4 Reasons to Use Text in Your PracticePosted: March 16, 2022 - By Health Dev
Running a medical practice can be difficult — especially in the modern world. Not only are you responsible for the health of your patients, but you’re also required to maintain regulatory compliance, handle legal concerns, and manage your practice.
Most practices experience frequent patient no-shows, which causes scheduling difficulties, throws off treatment timelines, and leads to significant lost revenue annually.
However, you can take a page from other industries to reduce these no-shows. Texting is an increasingly common method for businesses to stay in touch with their patrons. You can do the same with your medical practice to reduce no-shows and improve the overall patient experience.
The Growing Importance of Text Marketing in Medical Practices
Text marketing is one of the most effective ways for businesses and healthcare practices to connect with their patrons. Why? Because texting is the primary way people communicate.
In the U.S., 69% of all messages are sent by phone, compared to any other device. The average person sends three messages per hour. SMS and instant messaging are by far the most common ways people communicate with each other. That means these are communication methods your average patient is likely comfortable with.
Medical practices benefit from having a personal touch, and texting puts people at ease. That makes text a valuable tool for sending appointment reminders to your patients. Making people comfortable improves the likelihood that you’ll get responses to your patient reminders and helps you build their trust in your practice.
That’s not the only reason why texting is valuable, though. There are four other significant benefits of using text marketing in private practices like yours.
1. It Gives You an Advantage Over Competition
The broadest benefit of using text in your private practice is how it sets you apart from your competition. Texting isn’t yet a common way for healthcare practices to communicate with their customers. However, its incredible popularity among consumers makes it an overlooked way to get an edge in crowded industries.
How overlooked is text as a form of patient communication? Only 48% of U.S. businesses are equipped to handle any form of messaging. That includes instant messaging and SMS. More than half of U.S. companies require customers to call, email, or come in person to discuss concerns.
That leaves important communication methods on the table. Practices that don’t offer text patient reminders aren’t making the most of modern technology. They’re allowing other businesses to pass them by and win new advantages.
You can differentiate yourself from your competition by adopting text into your practice. If you’re the only practice in your area that offers text message appointment reminders for upcoming appointments, you’re automatically ahead of the curve. You become the best choice for patients who value fast communication and technology by default. That’s a valuable advantage in an industry becoming more competitive every day.
If your competitors do already offer texting communication with patients, that puts you on the same playing field as them — instead of a step behind.
2. Patients Want to Have Text Conversations
Text wouldn’t give you an advantage if your patients didn’t like using it. It’s an effective communication medium because of its sheer popularity. Your patients actively want to communicate with your practice over text. With the sheer number of texts the average consumer sends, it’s only natural that most people prefer to talk with companies and healthcare practices that way, too.
A staggering 89% of people want to use messaging to communicate with businesses like your medical practice. Nine out of every ten patients would like it if you offered text for appointment reminders.
In fact, nationwide, messaging is the #1 preferred support channel in the U.S. When people have questions for businesses or physicians, they prefer to reach out through text over any other communication channel.
There are several reasons for this.
Your patients are busy and may not have time to make phone calls and potentially get put on hold. Text messaging lets them have the conversation they need without taking time out of their day.
Text also gets faster responses than other forms of communication. With text, there’s no wait for phone calls or emails back. You and the team at your medical practice can respond to patient questions immediately.
That can help patients with small but essential questions get the answers they need in less time. It’s no wonder so many people prefer to use text for automated patient appointment reminders and other conversations.
3. Prevent Appointment No-Shows
Texting patient appointment reminders isn’t just a benefit for your patients. It can also improve your practice’s overall operation and average no-show rate. Texts are a great way to achieve fewer no-shows and keep your patients coming back.
The reason for the communication efficacy of texting is simple. Your patients most likely have their phones with them at all times. Many people will go days without checking their emails, screen their phone calls, or forget to check their voicemails. That’s not a problem with texts.
On most phones, text messages pop up as simple notifications. Instead of forcing your patients to seek out your communications or filter through long lists of promo emails in their inbox, texting makes it difficult to avoid seeing your appointment confirmations.
Texts are excellent at getting your message across — but how can they keep your patients engaged? There are two main solutions.
First, you can use text to send automated appointment reminders to patients you’re expecting to see soon. A simple text patient reminder with their appointment time and a link to an online scheduling server can complement or replace traditional patient appointment reminder cards. Text appointment reminders are better than other solutions because they:
- Don’t require the patient to keep them for potentially months at a time
- Can’t get damaged or lost
- Can be scheduled in advance to arrive a few days before the patient appointment
- Don’t require printing or postage
- Will always make it to the patient
Plus, you can use a patient appointment reminder software like Demandforce to handle all appointment reminder texts automatically, saving you time and effort.
Second, you can use texts to get in touch with unengaged patients. In today’s busy world, some of your patients will inevitably lose track of time and forget to schedule their next appointment. These missed appointments can be harmful for them and your practice. Texts make it easy to recall these people to treatment.
You can use text to send automated reminders to people you haven’t seen in a while and prompt them to reschedule appointments. Your automated reminders will get to them since they won’t be caught in spam filters or mistaken for junk mail. Sometimes, all it takes is a few friendly patient appointment reminders to re-engage your patients with your practice. Texts help you do that more effectively.
4. Better Patient Experience
On a more personal note, texting makes your patients’ experience with your practice better. There’s nothing like an actual conversation with their healthcare team to make a patient feel comfortable with their care. Two-way text messaging makes it easier to have those conversations.
A patient can reach out to you with simple questions and get answers from your team without calling. Texts can even help a patient save entire appointments, freeing up your schedule and theirs at the same time. You can use texting to allow a patient to ask simple questions, request appointment reminders, get appointment confirmation, request medication refills, and more.
These basic tasks don’t require them to meet in person with a physician. Text and automated appointment reminder software allows you to quickly and easily manage these routine requests.
That can have a significant impact on your patients. People with limited mobility, small children, busy schedules, or any other complicating life factors benefit from reducing barriers to care. Something as simple as stopping by your office to request a medication refill can be difficult enough to delay critical care.
Minimizing the number of trips a patient needs to make to your office isn’t just a time-saver. It can actually increase the quality of care these people can receive overall.
For instance, you can prevent delays in medication refills and instruct patients when their concern is worth coming in for an examination without forcing them to upend their routine. Texts make it easier for your most vulnerable patients to have a better patient experience from start to finish.
Improve Your Practice with Text
There’s never been a better time to add text to your practice. Something as simple as adding texting to your communication toolkit can have a sizable impact on your patients’ experience and engagement. People love communicating over text, and it saves you time and effort. More importantly, automated text appointment reminders are an effective way to keep your patients’ treatment on track and improve appointment attendance.
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