Smartphones have become an indispensable part of our lives. We use it to keep in touch with families and friends, to handle our bank transactions, to arrange transportation, even to track our health—so it makes a ton of sense for pharmacies to use smartphones to increase patient engagement and satisfaction. Here’s 5 reasons why:

1. It improves health literacy.

A shocking 12% of Americans have basic health literacy—aka the capacity to understand basic health information and services in order to make appropriate health decisions. But 62% of smartphone users use their phone to look up healthcare information. By using smart phones for pharmacy-patient engagement, pharmacies have an opportunity to provide patients with accurate, up-to-date information in a systematic way, improving patient health literacy.

2. It improves medication adherence.

Text messaging interventions are proven to improve patients medication adherence; pharmacy interventions using technologies that schedule appointments and send reminders to patients made patients 2.5 times more likely to adhere to their medications. This allows pharmacists to focus more on personal interactions with patients, crucial because a patient’s personal connection with a pharmacist is the number one predictor of medication adherence.

3. It streamlines communications.

Medication and appointment reminders, conversations about health concerns, and sharing important information about healthcare are all part of pharmacy-patient engagement. Using smartphones can significantly speed up these activities—messaging patients, automating medication reminders and scheduling relevant information broadcasts for patients increases patient adherence to their care plan and medication schedule.

4. Patients want to use technology to manage their health.

75% of consumers say technology is important to managing their health and close to 50% use a mobile health app.

5. Pharmacy-led engagement leads to improved quality of health for patients.

In the US, the average wait time for an appointment with a primary care physician is 19.5 days and for specialist clinicians it can be several weeks. One way to address this issue is to empower patients to monitor their own health—and patient-pharmacy engagement can play a huge role in that. Pharmacies can use smartphones to communicate with patients, keep them informed, and remind them of appointments and medication requirements

Patients that are engaged in their own healthcare through pharmacy-led engagement experience improved quality of health. Using smartphones to improve pharmacy-patient engagement is a great idea—and the smartphone technologies pharmacies use to pursue it matter. Vaporstream empowers pharmacies to automate messages including appointment, medication adherence and medication refill reminders via SMS, email or Vaporstream’s secure channel. All communications through Vaporstream are secure, private, and HIPAA-compliant. Learn how Vaporstream can help you increase patient engagement by downloading our healthcare datasheet here.

Contributor: Kristi Perdue Hinkle