3 Ways SMS is Better than Mobile Apps for Sustainable Health Measures


Doctors know that while they can offer the best care in person, much of the battle towards maintaining patient health is fought outside of the doctor’s office. Wellness and behavioral changes are ongoing efforts that patients must take responsibility for on their own time. So how can doctors encourage patients to engage in sustainable behaviors? Should they try a mobile app? Or should they use text messaging?


Text messaging is, point blank, the more effective communication solution. Here are three reasons why.

Text messaging has greater reach than mobile apps

When it comes to offering health support that is accessible to everyone, text messaging is the best option. That’s because mobile apps exclude the 54% of the population who don’t own a smartphone. What’s more, only 30% of mobile apps are downloaded, and each one comes with different parameters for download and usage.

Text messaging, however, is available to 91% percent of the population. And it’s incredibly easy to get people to start texting. All you need to do is ask them to opt-in in order to enroll them in healthcare messaging.

Finally, because a text message pops immediately onto a mobile user’s phone, nearly all text messages are read within the first 90 seconds of receiving them. But with a mobile app, push notifications can unwittingly be disabled, ignored, or unseen due to loss of service.

Text messaging is the most popular and user-friendly app

Want to know the most popular mobile app on smart phones? You guessed it—text messaging. People use their phones to text more than they use them for anything else! Because text messaging has a much lower learning curve than mobile apps, people trust it. They respond better to communications that seamlessly integrate into their lives, without a whole lot of fuss.


Mobile apps however, usually fall to the wayside, and fairly quickly at that. 80% of apps have less than 1,000 downloads, and only 5% of them are still used after the first month. That’s because mobile apps lack a key feature of text messaging: simplicity. There are thousands of mobile apps. But none of them will communicate with the user in the same personable manner as a text message.

Text messaging fulfills all the same functions as mobile apps, for less

The most basic reason text messaging trumps mobile apps is quite simple: Text messaging can do virtually everything that a mobile app does. Despite its simple user interface and appearance, text messaging is actually an extremely versatile and flexible communication channel. Use it for appointment confirmations, medication dosage scheduling, real-time doctor-patient communication, prescription refill reminders, and more. The best part? It does all of that for much less money than it costs to build a mobile app.

With a greater reach, a more loyal following, and comparable functionality, it’s easy to see why text messaging trumps mobile apps for maintaining patient health. So why wait? If you’d like to learn more about how to incorporate text messaging into your medical outreach, please email us at sales@mobilecommons.com.


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