Technology in our world is always changing and improving. The latest-and-greatest item of the month quickly becomes slow and outdated. And of course as technology changes, the way people use it to communicate also changes. Phones used to be connected to a wall in the kitchen, and if someone called and missed you they had to call back. Then, we added answering machines—remember those—and messages were checked when people got home. Then, cell phones. What a wonder! And a bit of a pain. Suddenly, you could reach people anywhere, and they were carrying on conversations wherever they happened to be.
But things are a little different now. People are constantly on their phones and holding conversations, but not many of them are actually speaking with another person. Most of their conversations are happening through texts. And, thank goodness because now we don’t have to listen to everyone else’s conversations. Actually calling someone on the phone is becoming an outdated and ineffective way to communicate.
Because people’s expectation for communicating with their friends is changing, they are starting to expect the same thing from their healthcare providers. Phone calls feel intrusive to patients. They don’t want to stop everything they are doing to answer their phone, so as a result, they don’t. About 90 percent of people just don’t answer their phone.
On the other hand, a text message is something they can look at and respond to whenever they have a free minute. And most people check their texts pretty frequently. About 98 percent of text messages sent are read. If you want to get your message to your patients, your best bet is to send it in a way they will see, through a text.
Texting seems like a natural solution for your younger patients, but can be a great way to communicate with patients of any age. You might be surprised to learn that the stats for people over the age of 65 who text closely mirrors the stats for all age groups, with about 94 percent of seniors who own smartphones texting (about 97 percent of all smartphone users text). Making assumptions about your patients’ communication preferences can mean you won’t always be able to connect with them or give them the information they need.
To learn more about the benefits of texting your patients, view our webinar here.