Texting is by far the preferred method of communication among most Americans. In fact, 97% use text messaging, which means that pretty much all of your patients are actively texting.
Furthermore, according to a survey of 770 hospital professionals and 1,279 physician practices, 85% of hospitals and 83% of physician practices use secure communication platforms between care teams, patients, and families—a trend that has exploded recently and will continue to grow.
Let’s look at just how important compliant and secure text messaging is for healthcare practices and some examples of how to make the most of it.
Why you should text your patients
- 90% of text messages are read within the first 3 minutes
- 82% of people open every text message they receive
- The average response rate for a text is 90 seconds
- Text click-through rates are 25X higher than email
The numbers don’t lie: people respond to texting as a preferred method of communication. If your medical practice is not yet using text messaging, it’s time to start.
Before you begin, remember it’s important to select a provider that abides by HIPAA’s strict guidelines.
Find a HIPAA-compliant provider
As with any patient communication, you must follow HIPAA rules when it comes to texting. The HIPAA/HITECH privacy and security rules cover any communication with electronic protected health information (ePHI), including e-mail, social media, and text messages. Violations of this rule can earn you fines up to $50,000, so it’s important to find the right service provider.
Find a provider that is HIPAA compliant, like Bubble by Broadvoice, that ensures your patient data is secure and you’re always covered. It’s also important that you receive consent from any patient before you text them. They can either provide you with their phone number or opt-in to receive your texts.
Once your patients have given consent, you’re ready to get started.
Texting can grow your medical practice
There are several ways you can use texting to help enhance the patient experience and grow your business:
Easily schedule and confirm appointments
Patients are eager to see you, but sometimes life happens and they forget they have an upcoming appointment or something comes up. To ensure your patients don’t miss their appointments (and to keep you from losing out on money), send quick reminder texts about all upcoming appointments. This is a painless way to confirm appointments or to reschedule if a patient can no longer come at that specific time.
You can even automate this process by sending out a text reminder to every patient with an upcoming appointment. To easily do this, use Bubble by Broadvoice to tag individuals or groups with upcoming appointments and send out a scheduled text blast or ad hoc texts specifically to those groups. Bubble by Broadvoice even has an open API, so you can sync it with whatever software you use to manage your patient list and always keep your contacts and their status up to date.
It’s also a great way to schedule initial appointments. If someone reaches out on your website looking for an annual physical, your front desk could check the schedule and then text back available time slots. The patient could easily respond with their desired time, adding another appointment to your books!
Increase online reviews
Online reviews are a huge determining factor for people when deciding on a physician. In fact, 79% of patients use online reviews in their provider selection process. That’s why referrals, word of mouth, and reviews are crucial to the success of your business, especially for a small healthcare practice.
Also, the more online reviews you have, the higher you’ll rank in search results when people are searching for a new physician. One easy way to ask a patient for a review is to send them a quick text after their appointment:
With one simple text, you could help your practice receive more online reviews and earn even more future business.
Send surveys and get feedback
One of the biggest struggles for any health care practice is trying to get your patients to give feedback. If you look at the open rates on your emails, you’ll probably find that most patients don’t even open emails with patient surveys.
Rather than trying to get patients to respond via email, send them a quick text to your short survey after their appointment.
You could use Bubble by Broadvoice to trigger these texts to send whenever a patient completes their visit. By automating these texts, you’ll increase your survey participation and help save valuable time.
Earn more business with promotions and campaigns
A great way to get patients to continue to return to your office is with a promotion or discount. For example, if you want to do a campaign for anyone who got a dental cleaning recently, you can easily send out a mass text to all patients who received this service offering them 20% off their next cleaning.
Your patient can respond to the text to receive the promo code and schedule their appointment. It can all be done with simple automation, helping you get more business while saving money in the process.
Simplify the patient experience
Text messaging is an easy way to connect with patients and answer their questions. A platform like Bubble by Broadvoice allows for inbound text routing, which means your patients can text your business phone number and be routed to the next available agent with any questions they might have.
You can even group agents by type so that certain keywords or inquiries get routed to the right place automatically. For example, if you send a confirmation text to a patient with “reply YES to confirm your appointment or AGENT to request a new time,” depending on their response they will automatically be routed to the correct person. If they respond with “AGENT,” they will be routed to the next available agent to speak with regarding their appointment, further helping deliver a superior customer experience.
Prepare for the future
It’s clear that text messaging is a critical mode of patient communication for health care practices, so now’s the time to start texting.
If you’re ready to enhance your patient experience and earn more business, check out Bubble by Broadvoice today.