Sadly, Skin cancer is more common in remote areas of Australia than city centres. There are many reasons why. One contributing factor is that it’s harder to get a skin cancer diagnosis in rural areas. Major towns can be hundreds of kilometres away and specialists are limited in regional hubs.

Enter, The Lions Cancer Institute. 

A not-for-profit organisation bringing life-saving skin cancer screening to rural towns in Western Australia. For context, Western Australia is more than 2.5 million square kilometres — that’s about the size of Western Europe.

They send a team of volunteer specialists to remote locations for a couple of days. Each screener tries to screen 100 people a day. Every skin cancer screen is free and run by volunteers.

Improving data capture to help find skin cancer 

In a standard Lions skin cancer screen, the screener does a full body check from head to toe. They are looking for signs or signals of skin cancer. 

On average 10-15% of people who get screened by Lions volunteers are referred to a doctor. This is so the doctor can do a detailed check on any abnormalities. 

Sometimes, the screener will detect skin cancers that have been missed by previous checks from the local doctor. And, this detection has actually saved lives. 

Job done, right? Not quite. 

The Lion’s team didn’t have a way to check back in with the patient after the patient had their doctor’s appointment. 

Which means the skin cancer screener didn’t know how accurate they were at detecting skin cancer. They couldn’t track their progress or improve their service delivery. 

They needed feedback, fast. 

However, reaching people in rural areas isn’t as straightforward as in the city. There may be limited mobile internet coverage in some areas. Or, they may have limited mobile data (especially if they’re older patients). 

Trusty text message to the rescue

The Lions team needed to improve their data capture. And, since SMS provides higher click-through and open rates than email, it was the perfect solution. 

Plus, SMS solves the problem of reaching people who don’t have consistent internet access. SMS is sent via normal phone networks, no data required. 

The team set up a simple survey solution. They message patients who have been referred to a doctor six to eight weeks after they have completed the skin cancer screen. This is around the right amount of time it takes for a patient to get to a specialist. 

In each message is a link to an online survey that captures all of the important data. And the team is getting a good response rate with SMS. 

“We have had a 25% – 45% response rate to our surveys”. Lions Cancer Institute 

Each patient is asked whether they consent to receiving the survey at the beginning of the appointment. Survey responses are treated carefully to maintain patient privacy.

Since they started sending messages, the team has found other uses for the data too.

“The survey is important. It gives our screener an indication of how they are identifying skin lesions that could be cancerous after a biopsy is done. We can use the info as a support document when applying for grants or letting people see the results of what we do.”

Lions Cancer Institute

Send SMS surveys of your own and capture data that can change your business. Or, if you’re like the Lions Cancer Institute — save someone’s life. We can help you set-up automated text message surveys too, so it’s nice and easy.

Sign up for a 14 day trial and try ClickSend for yourself. Happy surveying.