How Text Messaging Promotes Patient Engagement

By Gigi Cordero

Learn how text messaging can help keep patients engaged in their care and get tips from Maranda Perez, RN on how to introduce text messaging to telehealth patients.

Engagement is important to ensure that patients adhere to their treatment plan. To achieve success on telehealth, patients must take their vitals daily and openly communicate with their clinician.

Text messaging is an easy and effective way for clinicians and patients to communicate. Text messaging has helped many patients connect with their team clinician who is actively managing their care.

Maranda Perez, RN, from HCR Home Care in Upstate New York, uses text messaging to engage her telehealth patients.  She has a lot of success text messaging patients—some patients even send her smiley faces as soon as they take their vitals.

Perez's Tips for Promoting Patient Engagement 

Perez does not personally install telehealth at the patient’s home. Instead, the day after the initial telehealth install she contacts patients to introduce herself. She likes to establish a relationship on the phone as soon as the patient receives their telehealth unit.

On her first call with patients, Perez highlights the importance of taking vitals daily, answering symptom related survey questions, and using the tablet to communicate with her if needed. She reassures them that she is checking their readings daily and that she will call them should any readings put them at high-risk for readmission.  

She adds, “while monitoring patients, if I notice that a patient is actively recording their vitals, I will send them a text thanking them for being diligent. Also, if a patient has a high-risk reading, I will text them informing them that I will call them immediately.”

When it comes to texting, she emphasizes that repetition and prompting is important for keeping patients engaged and ensuring satisfaction with telehealth.  As a clinician, watch for the survey answers that ask patients if they feel supported by their telehealth team. This will offer insight into their satisfaction with telehealth and keep lines of communication open between patient and provider.

Here are some steps that Perez uses for text messaging patients:

  1. Introduce yourself as the main point of contact for the patient reassuring the patient that you are a real person who is checking their transmitted vitals.

  2. Walk the patient through communication features on the phone, if possible.

  3. Highlight the use of the text messaging and ask the patient to text you while on the phone so they can see how quickly they can reach out to you for support.

  4. Keep patients engaged by sending them thank you texts after they have recorded their vitals.



Tags: Best Practices, Patient Engagement

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