How SMS Messaging is Revolutionising the Healthcare Industry
With 64% of people stating they prefer text messaging for customer support, over voice calling – it is no wonder the hectic, often overstretched health care sector is utilising SMS messaging frequently. Below we’ve listed out a range of benefits of using text messaging within the healthcare sector.
It is no secret that the healthcare sector is over stretched and the healthcare professionals within it are often overworked. SMS messaging helps to improve staff efficiencies within the sector, using automated technology to trigger communication that needs to be sent periodically. Text messaging removes some of the training time required to answer phone calls and removes the challenges that can arise with person to person phone calls. SMS messaging ensures the messages sent by your healthcare centre are uniform and remain consistent with the same tone of voice.
One of the biggest benefits of SMS messaging within the healthcare sector is the option for patients to cancel appointments via text. As appointment reminders are sent, patients can be encouraged to respond with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer as to whether they are still able to attend. This can help the healthcare sector save time and money, by freeing up appointments that are no longer needed and improves the attendance record by sending helpful reminders to patients about the details of their appointment.
SMS messaging also provides patients with a reminder service when their prescription is ready to be collected. If a certain drug is only collected every few months, this can prove to be hugely beneficially to the recipient. This could help the healthcare sector to save money and improve cost efficiencies – by reducing the number of uncollected prescriptions. It also means drugs can be freed up for other patients if the initial recipient no longer has a requirement for them.
Customer satisfaction survey
Ensuring your customers feel cared for and listened to is extremely important. Text messages can be used to follow up activity after an appointment to ask different questions about the customer’s experience. From waiting times, to how friendly the patient found their experience of your practice, to how well they felt their enquiry was dealt with – you can cover a range of topics that will help you to improve the service you offer. SMS messaging can be a reactive service, so as people respond to your questions, they are sent a relevant following up text – based on their answer.
Clearing waiting lists
Many healthcare practices struggle to accommodate the growing number of people who are already patients and the waiting list of people waiting to join. Sending periodical text messages to the people registered on your database and asking whether they wish to remain registered, can help you to free up spaces for new patients who are waiting to join your practice. Within your texts, you can state if no response is received the person will be removed from your database within a reasonable time frame, say a couple of months.
You can send real-time SMS messaging to keep your patients in the loop about potential delays to their appointment. This can help to ensure that patients aren’t sat waiting for a long time and getting frustrated about the delay in being seen. In the short term, this can mean appointments are more productive and staff are less likely to be abused by frustrated patients. In the long term, this can mean you are able to monitor the delays you face within your practice and look at making adjustments to avoid appointment delays moving forward. Is it that you have particularly busy times, which has a knock-on effect to the rest of your day? Or that you are understaffed and actually need more health care professionals working within your centre?
Recording and analysing the data you receive from the SMS messages you send to your customers can help you to improve efficiencies throughout your practice.
Follow up messaging
SMS messaging can be used to follow up attended appointments, enquiring if the patient’s recommended treatment is proving effective, or if a follow-up or alternative treatment is required. The text messages sent can be personalised to each individual without appearing insensitively generic. The use of follow-up texts can improve patient relationships, helping people to feel cared for as individuals, and that the practice genuinely cares about their health and wellbeing. It can help to eliminate ‘no show’ appointments and improve patient – practise relationships.
Using text messaging to communicate different treatment options with patients can be a great way of giving the patient space whilst making treatment based decisions. If you work within a healthcare practice that offers a paid service, it allows the patient to decide upon the best course of action for them both physically and financially. You can also text patients when you have offers running on certain treatments or treatment packages, helping you to increase sales of the treatment, and improve your customer relationships.
Within the healthcare sector – often employees are working across different shift patterns, during different times of the day and night. Finding a way to communicate out important information such as shift changes, highlighting legislation updates, staff notifications and urgent updates can be a challenge on top of the demands already placed on your team of healthcare professionals. Utilising text messaging to send out your internal communications can help to keep the infrastructure of your business working effectively and efficiently.
If you manage a healthcare practice, or work as an employee within one and don’t currently use SMS messaging as part of your service, contact Fast SMS to understand exactly how text messaging could transform your current service levels. With so many options available through SMS messaging, understanding where you want to improve customer relations or business efficiencies will be the key in implementing our text messaging service successfully for you.