Text Messaging Can Help Improve Patient Outcomes

Population Health,Mobile

In the last five years, text messaging has replaced a large portion of how people communicate. Telephone calls are often ignored and responded to via text message. Everything from friendly chats to weather notifications are communicated via text.

While texting has historically been considered a social tool, it is now being utilized by businesses to more effectively reach their customer base. The same strategy can be used in health care, albeit, with changes and modifications to comply with HIPAA regulations and other privacy laws. In fact, many health care providers are utilizing text messaging as a streamlined and effective way to reach their patients.

How is Text Messaging Used in Health Care?

Recent research by the HRSA has shown that text messaging effectively touches often hard-to-reach populations, including those who do not typically respond well to phone calls or for whom English is a second language, leading to positive patient outcomes. It has also been shown to positively impact behavioral changes in populations that suffer from certain unhealthy habits or health conditions including smokers and diabetics. 

Smoking quit rates for the text messaging intervention group were 36% higher compared to the control group quit rates

A recent study supports the role text messaging can play in improving patient outcomes.Text messages have been used to improve smoking cessation outcomes, including quitting rates, as well as the success of those looking to decrease their tobacco intake.

Messaging improves patient's understanding of their condition, promotes accountability, and helps structure the steps they need to take to regain and maintain their health and wellness. Based on the positive results, it is clear that text messaging can play a role in everything from preventative health to chronic condition management.

Text messaging - both standard SMS messaging and secure messaging that support HIPAA compliant communication - is the wave of the future for health care facilities, be it hospitals, ambulatory care facilities, or clinics. As the needs and desires of health care consumers change, the health care industry must rise up to meet those needs - and do it in a way that is efficient and effective. Text messaging does just that.