ASC's & Patient Engagement: Texting

Ambulatory Surgery Centers are beginning to realize they have a simple and affordable way to better engage their patients, connect their staff and physicians, dramatically improve their efficiency and reduce wasted time and cost. And, that most of their patients and staff are probably already using it. Text messaging is the obvious solution for facilities looking for an easy and accessible tool to improve communication and streamline workflow. The consumer convenience and benefits are obvious, but as compelling are the gains to a facility’s efficiency, staff satisfaction, and bottom line.

Today’s fast pace and innovative medicine depends on technology that can keep up. As facilities turn to texting, they have seen impressive benefits:

General communication improves

At a healthcare facility, numerous routine and repetitive messages such as scheduling reminders, directions, arrival and procedure time updates, weather delays or cancellations, and many more need to be communicated daily to a large pool of recipients. These messages can easily be sent via automated texts to individuals, staff, or customized groups, saving staff immeasurable time in wasted phone calls and unopened emails.

Patients arrive informed and prepared

Additionally, patients require comprehensive instructions and information before their scheduled procedure to arrive prepared and informed. Replacing multiple phone calls, voice mails, and emails, text messages that are tailored to procedure and physician provide patients with precisely timed instructions for pre-op preparations, NPO compliance reminders, and medication schedules. Links to general educational resources or password-secured personal health pages can also provide patients the added support they may need. As a result, patients are processed more quickly and safely on the day of surgery, delays and cancellations decrease, as does patient and staff frustration.

Discharge time, as well as post-surgical complications, decrease

Text messaging gives facilities a simple and effective way to remind patients of important recovery procedures to avoid complications and post-surgical trips to the ER. Usually supplementing extensive paper instructions, timely reminders regarding follow-up appointments, prescription refills and post-operative care prove very helpful. According to Ponemon Institute1, patient discharge time currently averages about 101 minutes. Sixty-five percent of survey respondents in their study believe that secure text messaging can cut discharge time by about 50 minutes, which the institute estimates could generate more than $3.1 billion in revenue per year across the healthcare industry.

Additionally, patients can be prompted to call if they have any concerns regarding their recovery and reminded about what number to call. As a result, the facility is saved hours of unnecessary follow-up calls they can redirect towards patients in need of direct attention.

Both staff and patient satisfaction increase

The goal of every facility is to provide the best care and experience to its patients. In the process, however, it is important not to burn out staff and resources with the added pressures of time, cost, and increasing paper trails. Secure text messaging is a simple pressure relief valve for today’s medical facility. It is an incredibly effective and affordable way of communicating vital information and basic correspondence to the patients, dramatically increasing efficiency and improving satisfaction across the board.

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