Texting is the most preferred way for patients to communicate and that includes communication with their healthcare providers. Although private health information cannot be texted due to federal regulations, much of the daily communication between patients and healthcare providers such as appointment reminders, scheduling information, or questions can be easily taken care of through text messages.
Many healthcare providers have implemented texting solutions, but they are not as easy-to-use as they appear to be. Some programs allow the practice to send text messages to patients, but they don’t allow patients to reply. For example, a patient might receive a reminder text from their provider about a scheduled appointment, but if the patient can no longer keep the appointment or has additional questions, they can’t reply in a text message to the practice. They must instead call their provider to resolve their concerns. Other texting solutions only offer a limited number of responses the patient can text the practice, such as yes or no. This type of solution works well for patients who never have any questions and never need to reschedule their appointments, as they can simply reply ‘Yes’ to confirm their appointment, but any other patient would need to call in to the practice.
Other texting solutions offer a workaround to this challenge by rerouting patient replies into an email, and sending it to an inbox managed by the practice. The practice staff must then monitor this additional email inbox and reply with a phone call. This solution is time-consuming for the practice, as checking the email inbox adds another task to their to-do list, and also increases the amount of time they must spend calling patients and leaving voice messages if they can’t be reached.
A system that integrates with existing patient management software and offers two-way texting between patients and providers is the ideal solution. Two-way texting allows easy and convenient communication between the patient and their provider, and can increase the efficiency of the practice. With a text system integrated with existing patient management software, office staff can easily see which of their existing patients are sending them text messages. This eliminates the need to re-enter patient contact information, and patients don’t need to identify themselves in each text. The practice’s staff is able to read and respond to incoming text messages through a chat-like window on their desktop, and patients see a typical text exchange on their mobile device.
Patients prefer to connect with their healthcare provider when it is convenient for them. Offering them the ability to engage in texting conversations instead of phone calls can increase the efficiency in a practice and improve patient relationships.
To learn more about the benefits of a two-way texting solution, click here.