5 Unique Ways of Texting in Healthcare

BONUS MATERIAL: SMS API Integration Checklist

Several of our business customers are healthcare organizations such as clinics, appointment scheduling and EMR software companies. These contain protected health information. At this point, it’s obvious that HIPAA compliant SMS notifications to patients are one of the primary users of text messaging; yet we’ve learned of a few other ways that healthcare organizations are using our SMS API platform.

Want to know more? Here's everything you need to know about SMS API providers!

Text messaging in healthcare: Key to better patient-provider communication

Text messages have shifted from being a niche concept in healthcare to being so important now that many providers have incorporated texting into their patient communications. This has become even more important with both patients and healthcare workers having to stay at home due to the COVId-19 pandemic. Text messages are powerful because the patient can view the data quickly and with little effort.

The majority of COVID related text communications have a 99% open rate, and most patients respond in 60 minutes or less showing how useful texting technology can be. Text message offers through appointment confirmations and text-based schedules exactly what they want.

Secure text messaging in healthcare

As much as healthcare firms may want to exploit customer's preferences for text messages, they must do so with careful scepticism. In a healthcare setting, there are a few important questions before sending the texts. The points listed down below, in use of text in healthcare environments, are easy to implement and understand.

HIPAA Compliant Text Messaging

Health providers sending patients reminders by text must follow HIPAA regulations so they follow the national standards of electronic healthcare. Prescription reminders may be sent through text to some patients to avoid missing out on prescriptions. Most patients prefer receiving care info via text message rather than going through medical portals.

Texting in healthcare has the added benefit of allowing communications between all members of a healthcare team. Healthcare providers can always be in contact with each other and provide health information from any location, as long as the texts do not disclose any protected patient information, therefore, breaching HIPAA regulations.

Regular text messages mean less time spent on staff meetups and more time able to treat patients and less time can be wasted in personal contact, reducing healthcare provider's costs.

Patient care and healthcare outcomes are priorities for physicians, and messaging platform technology continues to improve the patient experience. Deploying something as simple as an SMS API has a relatively significant impact on the patient experience. So, here are a few more ways secure text messaging helps in the healthcare sector.

1. Call-to-action 

This is related to those appointment reminders, but it's more important. If you’re adding an appointment reminder, add a shortened link for rescheduling. The clinic will save time, the patient doesn’t need to make a phone call, and the clinic recovers the revenue with an immediately rescheduled appointment. These timely text messages are best sent beforehand as they reduce client no-shows and drive future appointments.

2. Notifying staff 

Don’t stop with the patients. Clinic and hospital staff carry mobile devices as well, so manage internal communication and activity with instant SMS notifications. For added speed of delivery and immediate attention-grabbing, you can use Flash SMS.

Some ideas: emergency messages, maintenance schedules, scheduled cleaning, meeting reminders, shift changes, and even team member birthdays can all be covered via a quick text message.

3. Patient care 

Appointment reminders aren’t the only notifications patients appreciate. How about test results? A quick text message alerts the patient that results are available, and a shortened link can lead them to the comprehensive results in the patient portal.

Recurrent reminders for prescription refills and recurring appointments can be triggered, or even a text reminder to take medication, can prove to be helpful. And these can be useful for the doctors as well - notifying of regular check-ups, giving an overview of the patient’s health before an appointment, etc.

4. News and alerts 

Keep patients informed through texting. Maybe there’s an outbreak in the community that people should know about. Or send health tips and news to a patient's cell phone with a call-to-action to schedule an appointment to learn more.

And if the clinic has some new services or new physicians that patients should know about these can be advertised through SMS. These can include: physical therapy, therapy dogs, dietary counselling, HIPAA compliance, etc.

5. Healthcare software needs to include texting 

While our SMS API, for example, is simple to deploy, not every clinic has an IT department with developers and staff; however, most people have access to mobile devices. This is where healthcare software companies fill the void. EMR software companies or appointment scheduling software companies must give their clients options in communicating with patients.

Not only is it a win for healthcare providers and their patients, but text messaging also becomes part of the revenue model for the healthcare software company. Just as with any CRM, healthcare management software can provide bulk SMS as part of the package. This is best for clinics and hospitals providing a valuable patient service for a reasonable price.

6. (Bonus) Consider omnichannel messaging 

Lastly, omnichannel messaging takes things further with more interactive calls-to-action, as well as more contextual, richer communication. More messaging channels gives patients choices in the way they communicate with their healthcare providers. And that’s powerful, as it helps with the preventative approach to healthcare.

Taavi Rebane
2021-09-01 00:00:00 UTC