Hospitals—at least some hospitals—have a reputation for being laggards on the technology adoption curve. There's some truth to that; after all, big medical devices have a big price tag and six- and seven-figure capital investments don't happen weekly.
But the truth is that many hospitals and group medical practices have discovered new ways to apply advances in communications technology, but they neglect the public relations opportunity to spread the word. In some instances, the investment is low, but the patient and administrative benefits are strong, and thus worthy of PR notice to the community.
Texting or text messaging is one of those low-cost/high-value tech advances.
The various forms and formats of text messaging are so ubiquitous that this little powerhouse can slip under the PR radar. In particular, the versatility, capabilities and healthcare applications of texting are growing in number and also in value to hospitals, group medical practices and patients.
Text availability has grown with the proliferation of mobile phones. (Over 90 percent of Americans carry a cell phone.) It's not just smartphones like the doctor-favorite iPhone (and iPad), but significantly nearly all cell phones support text.
Don't get bogged down in this alphabet soup, but consider the marketing uses in these quick tech review:
And if this easily overlooked (and highly versatile) tool isn't being used in your facility today, we predict it will be arriving soon. The cost is low, the benefits are many, and the opportunities to use SMS/MMS in healthcare and medical marketing are spreading rapidly.
Depending on the situation, here are some of the high level paybacks. Text messaging applications can, among other things:
The hospital and healthcare practice public relations opportunities that are based in its administrative advantages, and in the stories that illustrate the benefits to patients and the community.
Of note: Text messages are virtually never ignored, the system provides feedback in real time, and by early accounts, the beta test system is helping to boost satisfaction scores.
Of note: The high read rate tends to have a high response rate. And further, the text media reaches citizens of every socioeconomic status at a significantly lower cost.
As further illustrations—and inspiration for public relations story-telling—other text and messaging capabilities include:
How are you using text messaging? SMS applications in hospitals and group medical practices are public relations and story-telling opportunities that dramatically illustrate patient benefits. It is a popular media that reaches nearly everyone, is difficult to ignore, and functions with real time immediacy.
Do you have an SMS story to tell? It's a topic that shows how technology can improve operating efficiencies and enhance the quality and convenience of patient care. A related article of interest, Get Small: The Digital World is a Mobile World, is posted here.