CLINIC TO PATIENT COMMUNICATIONS (PART 1/5): The most underused tool to communicate with your patients outside of the clinic
Whilst the government’s emphasis has been on provider to provider communication in healthcare such as the efforts to ditch the fax machine as well as the potential risks and breach of privacy laws utilising “unencrypted” email services such as Gmail and Hotmail, to send sensitive health information between providers, there has been one area that is often ignored - this is clinic to patient communications.
The traditional method for clinic to patient communication is the telephone, however clinics are increasingly leveraging SMS services for activities such as appointment reminders. Even though e-mailing is free while there is associated cost wth sending out each SMS, it is well known that SMS opening and response rates are extremely high compared to e-mail. This is as more people sometimes do not have e-mailing services active on their phones, particularly the older generation.
The following are 6 interesting key facts about SMS vs E-Mail:
Nonetheless, at HealthAide, we believe these statistics should not deter you away from considering e-mail as a tool to communicate to your patients outside the clinic - either for educational or commercial purposes, or a hybrid approach. This is because SMS also has its drawbacks which include:
Given these limitations, SMS can be effectively applied in healthcare for tasks such as:
Apart from the above use cases, e-mail can be used as a powerful and effective tool for other tasks such as:
The next second article of the 5 part series will provide some key practical tips and insights on how to determine whether e-mail could be a useful communication tool between your clinic and your patients.