When speaking of SMS, most link the medium with basic text-based communication and marketing potential, but recently we’ve seen a shift of thinking by way of utilizing SMS for other practical uses beyond its traditional means.
A prime example is what we’re seeing in the health care field in terms of utilizing SMS for various patient communication, reminders and even significant cost-savings for health care providers. “For better or worse, this technology is here,” said Delphine Robotham, Pediatrician for John Hopkins Children’s Center. “Sending a text to a patient’s cell phone about an upcoming appointment or a test or simply to remind them to take their meds is a great example of how we can harness new communication technology for a greater good.”
John Hopkins Children’s Center has conducted several studies on the use of SMS in a medical context, along with several other health care providers recently, to understand the immense benefits the medium can provide- even given the simplicity of the concept. Simply reminding patients to take certain medications can provide an invaluable resource for patients and providers alike. Beyond that, uses include obtaining information from patients via SMS when other forms of communication might not be viable or convenient.
For example, one study involving children with diabetes showed improved blood glucose testing rates when integrated with SMS-based communication. These children also were more likely to share their blood glucose test readings with their doctor’s office. In another study, patients on immunosuppressive drugs after a liver transplant, for example, had improved medicine adherence, and a liver study detected measurable clinical benefits from text-messaging- including acute liver rejection episodes dropping dramatically as a result of better medicine adherence by way of SMS communication.
MobileStorm recently concluded an SMS-based appointment reminder integration with Kaiser Permanente, the nations largest not-for-profit health care provider, to mainly help cut costs of no-shows due to forgotten appointments and a simple lack of communication between the facility and its patients. In the end, Kaiser realized a cost savings of $150 per appointment, their no-show cost, which equated to a total cost savings of over $275,000 at a single clinic- proving what an extraordinary asset SMS can be to industries such as health care. Download the complete Kaiser Permanente case study here to see first hand the potential SMS can provide.