to reply and could significantly reduce missed appointments.
An SMS service could also be used for a variety of other external communications ranging from informing patients about the availability of test results and sending them reminders about overdue bills to marketing campaigns and delivering health warnings or information.
In this instance, bulk SMS is the cheapest and most effective form of communication. SMS messaging is also an extremely useful channel for internal communications, which could help improve administrative processes and, crucially, save time and resources.
There are numerous ways that SMS messaging can be exploited to improve healthcare communication:
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