South African health-care industry to use SMS

Von Computing SA

The South African health-care industry is beginning to realize the benefits that SMS technology can bring in terms of reducing costs, increasing productivity and simplifying management burden, claims Rob Airey, director at SMS Cellular Services.

?Presently, the most compelling benefits of SMS technology result from the ability to implement it throughout all centers of business operation,? he adds.

?Applications specific to the health-care environment include the ability to notify patients of appointments, changes in schedules, patient numbers, medical aid approvals, communicating membership numbers to new members, etc. With SMS messaging, health-care providers and administrators have the ability to save an estimated R1.50 (US$0.24) per communication, when compared to the cost of making a conventional phone call. In terms of time saved, companies can expect to reduce the time taken to communicate with clients by at least 2.5 minutes per communication,? Airey explains.

?The benefits of using SMS technology also extend into the realm of debtors management, saving the health-care administrator time and money that would normally have been spent through individualized outbound telephone calls or letter campaigns. By comparison, an SMS solution would significantly cut costs, as expensive telephone calls would no longer be used as the first line of contact with members,? he continues.

?Since SMS technology can be deployed to reduce costs, wherever communication between internal or external parties in an organization takes place, businesses of all sizes are seeing the economic benefits,? says Airey.

"With compelling reasons like these, the more pertinent question should center on why more health-care institutions are not making use of this functionality, as opposed to whether or not SMS has a viable role to play in the health-care industry,? he concludes.