An overwhelming number of patients list communication with their facility and provider as being a key element of satisfaction, but communication does more than just boost morale. According to the Mayo Clinic, good communication can also improve patient outcomes and compliance. Patients who truly understand the medications they are taking, the procedures they are undergoing and the follow-up required are far more likely to comply with postoperative directions. Better compliance with medical advice equates to better outcomes for patients. While handing over a stack of printed instructions can help, regular text alerts can boost patient and provider interaction – without taking up valuable staff time.
1. Appointment and Preparation Alerts
The ability to alert a patient that a follow-up appointment or procedure has been scheduled allows caregivers and patients to recall important upcoming events. By providing confirmation of a newly scheduled visit via text, facilities offer an additional way for the patient to receive and retain this critical information. Add to that important preparation information including, for example, what to bring to their visit or when to begin fasting and the value of these alerts to both the patient and the provider increases significantly. Additional alerts leading up to the appointment can further improve compliance. Patients receive mass quantities of paperwork and oral instructions when scheduling an appointment or procedure – automated text messaging supplements and reinforces this information, resulting in a more prepared patient and smoother patient flow the day of their visit.
2. Delay Advisories Improve Patient Satisfaction
A recent study by researchers at the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education reveals that patients report higher levels of satisfaction with providers and facilities that are forthcoming about delays or wait times. According to the survey, information matters -- patients don’t mind waiting when they know there is a reason for the delay, but sitting uninformed in a waiting room or procedure room for a long period of time has a huge impact on patient satisfaction.
Simply alerting your patients to upcoming delays lets them know you are aware they are waiting and improves satisfaction levels. Text alert messages can let patients in your facility know that an appointment with a provider or a procedure will be delayed. Satisfied patients are more likely to return to your facility for follow-up care and for help when they need it.
3. Daily Encouragement and Tips
Researchers found that patients recovering from alcohol addiction were more compliant and reported fewer drinks per week when they received regular ongoing encouragement and tips via text. These daily reminders do not replace traditional care and treatment methods, but reinforce positive behaviors and keeps them in a receptive mindset. Patients who receive regular tips demonstrate higher levels of self-monitoring and are more likely to stay on task and reduce unhealthy behaviors, according to this study.
4. Automated Home Care Reminders
The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that post-visit medication compliance for children ranges from 11%-93%. While many factors impact compliance, including cost and palatability of the medication, researchers reveal that communication is paramount. Parents who understand the medication and follow-up care their children need and who are fully informed about the correct dosage and scheduling, are far more likely to comply and complete a course of treatment.
For postoperative patients, automated texting can provide valuable prompts to perform exercises, take medication and even to rest; by alerting patients to the need for these actions on a regular schedule, both compliance and outcomes can be improved.
Automatically messaging information to patients - from tips about the correct postoperative procedure to delay advisories and appointment alerts - can increase both patient satisfaction and outcomes. Text messaging can build valuable communication pathways and increase provider to patient connectivity without the need to add staff.
Thinking about a plan of your own?
Text Messaging: Designing a Program That Really Works
If you are reading this, you already know that the benefits of this communication channel are numerous and include boosting effectiveness and efficiency, improving outcomes and enhancing the patient experience. Realizing these benefits, however, is predicated on a well thought-out, end-to-end messaging initiative.