Background of GBMC
GBMC HealthCare is a non-profit health system with three integrated work systems (Greater Baltimore Medical Center, GBMC Health Partners, and Gilchrist). The 342-bed suburban hospital, with multiple primary care locations and hospice, combines the best of community and university-level medicine to provide high quality, patient-centered care in Baltimore and the surrounding area.
With nearly 1,100 physicians on its medical staff, GBMC's clinical team is one of the largest among Mid-Atlantic community hospitals. With its size comes a need for coordinated communication and support to consistently acquire, educate, retain, and serve patients.
As 2020 became a year known for a global pandemic, appointments for non-essential medical and surgical procedures were canceled due to federal mandates. Several months into the crisis, government restrictions limiting services were removed, and health systems resumed elective care. GBMC, like most U.S. health systems, needed to determine the most effective ways to reengage patients.
Despite the lifting of restrictions, many patients still needed confidence to resume health visits. GBMC's own polling indicated that over 53% of people had concerns about visiting the hospital. With those numbers, health system leaders knew the importance of reengaging patients and assuring them that returning to the health system was safe. Without assurances around safety, patients might not schedule a much-needed appointment or procedure.
Having partnered with Stericycle Communication Solutions since 2006, GBMC knew it could count on the company to help with the unique communication challenges presented by the resumption of service delivery amidst the pandemic.
GBMC wanted a way to quickly reach patients regarding its new safety protocols, which were put in place because of COVID-19. With email open rates averaging approximately 25%, GBMC decided to add text messaging to its patient engagement approach.
Using text messaging features within the Stericycle Communication & Reminders solution, GBMC reached approximately 50,000 patients with a message stating that they were "here for your health needs." The message featured a video explaining the system's new safety protocols plus a letter from the system's Chief Medical Officer. The text messages complemented a multimedia campaign designed to assist GBMC's efforts to get volume back up to pre-COVID-19 levels.
Within the first 24 hours, GBMC had more than 2,000 direct page views that were directly attributed to the campaign. Given that the campaign was designed to sway public opinion and came on the heels of unprecedented, government-mandated service interruptions, every contact mattered. Stericycle's text messaging proved valuable in raising awareness that GBHC Healthcare was safe and accepting patients.