32 percent of Americans want more health messaging

By Jonah Comstock
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Varolii surveyAmericans are more and more receptive to companies contacting them via email and text message, and healthcare is the area in which they most trust companies with their information, according to a new survey from the Varolii Corporation, a recently acquired subsidiary of Nuance.

In the survey of 1,000 American consumers, Varolii asked them about communications in every aspect of their lives, including finance, retail, utilities, phone and cable companies and healthcare. Respondents were particularly interested in proactive messaging from companies -- messages that remind them to take a certain action before its too late.

Seventy percent said proactive messages might have helped them avoid a major issue like an overdraft fee or cable service interruption. In particular, 32 percent of responders believed proactive messaging could have helped them avoid a healthcare issue like a missed appointment or a forgotten medication.

Asked to list "most welcomed messages," respondents named three health-related messages. Sixty-nine percent welcomed a reminder about an upcoming appointment or vaccination, 57 percent mentioned a notice to reorder or pick up a prescription, and 39 percent would be happy with a message reminding them to schedule an appointment.

The study found that 80 percent of respondents trust companies to know when and how much to contact them, and found healthcare-related companies -- including providers, pharmacists, and insurance providers -- to be the most trusted group in the survey.

While email was the preferred form of contact, with 79 percent rating it the most acceptable, tolerance for being contacted by text message was on the rise. About 20 percent of total respondents preferred text messages, while 36 percent of "digital natives" (respondents aged 18-24) wanted to be contacted via text.

In related news, Canada Health InfoWay commissioned a survey of 2,252 Canadians about their use of digital health technology. The survey, conducted by Harris/Decima, found that 86 percent of Canadians agree that digital health will provide health information to a care team in an emergency situation.  In addition, 86 percent believe it's important that their doctors use electronic medical records and 90 percent of Canadians who access their own health information online described the experience as positive.

A full 96 percent think it's important that the Canadian national health care system makes use of digital health tools and capabilities, and 89 percent feel it is important that they personally have full advantage of those tools and capabilities. Canada Health InfoWay, a government-funded nonprofit, recently launched its BetterHealthTogether campaign to promote digital health in Canada and educate patients and providers.