Providers aren’t having much success booking via email anymore. The delay and inefficiency of trying to communicate via email can be frustrating for patients and providers. If your patients can’t book appointments with HIPAA texting yet, you're missing out a increasing ineffeciency in your practice and providing a better patient experience. Texting is here to stay and the numbers support it.
On the other hand, here are the current stats on email:
Email is still alive and does well, however text has become a superior channel to directly communicate regarding something as important as a booking. Partiuclarly with the intent of the patient is high.
To put it simply, email is a cluttered medium. Consumers receive dozens of emails each day, and they read very few of them. High volume of email has trained us to treat emails as low-priority, but text messages are still considered a high-priority medium. Let’s lay out the reasons why your resources should be invested in HIPAA text instead of email. We’ll also provide some tips and tricks to ensure your text bookings are successful.
HIPAA text technology offers fully-automatable responses. New texting software for medical practices offer tools that allow you to craft and schedule effective text messages (without incurring any HIPAA violations). You can set up text messages that enable your patients to confirm, cancel or reschedule appointments, 24/7. Most software automatically replies to clients, meaning you’re not sitting there responding to texts with your precious time (and time is money!). Text messaging for scheduling save time and lower costs across
While emailing can also be automated, it yields fewer results for your effort. Not only that, but emailing also takes longer than texting, both for the provider and the patient. Whether you schedule your emails or write them in real-time, the average email is about 435 words. Emails require formal greetings and signatures, whereas texting is to-the-point. A text message averages just 7 words.
Looking at things from the patient’s perspective, a simple “yes” or “no” may not seem sufficient over email; therefore, they might delay responding (and then forget to respond in most cases). Texting can be as easy as “press 1 to confirm your appointment,” and many patients are more than happy to take two seconds to do so. Texting is concise, simple, and shows that you respect your patient’s time.
In addition, you can include a link to your office phone number in your text, so the patient is one click away from speaking with you on the phone. If your phone number is included in an email, the patient has to transfer the number into their phone before calling (so they might not call at all). Overall, the immediacy of texting saves more time and money in the long-run.
While no-shows can be detrimental to a practice (the US healthcare system loses $150 billion annually to no-shows),hat texting can reduce the occurrence of no-shows by about 38%. Texting makes it as easy as possible for patients to reschedule or cancel their appointment aheads of time (press 1 to reschedule your appointment, 2 to cancel your appointment, or 3 to confirm your appointment). Providers can also offer their patients 1-2 automated appointment reminders to safeguard against forgetfulness or confusion.
Last-Minute Patients: Texting is the solution for filling last-minute openings and keeping those appointment books full. Be deliberate about keeping a waiting list of patients who may be interested in visiting your practice ASAP. A last-minute appointment text may look something like this:
[First Name], we just had an opening for this afternoon at 4:15 pm. Would you like to come in for that appointment instead of waiting until [previously scheduled appointment time]?
New Patients: You can take your last-minute patient text and use a similar approach with warm leads who have not yet become patients. For example:
[First Name], are you interested in meeting with Dr. [Name]? Our appointment books are full through [month], but we just had a consultation appointment open up at 9:00 am tomorrow. If you would like to fill this appointment, please respond with 1.
Existing Patients: Even a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25% or more. It is certainly worth your time and energy to maintain a customer database and reach out on occasion. For example, you could find a list of patients who had an appointment 6 months to 1 year previously, and send them a text message like the one below.
Hi [First Name], it’s time to schedule your next visit. Book your next [appointment/service] with [practice/doctor name] now at [link to calendar].
All Age Groups: Texting is accessible to anyone with a mobile device, even without WIFI connection in most cases. People of all age groups bring their mobile devices with them everywhere, and they’re checking their texts more than ever. In fact, since the pandemic, 50% of cell phone users are sending more texts than they normally would, according to some studies. In similar studies, participants ranging from Gen Z down to baby boomers were asked if they wished more businesses would text them, and 73% responded in the affirmative.
Don’t let your emails rot in patients’ inboxes. Telehealth (including texting, virtual appointments, and online pharmacy options) are becoming extremely effective and convenient. It's a simple win win for patients and providers. Here’s how to implement texting in your practice: