Best Practices: Text Messaging for Doctors and Healthcare Practices
Today, text messaging is more popular than ever and is even surpassing the popularity of traditional phone calls. This rings true with casual communication, as well as when it comes to organizations connecting with their customers. For healthcare practices, text messaging gives patients a more convenient way to stay connected with the office. Read on to learn more about the best practices when it comes to text messaging for your healthcare practice to optimize patient satisfaction.
When it comes to reaching out to your patients via text messaging, you may be subject to certain regulations. However, a good rule of thumb is to always receive clear consent for texting your patients. It is helpful to know that when a patient provides you with their phone number through appointment scheduling or intake forms, this is considered consent to begin texting them. However, you should always give patients the choice to opt-out of receiving text messaging from your practice.
It is also important to take into account that SMS text messages are not encrypted, meaning that the contents of each text message are not completely private. Because of this, you should never include protected health information via text.
When it comes to choosing the right platform to send text messaging to your customers, it is important to choose a HIPAA-compliant tool. You should also choose a tool that streamlines and keeps track of your text messages to make it easier for staff to respond to patients, as well as reduce the chances of losing messages.
Also, seek out texting platforms that allow for newer functionalities such as communicating via text from your website. This will expand access to your practice for both current and potential patients, increasing the opportunity to schedule more appointments.
Once you have decided that you would like to incorporate texting into your communication strategy, it is important to define the ways you will use it. Choosing specific uses for texting will avoid overwhelming your patients with too many messages. Some of the most popular ways to use texting include scheduling appointments, sending automated appointment reminders, notifying patients of a bill, and communicating with the care team or healthcare provider.
After establishing a plan regarding the ways you will use text messaging to communicate with your patients, you should designate a set person to respond to each message, as well as create a workflow to ensure every message receives a response. You should also establish goals regarding response times. For example, will your response time be within 24 hours of the initial message, or one to three business days? Every practice is different, so choose what is reasonable for your office.
To best prepare for answering your patient’s text messages, developing standard responses to use as texts come in is an effective tactic. However, ensure that these responses are personalized, as you don’t want to come off as impersonal or robotic.
Take the first step toward implementing a text messaging platform in your practice with DLM IRIS. IRIS lets you easily capture potential patients from your website and respond to them at your convenience via text message. This makes it easier for both your team and your patients to connect and communicate. Contact us today to learn more about how our conversational AI tool can help you!