May 17, 2020

Why doctors like healthy mass text messaging

hospital technology
3 min
One of the easiest and most effective ways to remind patients of appointments is to send them text messages.
Missed appointments are a common problem in the health care industry, and they can result in a significant waste of resources.

As such, many health car...

Missed appointments are a common problem in the health care industry, and they can result in a significant waste of resources.

As such, many health care providers are trying to develop effective systems to minimize missed appointments.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to remind patients of appointments is to send them text messages.

Here is a look at how doctors in the United States are using text messaging to keep missed appointments to a minimum.

How Missed Appointments Can Hurt Health Care Providers

According to an article entitled "Why Medical Offices Should Use SMS," 21 to 32 percent of the appointments that are scheduled by most health care providers turn out to be no-shows. Missed appointments can be detrimental to health care providers in a number of ways.

First of all, it can lead to substantial financial losses. Depending on their medical specialties and locations, doctors can lose $100 to $900 as a result of one missed appointment.

[READ MORE] Six Texting Mistakes Hospitals are Making Today

If they have an average of one or two missed appointments a day, it can cost them $20,000 to $180,000 annually. In the pediatric field alone, missed appointments are causing health care providers to lose about $1.3 billion annually.

Other than eating into the profits of health care providers, missed appointments can reduce the manpower available in medical facilities.

Doctors will not be able to attend to other patients while they are waiting for scheduled patients to show up, and they will end up wasting time if those patients miss their appointments.

Missed appointments take up time slots that can be otherwise used by other patients, and they usually lead to rescheduled appointments, which reduce the number of future appointment slots available for other patients.

Additionally, missed appointments can also undermine the effectiveness of medical treatments, which can have a negative impact on the track records of doctors.

Use Text Messaging to Reduce Missed Appointments

Reducing missed appointments can help health care providers improve their efficiency and productivity, and boost their profits.

As mentioned in an article entitled "How Mass Text Messaging Helps Doctors Cut Down on Missed Appointments", data released by NHS England revealed that almost half of patients cited forgetfulness as the reason why they missed their appointments. Text messaging is a great way to remind patients of their appointments because of its high open rate.

[READ MORE] Can Secure Text Messaging Services Save NHS Scotland in 2015?

According to a study commissioned by SinglePoint, SMS messages have an open rate of 99 percent, and 90 percent of all SMS messages are viewed within three minutes of delivery.

Additionally, sending SMS appointment reminders is much easier, less time-consuming and cheaper than making phone calls, which is the traditional way of reminding patients.

Some examples of health care providers that are using text messaging to reduce missed appointments include Kaiser Permanente, Arkansas Children's Hospital, Spectrum Health Services Center, Summa Health System and others.

The advancement of technology has changed the way health care providers communicate with their patients. 

As more and more people are using SMS as an everyday communication tool, doctors can take advantage of this trend to minimize missed appointments and other communication-related problems.

About the author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to cloud computing.

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Jul 22, 2021

COVID-19 "causing mass trauma among world’s nurses"

5 min
COVID-19 "causing mass trauma among world’s nurses"
Two nurses tell us about COVID-19, nurse burnout, and how to address it

Healthcare providers are facing ongoing nursing shortages, and hospitals are reporting high rates of staff turnover and burnout as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In June a report found that levels of burnout among staff in England had reached "emergency" levels

Registered nurses Molly Rindt and Erika Haywood are nurse mentors on US recruitment platform Incredible Health. In this joint Q&A they tell Healthcare Global about their own experiences of burnout and what can be done to tackle it. 

What does it mean to be suffering from burnout? 
Some of the most common reasons for nurse burnout include long work hours, sleep deprivation, a high-stress work environment, lack of support, and emotional strain from patient care. 

While every profession has its stressors, the nursing industry has some of the highest burnout rates. The massive influence on patients’ lives, the long hours, and many other factors put nurses at risk of severe burnout. And with the rise of COVID-19, many healthcare professionals feel the strain more than ever.

Burnout in nurses affects everyone — individual nurses suffer, patients are impacted, and employers struggle with enormous turnover. This is why it’s crucial for healthcare systems and management to watch for signs of nurse burnout and take steps to provide a healthier workplace. Employers should be careful to watch for burnout symptoms in their healthcare staff — and not ignore them. 

Symptoms include constant tiredness, constant anxiety related to work, emotional detachment and unexplained sickness. 

How widespread is this problem?     
Unfortunately, burnout affects approximately 38% of nurses per year and even the WHO recently labelled burnout as an official medical diagnosis. To put this statistic into perspective, nearly 4 out of 10 nurses will drive to work dreading their shift. Burnout is a reason nurses leave their positions. 

Other top reasons for leaving included a stressful work environment, lack of good management or leadership, inadequate staffing, and finding better pay or benefits elsewhere.

Even before the pandemic, demanding workloads and aspects of the work environment such as poor staffing ratios, lack of communication between physicians and nurses, and lack of organisational leadership were known to be associated with burnout in nurses. 

Have either of you experienced burnout? 
Rindt: I have experienced burnout as an RN. I was constantly fatigued,  never felt like I was off work, and would frequently dream I was still at work taking care of patients. In my particular situation, I needed to take a step back and restructure my work schedule to allow for more time off. After doing this, I was able to reduce burnout by deciding to work two shifts back-to-back and then have 2-3 days off.

Haywood: I definitely experienced constant anxiety related to work - so much so it would impact the days I wasn’t at work. At one point, I was even on medication to help combat the anxiety and stress I was facing on the job. 

I had heart palpitations, chest pain, and wouldn’t be able to sleep before working the next day, which slowly started to impact other aspects of my life. I knew I couldn’t continue to live this way, it wasn’t sustainable. Because of this, I began to focus on my needs and prioritising self-care, especially during the beginning of the pandemic. Putting my needs first and not feeling guilty were necessary for me to overcome burnout.

What impact is COVID-19 having on nurses' wellbeing? 
Some nurses have suffered devastating health consequences. Many nurses have dealt with excessive on-the-job stress, fears of becoming infected, and grief over seeing patients succumb to COVID-19 while isolated from their families.

New evidence gathered by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) suggests COVID-19 is causing mass trauma among the world’s nurses. The number of confirmed nurse deaths now exceeds 2,200, and with high levels of infections in the nursing workforce continuing, overstretched staff are experiencing increasing psychological distress in the face of ever-increasing workloads, continued abuse and protests by anti-vaccinators. 

However, other small silver linings that came from the pandemic include increased professional autonomy, leadership opportunities and career growth potential.

How much of the cause of burnout is due to the hospitals or healthcare providers, and what can they do to address it?

Nurse fatigue poses serious problems for healthcare organisations, and a recent survey from Kronos found 63% of nurses say their job has caused burnout. The survey also found that more than 4 out of 5 nurses think hospitals today are losing good staff because other employers offer a better work/life balance.

Nurse burnout  not only contributes to staff turnover, but it can impact the facility’s quality of care, patient satisfaction, and even medical outcomes. 

Strategies to address burnout include training improving  nurse-to-patient ratios, include nurses in policy discussions, and prioritise fostering a healthy work culture in hospitals. 

What does your role mentoring nurses on the Incredible Health platform involve?
Rindt: My role can vary based on the needs of the nurses. The nurses love knowing they have someone in their corner who can give interview preparation advice or provide suggestions on how to improve their resume. Knowing that there is someone who is well-versed in the job process and can help set expectations on what to anticipate, really helps to remove a layer of uncertainty.

Haywood: When screening nurses, it is customised to what their individual RN or nurse practitioner needs, and at a time that is most convenient for them. Nurses are busy and often aren’t thought of first. Being able to provide support from the very beginning of their career advancement journey helps tremendously.  We also provide resources such as resume templates and tips that can help nurses be successful and feel supported.

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