Using Text Messages to Cut Costs, Save Time, and Boost Revenue

Posted on Oct 19, 2017 by Lori Boyer

Healthcare practices are experiencing rising costsIt’s time to face the truth—the costs of running a practice are going up. And everyone is feeling the pinch.

More than 84% of physicians surveyed by Medical Economics said their practices are doing the same or worse financially than a year ago. Ouch.

And the Physician Practice's 2016 Great American Physician (GAP) Survey reports that rising deductibles and cost sharing make it difficult for practices to provide good healthcare to their patients.

Maybe you’ve been cutting back. But if you think you can't carve another penny from your list of expenditures, think again.

Automation can help you save big time. It can help you:

1. Reduce no-shows

Isn’t it just the worst when patients don’t show up? How many missed appointments do you have each Text messages can reduce patient no-show ratesyear? Unless you can count the number on one hand, the financial impact can be huge.

Fortunately, there are ways to reduce this pain. Studies have shown that patient reminders reduce no-shows by up to 80 percent. Automated reminders prevent no-shows by making sure patients get their reminders and confirm their appointment. That’s without staff ever picking up the phone (which is a great thing since up to 90 percent of people no long even answer the phone!). Patients can simply reply to a text or click an email link to confirm.

There is no need to waste hours on voicemails that will likely go unheard and unreturned. Text messages,  on the other hand, are typically read within three minutes, and more than 98 percent of people check email at least once a day. Bam!

2. Boost retention and recare rates

It's important to let patients know when they are due for their next appointment. Ideally, this has already taken place during their last visit and you can simply send out a reminder or two (see #1 above). If not, however, you should be able to automatically send out messages when patients are due (or overdue!). An automated system relieves administrative staff to spend more time running the best practice possible.

How do you send recare reminders? Postcards are one of the most common methods,  but they can be  expensive to print and mail and take time to schedule. Customized emails and texts reach patients more efficiently. They are also much more likely to be read and responded to. 

3. Promote new services

In this day and age, technology is constantly changing. The same is true in healthcare. If you have a fancy new way of helping patients, use automated messaging to reach out and let them know. This helps spark appointments and help you see quick return on product and technology investments.  For example, consider an OB/GYN that invests in 3D sonograms. By announcing the new technology, the practice will attract patients who might otherwise go somewhere else. But it’s not just about new patients. Sending   notifications to existing patients about the change can increase requests as well. It's a win-win.

4. Improve collection rates

Improve healthcare collection rates with targeted messagingDid you know that outpatient practices typically report a payment collection rate of just 60 percent? Ouch. This means that for every $1 billed, only 60 cents is received. Automated payment reminder systems can greatly improve collections and are convenient for both the practice and the patient. You can set individual payment minimums and customize payment scheduling. This ensures each patient receives the right reminders at the right time. By giving patients options on how they can pay, you'll receive your money faster. 

5. Reduce employee workload

Managing appointments by phone can mean up to 20 calls per hour. The average call takes 2 minutes. You do the math. It's not good. In addition, during a phone call, office workers can’t spend face time with patients in the office, impacting patient satisfaction, something that is now more important than ever.

Automated digital reminders and notifications can address this challenge. Studies have shown that you don't need to be chatting with a patient on the phone to keep that personal touch. Email and text messages (done right) can have the same impact, but without taking up your entire day.

Take advantage of the benefits technology can give you. Automating your reminders and notifications can save you both time and money. 

Want to unlock the potential of reminders and notifications? Read "Text Your Patients the Right Way."

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Lori Boyer

Lori Boyer

Lori Boyer has spent over a decade developing content and customer strategy for a wide variety of companies. She especially loves "walking a mile" in the shoes of her target audience. At Solutionreach we focus on relationships - building and maintaining them. She does the same. Lori Boyer is a lover of crisp fall mornings, a good book, and just about anything Beauty and the Beast related.

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