SMS messages form part of the day-to-day communications between health centres and patients: new appointments, rescheduled appointments or reminders reach our mobile phones directly and quickly. In some cases, patients can make appointments themselves by sending a short message and, in other cases SMS messages are even used to keep the relatives of a patient who is undergoing surgery up to date. Undoubtedly, this channel is an effective way to optimise communications and offers many other possibilities for implementation.
Information, follow-up and patient care
The sending of SMS to patients in the form of programmed and personalised communications has become widespread in the health sector due to its efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The first use was to send appointment reminders, which considerably reduced missed appointments, but many more uses have since been found:
– Information for blood donors: they are notified when their blood is sent to a hospital to treat another person who needs it.
– Surgical information in real time: patients’ relatives are informed of the different phases of the operation.
– Follow up of a treatment or taking of medicines: patients are reminded when it is time to take a certain medicine or they are given instructions on how to proceed.
– Reminders about vaccinations and annual check-ups.
– Notifications to collect test results.
– Information on pollen levels: high pollen concentrations are sent daily by SMS to inform asthmatics and allergy sufferers.
In addition, SMS are also used to communicate internally between health professionals themselves and to organize shifts or staff reinforcements in specific situations.
In summary, short messages offer a versatility that is being very well exploited by the various health areas. There are a wide range of possibilities, with more yet to come…