Healthcare News & Insights

Survey: Patients want text messages, mobile apps from their doctors

Despite help from new technology, doctors are missing out on opportunities to help keep their patients healthier and more satisfied, according to one recent survey. 

As people start spending more out of their own pockets for healthcare, they are beginning to behave the way consumers do in other marketplaces. That means many patients are putting more thought into their choice of provider and demanding more from doctors and hospitals in order to remain satisfied with their services.

One of those new demands is that patients want more attention from their doctors when they’re healthy, as opposed to simply receiving treatment when they aren’t well, according to a recent survey from vendor Varolii Corporation.

Among the 1,001 U.S. adults surveyed, 80% believe it’s their doctor’s job to keep them healthy, and not just treat them when they’re sick — however, 70% say their doctor has never checked on them when they were well.

One reason people are demanding more frequent communication from their doctors is they recognize that new technology has made it easier than ever for doctors to keep in touch with patients and offer help for preventative care. In fact, half of the patients surveyed said receiving text messages, emails or smartphone apps from their doctor with tips, reminders or encouragement could have helped them avoid a health problem in the past.

However, only 20% of doctors send emails to patients, and even fewer use text messages (7%) or smartphone apps (4%), according to Varolii. With those sophisticated mobile devices becoming more common, healthcare providers are missing out on a valuable opportunity to help keep their patients healthy and more satisfied.

One area doctors might focus on with their electronic communication: medication reminders. A full 25% of the patients surveyed forget to take medication on a regular basis, and the problems that causes cost the healthcare industry $300 billion every year, Varolii estimates.

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