The NHS loses £1 billion every year to problems caused by poor communication about healthcare. In England alone, 10 million physician appointments are wasted each year due to patients’ failure to attend. These problems loom large, but both have a simple solution: text messaging. The future of healthcare is digital.
Most services have adapted to modern communication methods. It’s time healthcare did as well. Patients want to interact with healthcare providers the same way they interact in every life. 76% of patients want text reminders before scheduled appointments, and 69% want them for appointments and medication refills. 98% of patients will read a mobile message, but only 7% read messages sent through a secure patient portal. Furthermore, using automated messages for reminders is lower than the cost of phone calls while reducing staff time by 17%.
It’s not only patients who would appreciate the addition of texting and SMS marketing. 80% of healthcare professionals think that patients would be more successful with coaching between appointments. That way, they can provide additional information and encouragement, answer follow-up questions as they arise, and reduce medical errors that arise from forgetting medication or neglecting to check vitals such as blood sugar. More than 200 million medication errors occur every year, costing £98.5 million annually.
Integrating communication channels and electronic medical records reduces the likelihood of errors and miscommunication. Connecting the two greatly reduces the risk of missed appointments. It can blend automation and personalization and enable real time conversation through a secure platform, something ad hoc use of mobile messaging by individual doctors currently does not guarantee.
After all, missing an appointment isn’t just about neglect. 33% of those who miss an appointment experience a health emergency within 3 months. 30% of hospital admissions result from patients’ failure to follow their treatment plan. Worse than wasting a physician’s time, missed appointments can lead to tragic outcomes. Simple reminders could go a long way to prevent these extreme measures.
Learn more about how the future of healthcare is digital in the visual deep dive below: