Many health facilities in Africa have begun to use SMS as a tool for improving communication with patients and health workers. SMS, or Short Message Service, is a widely-used form of mobile communication with numerous healthcare benefits.
Five key benefits of using SMS for healthcare communication include:
- Fast and Efficient: SMS allows healthcare providers to send and receive messages quickly and efficiently. Emergency situations like ambulance drives and locations or chemical emergencies may always arise in these settings. Sending messages is a fast and efficient way to communicate with involved parties. This can be particularly useful in emergency situations where timely communication can save lives.
- Improved Patient Engagement: SMS can be used to send appointment reminders, medication reminders, and other important information to patients, which can help to improve patient engagement and adherence to treatment plans. Patients can receive messages of their upcoming appointments to remind both them and the staff in charge of the patient’s arrival. In case of emergencies, patients can be notified respectively.
- Convenient and Accessible: SMS is a widely available communication platform that can be used on almost any mobile device, making it a convenient and accessible method of communication for both healthcare providers and patients. The World Bank and African Development Bank report, 650 million mobile users in Africa, surpassing the number in the United States or Europe. In some African countries more people have access to a mobile phone than to clean water, a bank account or electricity, the agencies add. Mobile phones have been seen as an effective way to communicate with different people.
- Cost-effective: SMS is generally less expensive than other forms of communication, such as phone calls or postal mail. This can be especially beneficial for healthcare organizations operating on tight budgets. Depending on your service provider, SMSes can be priced per message by the number of messages you send or the sender ID you wish to use. This makes it very straightforward and convenient for health facilities to procure and send messages.
- Enhanced Data Security: SMS can be used to transmit sensitive healthcare information in a secure manner, helping to protect patient privacy and maintain confidentiality. Many service providers offer reports where you can view messages sent to the patients and find out their status. Management can always track back these messages in case they need to. SMS platforms also ensure certain security measures are held. This means that messages are sent to patients and the patient’s information is protected.
SMS is a valuable tool for healthcare communication, providing fast, efficient, and cost-effective communication that can improve patient engagement, enhance data security, and save lives in emergency situations. To begin sending bulk SMSes for your health facility, sign up here.