MetroHealth to begin sending text messages to remind patients of immunizations, appointments

CLEVELAND - MetroHealth will be the first health system in northeast Ohio to text patients to remind them of an appointment of that they're due for an immunization.

The reminder text messages for MetroHealth patients will begin in the second quarter of the year.

The health system said they are already using text messaging to remind parents that their young adults are due for vaccinations.

"We are using technology to reach out more to patients to help insure that they receive the care they should be getting," said David Kaelber, chief medical informatics officer at MetroHealth. "These enhanced communications support our overall mission to provide the highest quality of care for all of our patients."

Several pilot projects showed text messaging were the preferred method of communication -- and most effective.

A $150,000 grant aided researchers in completing the study. In the first three months of the study, about 15 percent of those text reminders to parents resulted in additional immunizations for their teens.

"In our immunization reminder project for teenagers, 50 percent of the time texting was the best communication method," he said.

Patients who do not have text message capability or choose not to receive text messages from MetroHealth will continue to get appointment and immunization reminders through other communication methods, such as phone or their online personal health record.

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