Secure Text Messaging for Healthcare


Secure Text Messaging for Healthcare

4 SMS Healthcare Solutions and their applications in the Healthcare Industry

In the United States, personal medical data is fiercely protected by HIPAA. As a result, medical facilities are required to protect their patient’s information, and use secure channels when exposing medical information. While SMS messages aren’t encrypted, which limits a medical facility’s ability to communicate with patients using text messages, they still are an immediate and trusted channel for communicating with patients. Medical practices and healthcare facilities can use this immediacy and trust in implementing SMS communications into their patient communications processes.

SMS Healthcare Solution #1: Alerts and Updates

While HIPAA prevents the transfer of personal health information (PHI) via unsecured channels, it doesn’t prevent doctors from sending out generic reminders to their patients. For example, if there was a health crisis in a specific region, the health care facility could send out an alert to all its patients warning them of dangers and advising them what to do should they be affected. Medical facilities can also send out generic reminders to patients to get their annual flu shot before winter, share links to general health articles, and offer general health tips.

SMS Healthcare Solution #2: Personal Notifications

Health care facilities do need to be cautious when contacting patients with medical information. However, there are a number of notifications that can be sent out via SMS. The following notifications can be sent to patients, without including any information that would identify a medical condition:

  • Notification that test results are available on a patient portal
  • Notification and approval request when another medical facility or insurer asks for access to the patient's health record
  • Notification that a requested prescription is available on a patient portal
  • Notification from pharmacist that a prescribed medication can be picked up
  • Notification that a prescription is no longer valid

SMS Healthcare Solution #3: Appointment Reminders

Missed appointments can cost medical practices thousands of dollars each year and impact the health of the patient. An appointment reminder SMS service would allow patients to respond whether or not they are coming. For those who are unable to make their appointment, the facility would then be able to offer the available slot to someone else. Medical facilities must be careful to be HIPAA-compliant when sending out these reminders. For example, a reminder to come to the Oncology Clinic would indicate that a patient has cancer. To be safe, appointment reminders should be limited to include that date and time of the appointment, the provider’s first and last name, and the address.

SMS Healthcare Solution #4: Office Management

Healthcare providers can use SMS tools to help manage their office. With text messaging software they can easily communicate shift assignments, request maintenance, and communicate with equipment vendors. 

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Debunking SMS Marketing Myths


Debunking SMS Marketing Myths

SMS messaging has played a role in marketing for well over a decade. As technology has improved, the SMS has increased in its effectiveness and power. In some ways, it is more effective than email marketing, social media, and other digital marketing media. Despite its effectiveness, there are some myths surrounding the SMS that have unfortunately prevented businesses from embracing SMS as an effective tool.

Myth 1: SMS Marketing is only used for Bulk Messages

SMS messages are certainly an efficient medium for getting a message in front of a lot of people. Recipients are more likely than email recipients to open your message, and they do within minutes of receiving the message. But bulk messages are only one part of an effective SMS tool set.

Savvy marketers have discovered the ability to send targeted, personalized messages to individuals, as well as to small and medium sized groups. Individuals who left a full online shopping cart on their favorite site can get a gentle SMS nudge with a link to complete their purchase, while groups of all sizes can receive relevant messages based on demographic commonalities, similar preferences, or past history.

Myth 2: Text Message Marketing: too Expensive for Small Businesses

Text message marketing is more expensive than email marketing, which can frighten small business owners away. However, implementing a text message marketing software strategy offers a far more effective approach than email marketing. For one, text messages have a 95% open rate, while emails are opened only 20% of the time. Second, emails frequently end up in spam or promotion folders, while SMS messages always appear in your recipient’s phone

It’s true that most service providers do charge per sent SMS. However, business SMS marketing services deliver a higher return on investment (ROI) than other customer communications channels and more than pays for itself. In addition, MessageWhiz offers a multi-tiered pricing model so you can manage costs. We even have a risk-free option, where users pay only when their campaign has reached predefined targets.

Myth 3: SMS is Obsolete

It certainly isn’t. The volume of text messages sent by companies to their customers is growing by an average of 10% over each of the last 5 years. SMS functionality is built into every phone, and works regardless of internet connectivity, so companies can be certain that their text messages arrive at their intended destination, unlike popular free chat apps like Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp and Viber. As long as your customers or prospects are connected to their mobile provider, they can receive SMS messages.

As mentioned above, 95% of SMS messages are opened, and 91% of them are read within 90 seconds of being received. As SMS messages require the recipient to opt in, the messages reach an already engaged consumer. Couple that with research indicating consumers prefer to receive promotional messages from companies they trust via SMS over any other channel, and you have a perfect marketing storm, where engaged consumers receive messages straight to their fingertips.

Alive and Kicking

As we move deeper in 2019, strategic use of mobile text marketing is an important marketing activity that can be used for everything from building one-on-one relationships to broadcasting messages to large groups of people.