HIPAA Secure Texting

Secure Messaging Trends: The Role Of The Sender & Wording

November 30, 2015 | Uniphy Health

The impact of innovative text messaging based mHealth initiatives on patient engagement and disease self-management have been the subject of much talk lately. These recent surveys and clinical studies contain useful insights on the pitfalls and successes of hospitals and providers attempting to develop patient-centric, text messaging based services.


Hospitals are testing the significance of messages sent via text on patients.

  • NHS hospitals reduced non-attenders by almost 25% by sending text message appointment reminders to outpatients that includes the cost of the appointment. (Source: The Guardian)
  • A clinical trial conducted at Johns Hopkins University found that personalized text messages that encourage people to increase their physical activity a bit more or congratulate them for having done so make a significant difference. In their study of 48 individuals, those who received text nudges were twice as likely to walk farther and reach a preset goal of 10,000 steps daily. (Source: News Medical)


mHealth initiatives that take patient demographics into consideration more likely to achieve high adoption and engagement.

  • Hispanics are nearly 3X more likely than non-Hispanics to use a mobile device for health-related reasons such as scheduling an appointment, and are more willing to use technology to monitor health by checking vital signs or glucose levels. (Source: PwC)
  • Boosting the digital literacy of patients invited to use mHealth and telehealth tools is a critical component of an initiative’s success. Researchers from Vanderbilt University realized exceptionally low patient adoption of an online patient portal. Participating kidney disease patients were neither trained on how to sign up or use the portal. Those who didn’t use the portal were more likely to be black, enrolled in Medicaid or Medicare, and have a lower-income. (Source: Telecare Aware)


Despite the headlines, the majority of patients still lack access to secure messaging enabled mHealth or telehealth tools.

  • Just 9 percent of over 5,000 Americans ages 18-65 in recent survey reported that they receive appointment reminders by text (Source: Nielsen)
  • 26 percent of surveyed health consumers are interested in submitting photos of medical conditions in preparation for phone or email consultations with their clinicians. (Source: Nielsen)
  • Research on telehealth has proven that it can be used to improve patient health outcomes, but the cost of adopting these solutions has been a barrier for ACOs. In response, CMS has introduced a new MSSP waiver that ACOs can use to receive reimbursements on telehealth programs. (Source: mHealth news)

Educational onboarding, technical support services, and content planning must be part of hospitals’ strategies for developing patient-centric, secure texting solutions. The supporting technology must also be HIPAA secure so that patients can make data-driven disease and health management decisions.

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