Patients welcome text messages that encourage better health, and family members prefer text message updates about loved ones
February 12, 2019
ROCKVILLE, Md. — Only 10 percent of patients prefer to receive physician communications via patient portals, whereas twice that many (19.6 percent) favor receiving information via secure text messages when in-person and phone calls are not an option. The new survey, conducted by DrFirst, the nation’s leading provider of e-prescribing and patient medication management solutions, also found that more than 90 percent of respondents would like the ability to communicate via secure text messaging with a family member’s care team if that loved one were ill.
According to the American Hospital Association (AHA), 93 percent of hospitals now allow patients online access to electronic health records (EHRs) via patient portals. However, due to privacy and security concerns, healthcare providers have traditionally avoided text messaging when communicating with patients, their families, or colleagues. The survey results suggest that despite widespread access to patient portals, physicians should consider secure messaging alternatives to satisfy consumers’ strong preference for text messaging when phone calls or in-person discussions are not feasible.
The survey findings also indicate that the majority of consumers would find it beneficial to receive reminders from their physicians about simple behaviors that could improve their health. Depending on the type of message, 83 percent of respondents would welcome reminders from their doctors about taking prescribed medications, checking blood pressure, completing rehabilitation exercises, scheduling follow-up appointments, or similar tasks.
“The survey results confirm our observation that patients want to be more engaged in their care and desire more options for interacting with their healthcare providers using the same communication methods they regularly use in every other part of their life,” said G. Cameron Deemer, President of DrFirst. “Clinicians who use secure text messaging to connect with patients and their family members can improve patient satisfaction, drive medication adherence, and empower patients to be more actively involved in their health and wellness.”
High demand for secure text messaging between family members and care teams
With about 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 each day, healthcare providers are facing a growing need to communicate with their patients’ family members. According to the DrFirst survey, 91 percent of respondents would like the ability to communicate with their loved one’s care team via text messaging – a communication method that eliminates common phone tag delays. A secure text messaging alternative would allow caregivers and a patient’s family members to stay connected, without placing a patient’s privacy at risk.
The online survey included responses from 199 consumers/patients who visit the doctor at least once every six months. 58 percent of the survey participants were female, and 42 percent were male. About 25 percent of the respondents were over the age of 54, and another 25 percent were between 25 and 34 years of age. An additional 18 percent were between 18 and 24 years old, while 16 percent were between 45 and 54 years old.
DrFirst, the nation’s leading provider of e-prescribing and medication management solutions, enables stakeholders across the healthcare industry to use comprehensive real-time data and connectivity to increase their patient safety ratings, efficiency, and profitability. Today, more than 170,000 healthcare professionals and more than 60% of electronic health record (EHR) vendors depend on DrFirst’s innovative software solutions to improve clinical workflows, expedite secure collaboration across a patient’s care team and drive better health outcomes. The company’s integrated technologies include its award-winning electronic prescribing platform, the most comprehensive medication history available, clinically specialized secure messaging, and patient medication adherence monitoring and benefits checking. Also, DrFirst was the first to offer e-prescribing for controlled substances (EPCS) and is considered the industry standard for providers nationwide. For more information, please visit www.drfirst.com or connect with us @DrFirst.
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