In April 2017, the clinic at Haida Gwaii Hospital (HGH) launched text-messaging communication where enrolled patients have the ability to communicate health care needs with the care team at the hospital. Currently, about 110 patients are using the service and most find it useful. Some use it to request appointment booking, some to request renewal of medications, some to share results. In the first 16 months of use, we dealt with nearly 1000 care conversations, many of which were successful at preventing a phone call to reception or a visit to the clinic.
The system we use is called Weltel, a web-based texting platform that organizes and archives text conversations. We are looking at ways of up-scaling use so that we are able to offer it to more people served by HGH, and we are sharing our experience of using this program elsewhere. There are countries in Africa where people have been receiving text-messaging based care for many years. It is ironic that Canada and the US have yet to use this form of communication. Who knows? One day, we might be routinely supporting health care with text-messaging and catch up with Kenya and Rwanda!
For more information about this project, please contact Alissa MacMullin, the project coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr Tracy Morton @ 250-559-4901.