The great showman P.T. Barnum wrote: “The foundation of success in life is good health: that is the substratum fortune; it is also the basis of happiness. A person cannot accumulate a fortune very well when he is sick”. We don’t think anybody can really argue with that sentiment and neither does the global healthcare market which is now estimated to be worth around $10 trillion, growing at a faster rate than GDP in most countries.
The world is seeing massive population growth in developing countries whilst in the developed world, populations are ageing and even declining. Both trends bring with them an increased load on already stretched healthcare provision.
The healthcare industry is consolidating rapidly towards value-based care and whilst (like in most industries) there is a trend towards the growing power of healthcare industry giants, competition is still fierce.
With the proliferation of the internet, there is now a tendency for consumers to research even the smallest thing and thus it is imperative that healthcare providers better engage with their customers, potential customers and (an oft-overlooked area) their own team members.
Consumers today are tech-savvy, look for convenience and are frugal. Various studies have shown that two-thirds of people choose cost as their top factor when choosing where to seek care. It figures therefore that given the increasing user base, along with consumers looking for the lowest price possible, it is increasingly critical that as few resources as possible are wasted.
SMS is ubiquitous and the perfect channel with which to manage schedules and send appointment reminder notifications. Its 2-way capabilities mean patients are able to confirm, reschedule or cancel their appointments in a matter of seconds and at their own convenience.
Using SMS decreases the occurrence of no-show appointments, which can make up well over 10% of appointments. It is estimated that the U.S. healthcare industry alone loses more than $150 billion every year to people simply not turning up.
The number of prescriptions issued for pharmaceutical drugs is absolutely mind-boggling, with well north of 3 billion a year in the U.S. alone. If patients do not take their medication at the prescribed intervals then its effectiveness can be massively compromised. SMS is the perfect medium for not only reminding people when exactly to take their medication but also when to pick up their prescriptions and to let them know when one is coming to an end.
Personalisation is also becoming a key decision-making criterion. The days of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ care model are numbered and there is a trend towards people moving away from primary care providers – so traditional hospitals. Younger generations, in particular, tend to visit nearby urgent care clinics to receive treatment. Many of these are positioned in traditional retail areas of towns and are in many parts of the world tend not to be part of huge conglomerates. They thus need to be really pro-active about attracting new business and SMS-based marketing using perhaps a location-based component.
Gathering feedback from patients on the standards of healthcare received and their opinions on proposed service offering enhancements is a great way for providers to improve the services they offer. Again, the benefits of 2-way SMS come into play, allowing for the collection of this information quickly and easily.
Just as all good stories should have a beginning, middle and an end, the end of this one touches upon something even the most experienced mobile engagement professionals frequently overlook – the need to communicate effectively internally.
The healthcare industry is 24/7/365. Time waits for nobody and used in a timely manner, SMS notifications are a particularly effective way to hold together a provider’s internal infrastructure in what is a high-pressure environment. Healthcare staff can be notified about staff meetings, shift changes, overtime availability and so much more.
Between the savings to the bottom line, the improvements patients receive related to both inpatient and outpatient care and as a way to strengthen the provider-patient bond, turning to SMS has become a viable communications channel for healthcare providers looking for ways to optimise their businesses. Look no further than Mitto to help optimise yours!