Consumers embrace ongoing dialog with the companies they do business with, Varolii Corporation toplines in a survey report, What Do Customers Want? A Growing Appetite for Customer Communications.

Across all vertical industries consumers trust for this dialogue, health care organizations – specifically doctors, pharmacists, and insurance companies – are the most trusted.

Examples of “welcome-comms” would be reminders about upcoming appointments or vaccinations (among 69% of people), notices to reorder or pick up a prescription (57%), and messages encouraging scheduling an appointment (39%).

In banking, notices about fraudulent activity on one’s account is the most welcomed message beating out appointment reminders by a 1% point, with 70%.

There’s a theme underlying most of the welcomed communications: the messaging tends to be proactive, helping people to avoid problems like late payments on credit cards, over-drafting charges from banks, missing deliveries that required a signature of someone at home, and forgetting to take a medication.

The preferred modes for these messages are:

– Email, 79% of people
– Regular mail, 54%
– Cell phone, 23%
– Home phone, 23%
– Text message, 21%
– Social media 18%.

Varoli surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults over 18 for this study.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: People in America are taking on more responsibility for health care in terms of both financing (out of pocket spending, managing deductibles, and sorting out “financial responsibility” on explanations of benefit forms) and clinical decision making (such as taking meds on time and in the right dose, following up with lab tests, checking blood glucose levels regularly to manage diabetes). Messaging – increasingly via texting, Varolii anticipates – helps people, in Varolii’s words, “avoid issues.”

In health care, those issues can be quite serious. Financially, mis-managing payments for insurance premiums or failing to pay off a large medical bill to a hospital can result in a lowering of a person’s FICO credit score or worse. Clinically, missing necessary lab tests might mean missing an earlier diagnosis of a growing tumor or worsening asymptomatic condition like hypertension.

It’s good that most consumers welcome health care messages. These can help people stay well both fiscally and medically. An example is in the news this week, about text messaging program in Sweden saving people in cardiac arrest. Simple text messaging can indeed be a powerful antidote for very sick people.

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