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Get involved in Course Projects: A win-win-win

Want to design a new process for your business? Or are you considering new opportunities, products or tactics? Pairing up with a Missouri State University class may be a great option for you to explore new possibilities.

We’re really gratified that our course projects continue to be utilized and valued. It’s an incredible solution for giving you fresh ideas and approaches.

Moreover, it’s invaluable experience for students. They’re getting to address business questions similar to what they’ll encounter in their future careers…and they might even get to network with someone who could someday help them get a foot in the door somewhere.

In spring 2023, Missouri State’s Marketing 796 course worked on a project for CoxHealth.

“This collaboration gave us a great chance to showcase what a career in healthcare can look like for business students,” said John Chastain, CoxHealth. “As the largest employer in Springfield, we want students to know there is so much more to healthcare than doctors and nurses. We are always on the lookout for innovative talent in areas like Finance, Human Resources, Supply Chain, IT, Analytics and Marketing.” 


Working through the project

The question: How can we improve customer/patient satisfaction with short message system (SMS) communication?

Before coming up with recommendations, the students conducted surveys to better understand patient preferences. Pairing that primary research with supplemental research about consumer behavior, they were able to come up with ideas to improve the current system.

“The students’ research and perspective gave us valuable insights and a deeper understanding of our consumer,” Chastain said.

Especially in health care, patients are concerned about privacy and security. To respond to that concern, the student recommendations focused on calming patient fears by ensuring patients could recognize the legitimacy of the correspondence immediately. This was done through identifying CoxHealth early in the message and providing strong, familiar messaging.

The report reads: “Improving the appearance, readability and perceived security of CoxHealth SMS messages is essential to improve patient engagement.”

"In addition to the changes we made during the project, we have continued to leverage their findings on subsequent work as well.”
John Chastain
John Chastain

Since these interactions are also supposed to be from a healthcare provider – emphasis on care – personalization and tone was key.

Then they recommended changes to the timing as well.

Much of the research circled around when and how far in advance respondents wished to receive appointment and billing reminders.

The students’ report reads: “Through these recommendations, it is possible for CoxHealth to improve its SMS strategy in a meaningful way. This will result in measurable improvements in success metrics, such as hyperlink click-through rates and on-time bill payment rates.”

“This was such an exciting project, allowing students to learn more about the healthcare industry and provide actionable recommendations CoxHealth could use to improve patient communication,” said Chrystal Irons, director of the Missouri SBDC at MSU.

“Our students gain real-world experience through these projects and provide our local businesses and community organizations with valuable insights. A big thank you to CoxHealth for partnering with us on course projects.”