Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest not-for-profit health plan, has teamed with mobileStorm, a digital marketing company with a decade of experience under its belt, to launch an innovative SMS-based patient reminder solution.
Like most organizations, Kaiser was faced with the problem of needing to cut costs, and decided to target the most cost-sensitive areas of their business- patient communication. The healthcare giant chose mobileStorm’s mobile marketing platform to provide efficient and cost-effective paperless reminders to its subscribed customer base, while continually allowing customers to opt-out or into the appointment reminder database.
To meet Kaiser’s goals for patient communication, mobileStorm developed an end-user SMS platform solution that allowed for the creation and managment of general appointment reminders, such as scheduled office visits, specific treatment reminders, such as mammograms, and even specific notification of completed lab results, such as a text saying “your lab results are ready.”
Beginning October 1st, 2008 mobileStorm began a one month pilot program with Kaiser to prove it’s effectiveness. Taking 87,950 cell phone numbers from Kaiser’s patient database, mobileStorm first launched a carrier query, or number verification, to verify that all numbers were valid cell phone numbers. Of those, mobileStorm sent 32,864 appointment reminders, with Kaiser pushing patient info into the mobileStorm platform on a daily basis.
Once in the platform, mobileStorm categorized patients into targets, depending on their appointment times, and automatically scheduled messages to go out at a time designated by Kaiser themselves.
As a result of the pilot program, Kaiser lost only 1.8 percent of their user group, which opted out, and the program showed an improvement of .73 percent fewer “no-shows” for appointments- or 1,837 overall. Most impressive was how Kaiser was able to cut communication infrastructure costs at a staggering rate.
The one month pilot proved that by using SMS-based appointment reminders, Kaiser was able to save $150 per appointment, their no-show cost, which equated to a total cost savings of over $275,000 at a single clinic.
Kaiser’s use-case for SMS proves there’s far more potential for SMS beyond uses in marketing. “We look at SMS in two ways- one as a marketing/sales tool and another as a utility,” said Jared Reitzin, CEO of mobileStorm. “Most of our clients are exploring SMS for marketing purposes but almost every single one of them could use SMS as a utility. In Kaiser’s case they’re exploring the latter first. When we’re selling a customer we help them understand the possibilities on both sides of the fence. For instance a big company can use SMS for employee communication and emergency messaging, and we make sure they can take full advantage of what this channel has to offer.”
Reminders are only one of many utility-oriented solutions SMS can provide, and the healthcare industry is a perfect example of where SMS can cut costs substantially, engage users on an entirely different level and provide a unique communications tool between healthcare facilities and their patients.
“SMS can literally save organizations like Kaiser millions of dollars per month by only swaying missed appointments by 1% across multiple facilities,” continued Reitzin. “We proved this over 30 days in only one facility. I am positive you will see SMS explode in the healthcare sector. I think this will be one of the industries to embrace FTEU (free-to-end-user) pretty heavily.”
In this article
- Mobile 2.0
- Mobile Devices
- Mobile News
- SMS / Text
- appointment reminders
- digital marketing
- healthcare messaging
- Kaiser Permanente
- mhealth pilot program
- mHealth solution
- mobile health
- mobile healthcare
- Mobile Marketing
- mobileStorm and Kaiser
- mobileStorm for Healthcare
- SMS mhealth solution
- sms pilot program
- SMS reminders