Welcome back to the second half of our two-part article on reaching out to patients through SMS phone texting. Last time we talked about how modern patients are far more likely to read and answer a text message than an automated reminder emails, making SMS a more effective way to increase patient engagement Once you have SMS integrated into your communications software, you can begin to build a network of opt-in patients who want to receive reminders, alerts, and updates through text messaging. Let's pick up where we left off at building your patient network.
Make it Easy to Sign Up Online
Even for patients who don't check their email or opt into your SMS messaging system initially, they may still be interested in the service when they see another patient getting helpful appointment alerts or after talking about the system with a nurse during their latest appointment. Your ideal goal is to get as many patients connected to the SMS engagement system as possible, no matter how long they've been patients or if they've declined the service before. The best way to do this is by making the service easily available on your website and patient portal. This way, any patient who would like to start receiving messages can do so easily. You may also consider creating an opt-in opportunity for new and returning patients booking appointments online.
Keeping Track of Patients with SMS
Unlike email, texting has the amazing ability to reach out to your patients no matter where they are. Even if they're on vacation halfway across the world, if they have phone service they will get your text. Cellphones tend to be kept on the body, easily at hand at all times meaning that your message won't sit in an inbox for hours waiting for them to come home or get around to checking their email. The phone will chime and your patient will read the message right away without even considering who it's from. This not only lets you 'sneak up' on patients who have been avoiding the doctor, it's also incredibly helpful for already engaged patients waiting for important news.
Those who are hoping to hear back about test results or the medical condition of a loved one will be eager to receive texts and even prefer this communication method to email because vital news can come to them immediately, whether they're at home, work, or out running errands. Text messages can also be used as helpful appointment alarms, reminding patients to start preparing for their scheduled appointment an hour or so ahead of time so they don't get caught up in other things and arrive late.
Patient Engagement with Two-Way Texting
Modern business texting has come a long way since the early 00's when the first companies began to implement SMS. Once, businesses could send texts out but couldn't receive them in return. Now, you can have the entire package with a single business number patients can use to text you and an inbox that can easily manage all these conversations for you. Whether they need to reschedule an appointment or get a note for their child's school, with two-way texting, your patients will be able to directly engage with your office even if they're on-the-go all day before and after their appointment.
Texting is an incredibly powerful tool in the healthcare industry but very few clinics and providers have begun to use it. If you want a way to reach patients immediately without relying on phone conversations, SMS for your clinic is probably the most effective and enjoyable solution on the market. For more information about increasing your patient engagement, please contact us today!