How a text a day has kept the doctor away and helped Australian patients improve blood pressure, raise physical activity levels and reduce obesity.

If you thought text messaging was only used for mobile marketing, you might be surprised to hear about The George Institute for Global Health in Sydney, Australia.

To help improve communications and the health of their former patients, they’ve been trial sending advice and reminders via SMS four times a week.

As a result, the campaign has not only improved their patients’ health across the board, but has earned them a highly prestigious global award.

Changing lives in under three minutes

The George Institute were facing many reoccurring issues. They realised that loads of their former patients who suffered from a stroke or heart attack simply weren’t doing the right amount of excercise or taking their medication a few weeks after their health episode.

Yet, the saddest part of all, was that these health risks and life-threatening consequences weren’t being communicated effectively. For example, scientific researchers discovered that just 25 minutes of exercise a day to improve balance stability could reduce the number of falls by nearly 40%. So, instead of pouring millions into finding the cure, The George Institute focused their money and resource into a means of prevention.

The solution? Yep, you guessed it, text messaging.

SMS boasts an unprecedented 98% open rate, in which 90% of them are read within three minutes. To put that stat in layman’s terms, The George Institute were educating, informing, reminding and in some cases, saving lives in under 180 seconds. That’s less than a standard commercial break in between The X Factor!

Just by sending out four text messages a week, they found an easy means to communicate and a way of eradicating most of these issues. After all, we live such hectic lives – so a simple text is a gentle and instant reminder to stop and act.

The type of content The George Institute sent varied from day to day. Whether it was a reminder for a patient to take their medication, a nudge to get them to exercise, or delicious recipes and nutritional guidance – the physiological impact of these text messages were phenomenal.

The Institute even staggered the messages to send at different times in the day, to keep the patient engaged.

A spokesman for The George Institute has said that by doing this on a weekly basis, patients’ blood pressure has improved, physical activity levels have gone up and obesity has started to go down.

Patients have also stated that they saw the text messages as a nice personal touch and a reminder that they always have someone there looking out for them. One patient in particular, Graeme Wilson, said he now keeps an eye out on his diet, thanks to the SMS he receives – especially the salt content he consumes.

But probably the most awe-inspiring outcome of all, is that the team behind the texts have just won a Google Impact Challenge Award. This achievement means that they should have the backing to implement this remarkable method of communication in various healthcare organisations around the world – including China and India.

It just goes to show how a simple technology like SMS can change lives.

Inspired by this award-winning campaign?

If you’re interested in improving your communications, the health of your patients and streamlining your services – find out how Textlocal can help you deliver all of this with our SMS platform today.

We integrate with Patient Administration Systems and GP systems such as EMIS, so be assured that we deliver integrated solutions to maximise efficiency and functionality.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04fnvqh