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Surprising Statistics on Text Messaging and What They Mean for Healthcare

Posted by Debra Zalvan on May 9, 2017 3:00:00 PM
Debra Zalvan
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Thinking about implementing text (SMS) communications with your patients? Texting, the 160-character messages sent to and from a mobile device, is the most widely-used basic smartphone feature.

Since 2009, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has acknowledged that texting is an easy way to share health messages with large populations.

But is it effective? Here are some surprising statistics about text messaging and its applicability in healthcare.

Stat 1: Text messages have a 98% open rate.

The Deeper Dive:

Research shows that nearly all text messages are opened. But text message open rates are defined differently than traditional email open rates. A text message is counted as opened when it arrives on your phone, NOT— as you might think—when you open your messaging app to read it.

That said, the high open rates are still good news. Most smartphones are set up to automatically show a preview of each text message. So, you can count on most people scanning your text enough to click for more information of interest, especially when it’s personalized to their care experience.

Texting patients to guide the care episode: See how it works. 

Stat 2: Text messaging is the most widely- and frequently-used smartphone app.

The Deeper Dive:

People use smartphones to text more than they use other apps, including health apps. A Pew study found that 97% of Americans use their phone’s texting feature at least once a day.

Break down that data by age group and it doesn’t vary much: 100% of 18- to 29-year-olds use text daily or more often, and 92% of those ages 50 and older do as well. Still, it’s worth noting that video, voice calls and email remain popular, too, among all age groups.


Stat 3: 80% of people worldwide want to text with their doctors.

The Deeper Dive:

Texting has become the accepted way for healthcare consumers to communicate—not only with their friends, but with their healthcare providers, too. Your patients are not just okay with you texting them—they expect you to.

Text messaging is where patients are. To guide the conversation and move healthcare forward, it’s important to pay attention to patients’ communication preferences.


Topics: Patient Experience, Innovation, Healthcare Technology, Texting in Healthcare