Healthcare Marketing SMS

Best uses of text messaging (SMS) in health care marketing

Two-way text messaging can be one of the most effective communication strategies in health care for increasing patient engagement and reducing no-show appointments, whether you’re marketing for a hospital system, dental clinic or surgery center. 

The statistics speak for themselves: 

Patient engagement is critical to helping health care organizations achieve better patient care, lower costs and improved health outcomes. Research has shown that patients who are engaged in their own care and medical decision making are more likely to exhibit health-improving behaviors and keep up with recommended preventive care, reducing rates of unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency room visits. 

Here, we cover how SMS marketing is currently used in the health care landscape and why you should consider using it as a part of your overall marketing strategy. 

Most common and successful uses of SMS in health care 

Although it had a slow start, text messaging in health care is becoming a norm because of its wide coverage, ease of customization and ability to be scaled at a low cost.  

Today, SMS is commonly used for a variety of health care marketing and communication purposes, including to: 

  • Utilize text-based scheduling, which frees phone lines for other health-related inquiries 
  • Send automated text reminders for prescription pickup and refills, which leads to more prescriptions being filled 
  • Communicate delays that may impact appointment times, which improves patient satisfaction 
  • Connect patients directly with their provider, which allows providers to follow up with clear instructions and answer simple questions 
  • Send general information about medication use and illness management, which enables patients to better self-manage their health 

Text messaging in health care can also be used for traditional marketing purposes, like letting patients know about new service lines or locations, upcoming events and fundraising campaigns. It can even be used to remind patients about emails your organization has sent to improve open rates. 

What about HIPAA compliance? 

To use text messages for communicating protected health information (PHI), certain standards must be met to ensure the messages are HIPAA compliant. This includes technical safety measures such as: 

  • Ensuring secure messages by encrypting them in transit so they can’t be intercepted on public Wi-Fi networks 
  • Monitoring and logging all messages so they can be traced back to the individual who sent them 
  • Automatic log-off capabilities for any technology used to send messages to prevent unauthorized access 
  • The ability to recall messages if they are accidentally sent to the wrong person 

Ensuring HIPAA compliance is complex and may apply differently to organizations of different sizes and service lines. Always be sure to consult with an expert in PHI messaging compliance before sending any messages. 

4 reasons you should consider text messaging in health care marketing 

Two-way text messaging between health care organizations and patients brings ample benefits from both a business and patient experience standpoint. It can lead to better utilization of resources, lower costs to the organization and patients, and improved satisfaction for both patients and staff. 

Here are a few reasons to incorporate text messaging in your health care marketing channels. 

1. It improves health outcomes.

SMS reminders double the odds that a patient will adhere to any prescribed medications that could be critical to their long-term health. Additionally, using text messaging in health care interventions, such as appointment reminders and pre- and post-procedure instructions, leads to increased patient adherence to medical plans, resulting in better health management and improved outcomes.

2. It increases access to essential health information.

Text messaging can be used to provide patients with written instructions, educational videos, websites and articles related to their health condition to improve the patient’s health literacy. This can lead to a better understanding of their treatment plan, enabling patients to play a more active role in their care.

3. It can reduce costs and increase revenue.

Sending automated text reminders about appointments can drastically reduce no-shows by giving patients a chance to reschedule in advance. This makes it more likely that your organization can fill abandoned time slots to increase revenue.  

Text messages can also be used to:  

  • Send reminders about bills and overdue payments, increasing the likelihood that outstanding balances will be paid on time 
  • Make better use of internal resources, as sending mass texts takes far less time and manpower than making individual calls to patients 
  • Increase productivity, which contributes to an improved ROI 
  • Reduce inefficient use of the health care system, which is associated with higher patient engagement 

4. It improves patient satisfaction.

Texting is quick and convenient, enabling health care organizations to provide patients with faster responses and easier scheduling. Because it increases patient engagement, texting can also help patients save money, as patients who are more active in their care experience less visits to their general practitioner and the emergency department.  

Improved health care marketing results start here. 

Text messaging in health care is an efficient, low-cost and widely accessible method for improving health outcomes and other business metrics. Your competitors are using SMS marketing for patient engagement, and you should be too. 

TruStar Marketing specializes in health care marketing, and we are experts in navigating industry complexities to drive results. It’s easy to connect for an informal hello and introduction. We’re happy to help, even if you just want to talk. Let us know if you’d like a brief introductory virtual meeting or coffee here.   

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