Originally used as a convenient way to communicate with family and friends, secure text messaging is revolutionizing the healthcare industry in numerous ways. Whether looking to cut wait times, trim budgets or prevent security breaches, text messaging is resulting in a more efficient, secure industry. Let’s take a closer look at how text messaging is changing our view of healthcare:
Wait Times and Budget Issues
A May 2013 survey by the Ponemon Institute found outdated forms of communication cost the healthcare industry a staggering $8.3 billion annually. The study found continual use of pagers and other “old” communication options not only increases discharge times, they also limit doctor/patient interaction and decrease overall productivity. Clinicians waste an average of 45 minutes per day using pagers and the like, costing the U.S. healthcare industry $5.1 billion each year. It takes an average of 101 minutes to complete patient discharge, with 37 minutes of that time spent waiting for the doctor.
The Ponemon Institute study found more than half of those surveyed believed SMS is the way to cut wait times by some 50 minutes. The institute estimates secure text messaging could enable the healthcare industry to generate as much as $3.1 billion per year, thus reducing lost hospital revenue by as much as $557,253.
One of the issues with using SMS in the healthcare industry is HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This act protects the privacy of patient health information, with privacy a bigger concern now more than ever thanks to conversion to electronic files. Despite the need to keep information private, patients nevertheless feel HIPAA regulations interfere with physician ability to provide quality healthcare. Text message services such as TigerTextPRO encrypts patient information and claims HIPAA compliance. Faster than a phone call, the service can be used by healthcare professionals and staff to contact patients.
Doctors are also turning to text messaging as a way to answer patient questions, send out appointment and medication reminders, and provider information on how to treat specific conditions. Again, it’s important that healthcare providers safeguard any private information sent via text, else they face lawsuits.
These are just some of the ways SMS is changing the healthcare industry. It’s not just the healthcare industry, either—secure text messaging is revolutionizing the hospitality, fitness, service and real estate industries, and much, much more.