Could behavioural insights improve patient engagement?

Could behavioural insights improve patient engagement and reduce DNAs? Of the 1.4 million referrals to IAPT in 2017/18, three in five people didn’t complete a course of treatment.

Mayden and The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) recently collaborated on a research project to test how sending text messages to patients on IAPT waiting lists could increase patient engagement and make them more likely to complete treatment.

We’re fascinated by what the trial shows us about the big impact that small changes in the wording and frequency of text messages can have on the way that patients engage with a service. The results are in! But first, some background.

BIT is a social purpose company, started at 10 Downing Street as the world’s first government institution dedicated to the application of behavioural sciences. The team uses insights from behavioural science to encourage people to make better choices for themselves and society.

At Mayden, we believe that technology should work for and with you; increasing your productivity and enabling you to spend less time carrying out day to day admin and other manual operations, and more time seeing patients.

In the study, we used the bulk actions feature in iaptus to send carefully worded text messages that were developed, tested and honed by BIT, to patients at different stages of treatment.

The text messages provided regular updates from services, and reassurance that the service was working to keep the patient moving along the waiting list.

Seven adult IAPT services took part in the trial and each new referral within the services was randomised within iaptus to ensure that the test group patients received the additional messages and that those within the control group did not. A total of 17,065 patients were part of the trial.

The results show that sending text messages to patients between referral and the date of their second appointment being set increases their engagement with the service. These patients were more likely to attend their first and second appointments as well as subsequent appointments. Additionally, sending these messages to patients means they are less likely to drop out of treatment even at a later stage.

Read BIT’s blog for their recap and to view the results of the study.

In summary, by engaging your patients with well-crafted text messages as they await appointments, your service can increase patient engagement, reduce DNAs and improve service productivity.

Would you like to engage your patients in this way? Contact your account manager who will be happy to help.