Healthcare Technology Featured Article

March 21, 2023

The Power of Omnichannel Messaging in Healthcare: Streamlining Communication and Improving Patient Experience

It's been three years since the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and the world has undeniably changed. The way people experience healthcare in the wake of such a disruptive force has drastically altered the way patients interact with one another, their providers, and the way they experience healthcare. One unexpected player in the post-COVID customer service healthcare equation has been digital communication providers, like Mitto. Without the contributions of digital communications experts, including SMS and messaging entrepreneurs, and omnichannel communication specialists, the healthcare industry would have been much more vulnerable to the disruptions brought by the global emergency.

How To Change In The Face Of An Emergency: What Omnichannel Messaging Providers Got Right

Was this major shift in communication something omnichannel messaging experts like Mitto's Ilja Gorelik could have anticipated? In some ways, yes, but in others, the COVID pandemic threw digital communication companies and healthcare businesses alike a curveball. No matter the industry, clients seek out services that can best meet their busy and variable schedules. In the case of the pandemic, this meant maintaining the same level of patient privacy while also providing patients with care in a way that met public health safety needs.

“Good customer support is an effective marketing strategy — American consumers said they are more likely to talk publicly about ‘good’ support experiences than ‘poor’ ones — 65% compared to 29%”, Said Ilja Gorelik in an interview with Martech after the start of the pandemic. “What all of this reveals is that customer engagement can be challenging and complex in 2021. There is no single channel to reach every customer, there is no perfect message and customers’ expectations for brands are sky high.”

So, what did that mean for healthcare companies in the wake of 2020's big health events? In part, it meant shifting from in-person customer service to digital customer service. Changes like offering virtual appointments, text message reminders and scheduling options, and an increase in telehealth provisions shaped the face of healthcare patient satisfaction.

That’s where omnichannel messaging apps and digital communications companies stepped up to the challenge.

Rising To Meet The Challenges Of Post-Pandemic Healthcare

Omnichannel messaging experts are not just experts in the messaging platform, but in the overall customer service experience. Brands like Mitto already realize that SMS is a superior messaging tool based on present-day consumer trends: after all, text messages have a 98% open rate. But omnichannel messaging brands also understand that SMS messaging is the current most trusted way to communicate with consumers in the Millennial and Gen-Z populations. It's endlessly customizable and provides quick handling of situations. And unlike AI voices over the phone, chatbots can feel like you're speaking to an actual human being.

Some of the most popular ways omnichannel messaging platforms have helped ease the transition into a telehealth-prominent industry include:

  • SMS Reminders: Between an endlessly busy schedule and less time in physical offices, missing appointments are common. A recent study showed nearly 50% of Americans rely upon SMS reminders to get to their appointments. This has the unintended benefit for providers by reducing the cost of no-show appointments and customer service representatives.
  • SMS Scheduling: SMS Scheduling reduces the time it takes for people to schedule their appointments, and makes them an active part of the scheduling process, which may help them remember their schedules.
  • Medication Refill Reminders: SMS not only allows patients to remember their appointments, but it also allows them to set up medication refill reminders. Another recent study indicated that nearly 70% of medication users were more likely to remember to take and refill their prescriptions with SMS reminders.
  • Preventative Health Reminders: In the past, yearly checkup reminders were sent through the postal service or via call. SMS allows clients to receive a reminder in time and schedule immediately without having to deal with voicemails, forgotten postcards, or faulty memory.
  • Post-Appointment Follow-ups: SMS provides a direct link for clients to sign up for follow-up appointments without having to talk to a customer service rep. Pairing post-appointment follow-ups with informational links can be an effective tool for allowing patients to feel in control of their medical situation.

How Digital Communication Efforts Help Healthcare Providers

SMS reminders don’t only help patients, however. They also go a long way toward helping medical professionals do their jobs. Doctors are endlessly busy, and many of the leaders in specific diseases constantly travel.

 Medical professionals regularly use communication platforms for the following to remain better connected with their profession:

  • Emerging treatments for regular diseases
  • Navigating changes in care for well-established diseases like diabetes, memory care, and other health issues
  • Emerging pandemics and treatment options
  • Offering continued education on the ever-changing world of medicine
  • Connecting with experts in fields to better help their patients
  • Better connecting with their patients

Additionally, medical practices, research facilities, and clinics use SMS and other omnichannel digital communication channels to better provide for their staff and clients alike. The rise in Communications Platforms as a Service (CPaaS) has made managing large facilities like these -- which often have the lives of patients in their hands -- much more convenient, effective, and ultimately safer. With strong communication being a hallmark of a good medical facility, digital channels have allowed smaller practices to thrive even amid a global pandemic. Some have even rewritten best practices company-wide to include changes based on SMS and digital communication with patients and doctors.

At the start of 2020, amid the uncertainty, health issues were at the forefront of everyone's mind. But even as other industries struggled to adapt to changes in client interactions, the medical industry was well-adjusted to adapt. With the help of omnichannel communications providers, the possibilities for increasing client care are endless -- and medical facilities may even be at the forefront of changing the consumer experience.

About Mitto

Founded in 2013 by Andrea Giacomini and Ilja Gorelik, Mitto AG has been leading the future of communication. Gorelik came to Mitto after a successful early career in telecommunications and social media startups and brought his experiences to the forefront of Mitto's products. Today, Mitto is composed of communication experts spread out over many different countries on all sides of the world with one goal: bringing A2P messaging services to the world's most influential brands and disrupting the communications status quo to better communication as a whole.

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