Introduction: Text messaging may be an effective method for providing health care reminders to patients. We aimed to understand patient access to and preferences for receiving health-related reminders via text message among patients receiving care in safety-net hospitals.
Materials and methods: We conducted face-to-face surveys with 793 patients seeking care in three hospital emergency departments at a large safety-net institution and determined clinical and demographic predictors of preferences for text messaging for health care reminders.
Results: 95% of respondents reported having daily access to text messaging. Text messaging was preferred over e-mail, phone, and letters for communication. 78% of respondents wanted to receive appointment reminders, 56% wanted expiring insurance reminders, and 36% wanted reminders to take their medications. We found no clinical predictors but did find some demographic predictors-including age, ethnicity, insurance status, and income-of wanting text message reminders.
Discussion: In our convenience sample of safety-net patients, text messaging is an accessible, acceptable, and patient-preferred modality for receiving health care reminders. Text messaging may be a promising patient-centered approach for providing health care and insurance reminders to patients seeking care at safety-net institutions.
Keywords: Patient preferences; safety-net; text messaging.