Preparing for surgery can be overwhelming for patients, particularly given the amount of instructions and paperwork that is required prior the actual procedure. One missed step can result in a case cancellation, which means lost revenue to the surgical center and more importantly, dissatisfied patients an surgeons. Voice conversations and paper brochures or instructions sheets aren’t enough to reinforce compliance with testing, special preparations and NPO instructions.
As patients try and juggle their everyday activities related to work and family, in addition to their own health, they need timely and immediate communications on what they need to do and when they need to do it. Text messaging provides a simple and immediate way to reinforce important instructions prior to surgery to ensure that patients are more prepared.
So how can a patient text messaging service support surgery prep?
1. Delivering bite-sized information
Patients facing large chunks of information to digest tend to feel overwhelmed and anxious. Their response is to ignore the paperwork until the last minute, or to cancel appointments and surgeries altogether. But by breaking down the information and sending small amounts over longer periods, the information is easier to process, helping patients deal with the pressure of surgery prep on a more realistic and practical scale.
2. Providing personalized information
Preoperative paperwork is generally written for the surgery rather than the patient. It takes little account of the individual’s personal needs and can seem cold and uncaring. But providing the information as part of a patient text messaging service means the information can be personalized; details such as their specific drug routines and conditions can be included, as long as HIPAA-compliant testing is used to protect confidential data. With this approach, patients know that the information they get is collected for and delivered only to them, making them feel more valued as an individual and reducing anxiety over the upcoming procedure.
3. Sending time-sensitive details
The time leading up to an operation may involve the patient needing to take specific steps to prepare, such as fasting, changing drug routines, or making lifestyle changes such as reducing alcohol intake, stopping smoking, or losing weight. Reminder texts can be sent at specific time intervals to keep the patient on track, support the adjustments they need to make, and motivate them to reach their goals.
4. Offering post-operative guidelines
One of the concerns many patients face is how they will cope after surgery. If they have experienced patient text messaging prior to the surgery and know that the service will continue afterward, the concern is alleviated. Texts can also be easily shared with family members involved in aftercare, reducing the patient’s stress and improving aftercare compliance.
5. Yielding better surgical outcomes and shorter recovery times
The aim of surgery is to improve the quality of life for the patient. Text messaging supports this aim by ensuring that the patient is more prepared and less concerned about undergoing the surgery. In turn, this cuts down not only recovery time, but also the risk of readmittance to the hospital.
Thinking about texting patients?
Learn from Our Customers
Watch the archive from our webinar to learn how KU MedWest Surgery Center and the Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota are taking advantage of this communication channel to engage their patients.