HARTSVILLE, S.C. – CareSouth Carolina is unveiling a program to help its patients receive access to valuable health information through one of the most popular communication platforms in the world today: text messaging.
Through CareMessage, patients can receive health education tips regarding their chronic diseases, knowledge on programs being offered to them and a variety of other useful health information all through text messages.
“This is another tool in our arsenal as we attempt to provide the highest quality health care possible to the residents of the Pee Dee,” said Randall Carlyle, CareSouth Carolina’s chief quality officer. “CareMessage allows us an opportunity to reach patients with helpful health education that will, in turn, lead to healthier outcomes in our communities.”
Ninety percent of American adults own a cellphone and 81 percent use their cellphone to send or receive text messages, making it the most prevalent cellphone activity of all time.
CareSouth Carolina is tasked with serving underserved rural populations that experience many financial and environmental burdens that can impact their health. Research shows that people facing these challenges often find it more difficult to attend medical appointments, take their medication, manage their disease(s) and are more likely to smoke and be obese. However, studies show promising results of the impact that SMS (texting) programs can have on these areas of health.
One study found that income was inversely proportional to texts sent and received- low-income households texted approximately 59 times per day compared to their higher-income peers who texted on average 32 times a day.
Before a patient receives a text of any kind from CareMessage, he or she receives an opt-in message. If they choose to opt-in, they will be enrolled in specialized educational programs based on their gender, health conditions and risks.
Since starting the program, CareSouth Carolina has had more than 36,000 active users.
CareSouth Carolina is a private, nonprofit community health center delivering patient-centered health and life services in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina. CareSouth Carolina operates centers in Bennettsville, Bishopville, Cheraw, Chesterfield, Dillon, Hartsville, Lake View, Latta, McColl and Society Hill.