Texting Helps Doctors Connect With Patients; Saves Practices Money
Long popular with teens, mobile messaging is now becoming a popular way for doctors to inform patients, increase office efficiency, and help their bottom line
New Haven, CT - April 29, 2009 - Text messaging is no longer just the way your teenaged daughter finds out who's dating who - the ever popular form of cell phone communication may soon replace how you find out the results of a medical exam or how your doctor reminds you of an upcoming appointment. According to a recent article in American Medical News, doctors' offices and hospitals around the country are adopting texting services as an optimal form of communication that is mutually beneficial to the patient and the medical professional.
Medical office staffs often waste hours a week personally calling patients to remind them of appointments, and appointment no-shows can cost offices significant amounts of money. Medical information experts say that text messaging patients to remind them of their upcoming appointment has successfully decreased missed appointments while creating greater personnel efficiency in the front office.
To identify the real benefits of text messaging, insurance provider Kaiser Permanente conducted a six-month pilot program. Their findings revealed a 0.7% drop in appointment no-shows, which translated to 1,837 visits and $275,500 dollars. Permanente sent patients reminders for appointments as well as outreach text messages reminding patients to maintain their annual mammogram, Pap smear, and cardiovascular disease screenings. Kaiser described the vast majority of their patients as very receptive to the new service - with less than 3 percent of the patients asking to stop receiving the texts.
"Just as health care evolves and improves, so does doctor-patient health care communications," said Kevin Aniskovich, Chief Executive of the healthcare communications company Intelecare, which specializes in personal medical reminders for healthy living. "Proper use of technology can provide significant advantages in increasing medical compliance rates as demonstrated by the Kaiser study and no shortage of other studies citing similar results. Texting may not make sense for every age demographic, but among those that embrace this technology in their lives it provides demonstrable results."
To make a mobile messaging service effective, practices simply need the current cell phone numbers of their patients and a web-based system that composes and sends the messages automatically. However, health care communications experts stress that patients should be given the option to opt out of receiving messages and that sensitive information - such as positive test results - should still be delivered personally.
"At the end of the day, providers should simply allow patients to direct their health care communication preferences - a slight shift in this way of thinking could land successes for the physician, practice and their patients," suggested Aniskovich.
"Embracing mobile technologies will not be an exercise in futility," said Aniskovich. "In a study conducted by market research giant Nielsen Company, results indicate that texting is now more popular than calling someone on the telephone."
To read the article in full, please visit: http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2009/03/23/bica0323.htm
For more information on the Nielsen study, please visit: http://www.nielsenmobile.com/html/press%20releases/TextsVersusCalls.html
Established in 2005, Intelecare Compliance Solutions is a privately owned healthcare information technology company that provides an array of practical tools and services promoting medical adherence. With 84 percent of patients reporting forgetfulness as the major cause of non-compliance, and with the healthcare system suffering over $300 billion in costs annually due to non-compliance, Intelecare's solutions enable patients and caregivers alike to keep track of medications, doses, and doctor's appointments through the phone, mobile devices, and email - all while keeping simplicity, practicality, and innovation at the heart of its developments.
Aside from individual end-user services, Intelecare provides and manages a suite of scalable services for insurers, employers, retail pharmacies, non-profit organizations and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Currently supporting millions of subscribers, Intelecare is dedicated to finding functional solutions to the widespread issue of medical non-compliance for individuals around the world that work the way people live.
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*Intelecare is a registered trademark of Intelecare Compliance Solutions, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.