Imagine your office phone ringing endlessly and having to answer simple questions such as “can you squeeze me in for an appointment today?” As a healthcare provider, inefficient patient communication can be a huge barrier.
Now imagine being able to quickly and quietly respond to patient text messages right from your mobile phone. When you enable medical office texting, you can treat their request like a silent phone call.
While there might be some questions about why your medical office needs patient text messaging, this article will answer your burning questions so you can start caring for your patients more effectively and efficiently.
Is it illegal for healthcare organizations to text their patients?
No, it is not illegal for healthcare practices to use cell phone solutions to send text reminders, a survey for feedback, or answer inquiries, just so long as your clinic uses texting best practices.
While using mobile numbers to communicate with patients is a great idea to further personalize patient care, there are a few rules in the healthcare industry that you must follow.
It's always a good idea to double-check with your legal counsel, but there is also existing software built for health systems that are HIPPA compliant, to allow you to reach patients the easy way - through texting.
Why should you text patients?
Texting is the #1 preferred communication method for your patients.
When you look at the numbers, it doesn’t make sense to keep relying on phone calls and emails. The reason why is because patients only open about 20% of emails and answer 45% of phone calls, but text messages have a 99% open rate.
With such a strong emphasis on technology in today’s day and age, it’s not a surprise that texting is a favorite communication channel.
In fact, 85% of customers prefer receiving a text message as opposed to a phone call or email.
That means that your health services and medical care must adapt to patients' needs in real-time to establish better patient relationships.
Texting is also cost-efficient.
Text messaging is not only preferred by your patients but it's more efficient and cost-effective for your medical practice.
A Forrester research report states that a phone conversation costs about $15.50 per interaction on average, whereas two-way text messaging costs between $1-5.
A text-first communication strategy can enable your medical office to reach patients more effectively.
Not only is it cheaper per interaction but it's also a great way to reduce no-shows. An example of improving this process is to send appointment reminders.
Let's be real, patient no-shows are frustrating as it means your clinic loses out on revenue from that patient. Beyond revenue, when a patient doesn't show up, it deprives another patient in need of an appointment.
Although patient no-shows are an unfortunate reality, patient text messaging can help minimize the amount of lost opportunity your practice experiences.
It’s been proven that clinics can see a 50% decrease in no-shows when text message reminders are scheduled and sent out to patients.
The good news with using SMS technology means that you won’t ever catch your patients at a “bad time”. Sending SMS appointment reminders allows you to reach your patient's mobile devices easily without fear of being sent to voicemail.
Get New Patients in your Waiting Rooms.
Setting up new appointments is no small task for your staff. It can be time-consuming and frustrating. Whether your clinic is a fee-for-service or you’re reimbursed for your services, you need to have patients coming through your front doors.
SMS can be used to help assist with automated outreach and it has higher conversion rates than calling new prospects.
Facilitate Better Patient-Provider Relationships.
Enabling text messaging allows for direct communication between a patient and their health care provider. It helps build a deeper connection as patients are invited to have a deeper conversation about their health which can facilitate better health care management.
With texting, your patients can get answers to their questions that may not require an appointment.
Texting can also help your patients easily schedule appointments, receive appointment reminders and updates, and check in to a virtual waiting room prior to their appointment to help ease administrative processes.
Although patient text messaging can help your practice, there are some guidelines your practice needs to make.
Keeping your patient's privacy in mind is good practice when communicating with your patients. You want to ensure that you are using secure text messaging to keep both your doctors, staff members, and patient information safe.
Not everyone loves texting, especially older patients. So be sure to give your patients a choice to indicate what their preferred method of communication is (text, email, phone calls, etc.).
Providing options to your patients can help guarantee a positive and seamless patient experience.
There are risks associated with texting, so make sure that your office has a standard written policy in place that will protect your patients and your office. You and your medical staff want to ensure that you are using secure communication platforms that ensure patient confidentiality.
If communicating Protected Health Information (PHI) is important, make sure your healthcare texting service meets the HIPAA minimum requirements.
And remember to ask your patients for consent. When it comes to medical messaging, consent is a priority when doing patient outreach. Failing to receive consent can put you in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), and will carry serious fines. Primary care physicians must receive written consent before messaging begins; verbal consent is not enough.
Ready to Grow Your Business?
With patient text messaging you can quickly respond, transfer their request to the right person, schedule time, send SMS reminders for upcoming appointments, and much more. You’ll make your practice better and keep your patients happy.
Our mission is to help local businesses and clinics grow by making it easier to communicate with patients. With modern messaging technology, your practice can implement text messaging, Web Chat, and Team Chat, all on one platform. We want to help you build relationships, take control of your online reputation, and grow your practice today. To learn more, book your demo here: