Englewood study shows positive impact texting — yes, texting — can have on health

System presents findings at national conference showing electronic communication helps get patients to schedule overdue mammography screenings

Texting can be good for your health. It’s been proven.

While we’ve all heard how the electronic world can help exacerbate social anxieties — not to mention causing physical ailments such as “text neck” — Englewood Health has shown how text messaging communications can impact patient compliance with screening and potentially improve outcomes.

Englewood Health recently gave a poster presentation of how text messaging was a key to its Overdue Screening Mammogram Campaign of 2023 at the American College of Surgeons’ ACS Cancer Conference in Austin, Texas.

Englewood Health, which used two-way text message reminders for women who were overdue for their screening mammography, found it closed care gaps and improved health outcomes — especially when using a personal outreach approach that specifically targeted patients with a gap in recommended breast cancer screening.

The text message campaign emphasized the importance of mammography screening, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which significantly impacted patient compliance with annual screenings. In the campaign, patients received a two-way text message reminding them of the need to schedule their overdue mammogram. The message included a link to allow for self-scheduling of appointments.

Of the more than 7,000 women who received a text message, close to 20% of patients scheduled a breast imaging appointment. Breast cancer was detected in 0.5% of patients.

Helene Wolk, Englewood chief operating officer and executive vice president of operations, said the results speak for themselves.

“Our success with this campaign demonstrates that, through effective digital outreach, by targeting and personalizing our efforts, we can reengage patients in receiving the care they need, improving outcomes not just for our patients, but for the communities we serve,” she said.

The team’s research indicates that digital outreach, including text reminders, can enhance early diagnosis and patient outcomes in conditions such as breast cancer.

Wolk said Englewood Health has expanded the text reminder campaign to other screenings, such as lung cancer and colorectal cancer.