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Reaching Patients in the Digital Age

Reaching Patients in the Digital Age

When was the last time you went the entire day without sending a text message?  No, the day you dropped your phone in the toilet doesn’t count.  The number of text messages sent each month has exploded since the beginning of the decade.  In 2000, 14 billion text messages were sent each month.  Just ten years later that number grew to 188 billion.  Text messages and emails are quickly replacing the conversations of yesteryear and if doctors want to keep pace with their patients, they better get digital.  Yes, even seniors send text messages more often than they talk these days.

So what does all this digital chatter mean for healthcare?  Opportunity – to improve compliance, increase satisfaction, reduce turnover, and raise reimbursement.

In a study conducted by Wakefield Research, researchers found 78% of patients that had previously forgotten to schedule an appointment for preventative healthcare had done so after receiving a text message reminder.  Honestly, how many of us would forget to put out the garbage or pick the kids up from soccer practice if it wasn’t for the handheld brain we call our smartphone?  It makes perfect sense to have doctors’ offices sending push notifications and reminder texts right to our phones.  Furthermore, the study showed that 67% of patients were willing to provide key health measurement data (height, weight, blood pressure) back to their physician through an app, text message, email or web survey.

As healthcare evolves from a transaction-based model to an outcomes focused model, the importance of patient monitoring and compliance is paramount.  Finding ways to engage, educate, and activate patients will be the key to surviving the uncertain terrain ahead.  Reaching patients through smartphones gives doctors the opportunity to speak directly to them in the channel of communication they prefer best.  Digital communication through text messages, push notifications, emails, and apps has the ability to empower patients by incorporating healthcare into their lives on a regular basis rather than just as an annual annoyance.

For more information about the Wakefield Research study or to learn more about incorporating patient engagement into your practice click here Wakefield Research / Varolii