Using Text Messages to Improve Patient Communication During Covid-19
GP practices are fundamentally changing day-to-day activity, as the coronavirus (Covid 19) pandemic continues. While GP surgeries have been told to limit the number of people who visit in person, receptionists are under huge pressure as they try to deal with the volume of calls. Indeed, growing numbers of surgeries have resorted to locking their doors to prevent patients with symptoms from entering.
This, however, does not address patient fears or reduce the administrative overhead facing all primary care providers. What is required is a faster, more effective way of communicating with patients – not only those looking for immediate treatment but also patients with existing, often routine appointments.
Fast, Effective SMS Communication
Growing numbers of practices are turning to SMS text messaging to improve patient communication, reduce the pressure on reception staff and, critically, minimise the chances of patients with Covid 19 symptoms from arriving at the surgery.
With 94% of UK adults owning or using a smartphone, using text messaging is saving time and money and rapidly providing patients with the information they require to ensure they understand the new operating practices.
GP Practices can use Cegedim Healthcare Solution's text messaging in three ways.
1. Group Messaging
One option is to use the appointment reminder system to provide patients with up-to-date information regarding the coronavirus procedures. SMSs can be sent to all patients with appointments to advise them not to turn up to the practice but to wait for a telephone call from a clinician to check for possible symptoms. The messages can be filtered based on different data sets – such as by GPs or GP sessions – to tailor the information provided to a specific set of patients if necessary.
2. Direct Communication
Doctors and clinical staff can also use Cegedim's Consultation Manager to contact a patient directly via SMS if required, directly from the patient record. This again provides a rapid communication that takes some pressure from both administrative and clinical staff.
3. Tailored Messaging
Group text messages can also be sent out to specific patient groups – using Vision 3 to identify a certain subset of the population. This is incredibly valuable, especially regarding individuals who are at particularly high risk of becoming seriously ill with coronavirus.
In this constantly evolving situation, it is essential for all primary care facilities to keep in regular communication with patients – especially those with high-risk conditions. Individual and group text solutions provide practices with the ability to rapidly contact hundreds, even several thousand patients – at a very low cost and with confidence that patients will receive the information immediately.
Supporting patient care during the Coronavirus Outbreak We have several solutions in place to help your GP practice through the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak. Visit the coronavirus guidance page on our website for the latest advice. We will update this page, as and when the situation evolves.