Serving patient populations with poor health outcomes can be a heavy burden for an already taxed healthcare system. Healthcare technologies today are typically designed for English-speakers with access to technology and ample resources, inadvertently ignoring some of the community's most vulnerable. CareMessage is a San Francisco-based nonprofit designing the right technology to reach underserved communities and make them healthier.
CareMessage found that low-income, less-educated individuals are 2-4 times more likely to use text messaging, making it the most effective way to reach these patients. They partner with providers to design messaging programs that engage patients and provide ongoing health education, while also helping them track their success. Messages are available in Spanish, with more languages to come, and are written below a 6th-grade reading level with underserved populations in mind.
Their approach seems to be working. With over one million patients added since 2013, no-show rates have been reduced between 5-12 percent and 23 percent of individuals scheduled an appointment after receiving a CareMessage, versus only 6 percent that were directly contacted by the clinic. More doctors visits have resulted in more preventative care, adherence, and better health outcomes overall.