Why isn’t texting a huge phenomenon in healthcare marketing? Wouldn’t it be beneficial for patients to be able to connect to their doctors as quickly as they do a friend?
The majority of physicians still do not correspond with their patients via text messaging.
This is quite an unfortunate case, indeed, since many patients have requested this type of communication from their doctors.
Let’s discover a few reasons why we should consider reaching our patients through text messaging as well as different ways in which the healthcare industry can use text messaging. Only through communicating these ideas can we truly see some changes made in the healthcare marketing industry.
Benefits of text messaging in healthcare marketing
Reaching patients where they are is crucial.
The traditional phone call approach is becoming outdated in healthcare marketing. It simply is not very effective at adapting to and creating adherence with patients.
Statistics show that at least 97% of American use their texting app (the most widely used app) at least once per day. Additionally, only 43% of smartphone owners use their phone to make a call, but over 70% of smartphone owners use text.
In fact, many smartphone users prefer text over phone calls!
These facts alone should give a clear indication of what today’s patients need regarding communication with their physicians.
This means that texting is a way to connect with patients who are on the go and have busy lives. It also means that physicians have a widely used, instant, and mostly inexpensive method of reaching out to their patients.
Texting can be accessed at any time and remains one of the most asynchronous modes of communication.
Some ways text messaging is used in healthcare marketing
Studies show that when collecting patient responses, texting works better than phone calls. One way physicians are using text messaging is for patient surveys.
When physicians have user surveys for patients to fill out, they can do so on their own timing and they don’t have to feel rushed. They can also feel free to be completely honest in their responses, as opposed to a phone call that demands answers on the spot.
Another reason text messaging works for patient surveys is that data is more manageable and neatly compiled and organized into a database. This obviously makes the researcher’s job a whole lot easier.
Surveys also help with gathering feedback after a patient has been discharged. A series of multiple choice questions can be given to make the feedback quicker and easier for the patient who may be more likely to respond via SMS than by phone.
Text messaging also offers a great way for people to connect with healthcare organizations through opt-ins. With a 6-digit shortcode, which can be easily purchased, users can opt-in to receive information from a variety of organizations who want to connect with them personally.
Rather than using expensive advertising options such as billboards and posters or social media campaigns, a quick and simple solution is to have patients opt in to begin receiving texts.
The Direct Marketing Association suggests that SMS text messaging response rates can be anywhere from 26 to 51%. This is significantly higher than response rates achieved through telemarketing, direct mail, or email.
On a more personal note, people feel more connected to their healthcare providers through SMS. Let’s take a look at how follow-ups can be helpful to patients.
Many patients feel that they are being reached out to in a personal way when they receive a follow-up after a doctor visit.
In some cases, patients receive confirmation messages once they have made their appointments. This is key to their own scheduling needs. It’s many times easier to have a backup of their appointment scheduled time in their text messaging than to have to remember later on to put it on their calendar.
Additionally, some doctor’s offices even go so far as to add a link to the appointment location in Google maps, an even more convenient way to ensure patients understand where to arrive and when.
In addition to follow-ups, patients love to know that their providers are offering feedback to help them continue to improve their health. Let’s take a look at how community education is one reason SMS can be useful in healthcare marketing.
Teaching patients to care for their health and take over preventive care for themselves is one benefit of SMS.
As patients sign up for text messaging for preventive health information, they oftentimes feel more appreciative of and helped by the healthcare system.
A review conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services shows that after over 60 different text-messaging interventions, that there were significant improvements found in chronic conditions such as asthma, as well as diabetes management and smoking cessation.
This was all due to healthcare organizations first opting in their patients to text messaging programs and studies.
Certain organizations have designed and launched programs to help users to reach specific health goals.
One example of this is text4baby. The White House recently released text4baby, which is a program that sends out text tips to expectant mothers in order to decrease infant health problems and premature births.
Truth On Call is another example of community education via SMS. Truth On Call is a paid service that allows patients to use their SMS to ask thousands of healthcare professionals questions
Why reaching patients is important
Reaching patients through SMS is important today because, obviously, landlines are in the past. We are rapidly moving forward into the future of cell phone usage, with the majority of people forgoing a landline in their homes.
As more people move away from landlines and toward mobile use, there will be more acceptance of SMS text messaging.
The healthcare industry should want to reach patients in a more effective manner. Their desires and needs matter and they should be addressed by the industry. When patients feel heard, they are more likely to look favorably upon their physician’s practice.
One way to ensure a patient receives more connection outside of the doctor’s office is through SMS text messaging.
Hopefully, these tips have been helpful to you in understanding the importance of text messaging in the healthcare marketing industry.
For more information on texting visit PureText.