You’ve probably noticed SMS messaging, or texting, is becoming increasingly popular across the healthcare industry. Compared to emails or voicemails, text messages simply get read at much higher rates and are responded to instantly instead of getting lost in an inbox. After all, both the US and Canada have a population of at least 85% with a smartphone.
If your medical practice isn’t using SMS messaging to communicate with your patients, you are missing out on some valuable benefits today’s technology can offer.
An SMS software solution—both on the web or app platform—is the perfect business texting service for today’s modern health and medical practices, including:
- And more
Reduce no-shows with SMS communication
SMS messaging allows your practice to easily interact with patients before their scheduled appointment. Patients can reply, confirm or cancel right from their mobile device in real-time. You can even provide all the necessary information needed for their appointment, such as what documents to bring and whether they should alter their diets before their arrival. Several studies have shown that SMS appointment reminders not only significantly decrease patient no-shows but also are their preferred method of communication.
Fill open appointments with ease
We’re all busy people and your patients’ schedules can vary for numerous reasons before their appointments. If your practice has cancellations or open schedules, you can use your user database information to alert individual patients of new openings through text messaging. Most people appreciate the flexibility of being able to adapt to their schedules with a one-word text message instead of having to call and reschedule.
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Automate patient replies with pre-loaded, secure text messaging
From dentists to dermatologists, whatever your medical practice may be, automated text messages simplifies the communication workflow. You can easily set up replies based on the parameters and keyword replies you set up in advance to save you and your staff valuable time replying to each individual message. The right SMS software will automatically detect an individual patient’s number, so your customized text messages get to the right person, every time.
Can PHI be sent via SMS?
As a health or medical practitioner, you already know that Protect Health Information (PHI) is information that could potentially identify an individual based on past, present, or future care. You have access to—and must safeguard at all costs—this valuable health data tied directly to your patients, including:
- Billing information
Is healthcare text messaging HIPAA-compliant?
You probably already understand the importance – and risks – of protected health information (HIPAA) in all your SMS communications. Whether your medical practice is scheduling patient appointments, reminders, test results or surveys, an easy-to-use messaging platform puts you in control of the health information you send out through secure text messaging.
According to the HIPPA Journal, “while HIPAA does not specifically prohibit sending PHI by text, in order for texting to be HIPAA compliant, texting safeguards have to be in place to ensure the confidentiality of PHI when it is at rest and in transit.”
In other words, medical texting that does not include personally identifiable information is perfectly acceptable. Some examples of HIPPA-compliant SMS messages include:
- Visit or appointment reminders
- Asking for feedback or to fill out a survey
A few basic practices still apply that will enhance your credibility and relationship with your patients, such as getting your patient’s consent up front to receive and send text messages. Just be sure to document all your communications related to HIPPA-compliant texting and immediately honor any opt-out requests. As always, it is up to your health or medical practice to follow all the HIPAA regulations associated with PHI text message communications to avoid penalties. If you are simply unsure, it’s best practice to consult an expert.
QR code subscription capabilities
You have the ability to make customized QR codes so patients can subscribe to SMS news and updates – right from their smartphone. These codes can be placed in the high-traffic areas of your office and are perfect for an advertisement right in the lobby or waiting room while patients are waiting to be seen.
You can also use a customized QR code as part of a marketing campaign to attract new patients to sign up for updates or ads from your medical practice. Think postcards, flyers or mailers, for instance. Once a code is scanned, you can provide instant SMS notifications to the audience of your choice while increasing your prospecting database at the same time.
Improve overall patient engagement
Effective communication has always been the key to patient engagement and satisfaction. You can say goodbye to phone calls and voicemails as your primary way to communicate with patients because digital communication via text messages is faster and more convenient for your patients of virtually every age and demographic.
SMS simply allows your medical practice to foster patient relationships in ways that weren’t available in the past. Two-way, text-first communication from your medical practice to your patients has never been easier or cost-effective.
Save money with SMS medical text messages
Health and medical practices, often short on staff and sometimes run by a single individual, face the ongoing pressure to please their patients while turning a profit. Once our medical practitioner users try SMS text software, they never go back to their old ways of communication.
Whether you employ a small staff or are a solo healthcare entrepreneur, SMS messaging for medical practitioners ensures you communicate as efficiently and effectively as possible so you can focus on your patients’ health and well-being. You can boil down the benefits of what SMS can do for your healthcare practice to three major takeaways:
- Save time and money through affordable, streamlined communications
- Stay current with patient expectations and modern practices
- Remain marketable in crowded health and medical field