Mobile technology has lent a big hand in changing the healthcare industry’s landscape. SMS chat, specifically, allows more and more individuals to making informed and proactive decisions about their health with instantaneous, private, and direct communication.
How Does it Work?
SMS chat allows you to speak instantaneously with a healthcare professional through texting in the same way you would with a friend or family member. Because it’s easy, confidential, and effective, SMS chat is quickly becoming the preferred communication tool for doctors and patients alike. In some parts of the country, it is even now possible to text 911!
Live chat’s function is simple. It allows patients to text in their healthcare questions, and the professional on the other end can respond as soon as they see it – making SMS chat allow patient-doctor conversations to occur in real time. Multiple professionals can man the help line, and each professional can engage in multiple conversations with different patients. All messages are saved for future reference if needed, and all communication is confidential. Sound efficient? It is–and also extremely effective.
Text messaging’s ubiquity allows it to reach a more diverse audience. 91% of adults own mobile phones, and 85% of them use them for texting. Because text messages are simple, easy to send, and do not require the same learning curve as mobile apps, they are the most used communication tool across the U.S. And because mobile chat allows people to connect to healthcare professionals no matter where they are, it qualifies as the easiest and most direct form of communication available today.
Immediacy = Efficiency
Some health questions cannot wait. When individuals have an urgent health matter, the ability to send a question and receive a response instantaneously saves the healthcare industry money through by cutting back on costly false-alarm ER visits. Text messaging can also out-maneuver the costly results of patients who try to self-medicate or second guess their doctor’s advice. Many hospitals already allow patients to text their local ER to see how long the wait time is. Imagine how much more efficient the industry could be if you skipped the wait time altogether!
Confidentiality is Key
People prefer to keep their personal health matters private. Not only are all text messages sent through a mobile platform required to be HIPAA compliant, but patients instinctively feel safer when professional advice from an anonymous provider lands directly in their pocket.
The confidentiality ensured with SMS chat is especially useful for organizations that serve vulnerable populations, such as young adults, underserved demographics, and people with mental health issues. Planned Parenthood, for example, had overwhelming success using SMS chat. In 2010, they set up a text chat “hotline” for teens to send in their sexual health questions. Health care experts provide real-time feedback and advice, and in some cases, directed the teens to local health clinics near them. Within two years, 250,000 people and counting had used their services.
The immediacy of chat, combined with the anonymity of text messaging, makes SMS chat the clear choice for many healthcare providers, including such organizations as the Iowa Department of Human Services and National Safe Place. When SMS serves as the first point of contact for a professional, it facilitates an ease on both the patients and the providers side that creates great efficiency throughout the healthcare industry as a whole.
Better Results Can Start Today
SMS chat’s three benefits—simplicity, immediacy, and confidentiality—make it the most effective way for healthcare providers to communicate with their patients about their personal health matters. More and more organizations are implementing SMS chat to better serve their communities. The results are clear: mobile communication is changing the landscape of the healthcare industry for the better.
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