There are several insights hospital marketers can glean from each approach. Imagine texting tips and updates to women planning to give birth at your organization. Or prescription refill reminders to family members of elderly patients. Or pre- and post-op care advice to surgical patients. The possibilities are endless and could have a great effect on patient compliance and readmission rates.
Lastly, Truth On Call, a paid service that rolled out in January, allows cell phone users to text medical questions to a panel of doctors, according to the New York Times "Bits Blog". The initiative is not only aimed at patients, but also journalists, financial analysts, pharma executives, and other doctors.
"Information is being exchanged very, very quickly in people's personal and professional lives, but healthcare has yet to tap into the feed," Rosina Samadani, Truth On Call founder, told The Times. "This is a way for folks to get answers from thousands of physicians within minutes or hours."
So what can your hospital gain from this model? Perhaps you can create a campaign prompting community members to text health and wellness questions to your organization. You may not be able to answer specific medical questions via text, but you can direct the person to the right facility, specialist, or number to call—and ultimately boost brand preference.
Now that 86% of the U.S. population own a cell phone and the typical mobile subscriber sends and receives more text messages than phone calls, the use of text message campaigns will almost certainly increase across all industries. There are several opportunities for healthcare to get involved, so it will be interesting to see how this medium pans out. Let's just hope that California teen doesn't subscribe to any health text campaigns—for her father's sake.