Text Messaging (SMS) for Healthcare Providers
Healthcare facilities are omnifarious workplaces around the clock – from walk-ins, paperwork filing, and most importantly, taking good care of patients. With SMS for healthcare, providers can focus less on communication logistics and more on ensuring the patients’ treatment and well-being.
SMS is the gateway for reliable messaging, which is why so many healthcare organizations around the world are adopting text to communicate with patients, doctors, staff, and stakeholders.
Why should healthcare providers use SMS?
Emails are a great way to reach a broad audience but don’t match the effectiveness of SMS messages. More specifically, emails can easily end up in the spam box or sit unnoticed for extended periods of time – rendering this method unreliable and an impediment to the high responsiveness expected in a hospital environment.
Text messages are the fastest way to connect with patients, yielding an average open rate of 98%; furthermore, SMS messages typically get opened within 3 minutes of being sent. With these statistics, it’s clear evidence of the text’s superior efficacy for fundamental medical-related communication.
SMS allows you to get personal with your communication by connecting with patients on the same familiar channel they use for everyday chats and check-ins.
People have the ability to opt-in or out of campaigns, giving them total control over the messages they receive. If a patient is no longer active within a facility, they have the freedom to dismiss future alerts with the push of a button.
SMS campaigns are easy to manage and monitor because of permission-based capabilities, enabling users to send messages to a specified contact at the exact set time.
Rather than sending letters or brochures through the mail, leverage SMS for direct, immediate, and cheap marketing with embedded links to relevant information.
Text messages don’t require an internet connection; therefore, individuals still get important medical-related information with just a cellular signal.
Who will benefit?
Time and information are key to a collaborative, agile work environment. With patients ebbing and flowing through waiting rooms, it’s essential to keep communication airtight to avoid workflow idles.
Hospitals contain certain groups of people responsible for the cohesion of all sections so that they may operate in unison. In emergencies or general announcements, the entire hospital community can benefit from timely alerts directly to everyone’s on-the-go communication medium.
Healthcare providers can realize the advantages of SMS for multiple purposes, such as department meetings, appointments, reminders, prescriptions, seminars, and so forth.
Patients can receive upcoming appointment reminders with message alerts directly on their smartphones. This will help reduce no-shows and encourage early arrivals for pre-visitation intake procedures.
Have sub-nurses filling in at your facility? Get them in the loop and make them part of the team instantly with a detailed list of expected actions upon arrival and throughout their sojourn – helping to maintain a staff abounding in agility, insight, and harmony.
Have a sudden fluctuation of patients coming into the facility? Notify your intendant of the onslaught so that they can plan their sanitation interventions accordingly.
Pro tip: Keep a strong relationship with your patients and reach out regularly with wellness tips – follow up post-visit to see how they’re doing.
How you can use SMS for healthcare
Knowledge is indispensable to manage a medical facility properly. SMS can be leveraged to disseminate information promptly for multiple use cases and prepare individuals for dynamic, unprecedented circumstances.
Give users the ability to schedule new appointments, then inform them about their upcoming visitations directly to their smartphones.
Demand varies seasonally; update job-seekers about current listings and when it comes time for an interview, send them an SMS reminder.
Timing prescription pickups can be frustrating and inconvenient. With text alerts, patients will know precisely when their prescriptions are filled and where to go for pickup.
With the upsurge of COVID-19 cases around the world, citizens are anxious to learn about local outbreaks. Update the community about the rise and fall of cases so that they can plan accordingly. Soon, vaccination alerts will be coming your way, too!
Test results can often take hours or days. With SMS, send your patients results with a secure link so that they can take action accordingly.
Surveys are a great way to improve facility well-being, from patient health, seminars, or even today’s cafeteria menu. Simply send them an SMS and get feedback instantly with fresh opportunities for improvement.
Need to get a shift covered? No worries – reach your entire staff with SMS and find somebody to fill the empty space in minutes.
Guess what?: 48% of consumers say that they prefer to be notified via text message; with email as the runner-up at 22%.
What devices are compatible?
Any device that can receive a message to a unique 10-digit phone number is eligible to opt-in to your SMS campaigns.
This can also include messaging apps such as Google Voice that enables you to create a phone number. The shortcoming to a Google Voice number is that messages can only be received with an internet connection.
How SMS for healthcare works
We broke down the process step-by-step so that you can precisely and confidently conduct successful SMS campaigns. With the proper strategy, text alerts can help strengthen your healthcare facility by putting knowledge at the forefront of all facility activities.
1. Who will manage the SMS campaigns?
Managing an SMS campaign for company-wide communication requires careful consideration. Many healthcare facilities hire a dedicated communications manager for the task. If this isn’t an option for your establishment, you could seek the assistance of a receptionist.
2. Get familiar with the TCPA policy
The individual coordinating the outreach should be familiar with the TCPA Policy for SMS communication within a healthcare organization. The TCPA policy is a set of regulations that govern the quantity of phone calls and messages sent on a day-to-day basis.
To ensure full compliance, your organization should establish quarterly practices and ensure total comprehension of the latest TCPA guidelines.
Learn more about the TCPA policy here.
3. What information will be used?
Before you start sending SMS campaigns to your audience, you need to identify which details you plan to share with your audience. We suggest starting small and scale upwards.
Perhaps start with a survey that asks patients which information they would like to receive. After you get a feel for the basics, start to increase the information sharing output gradually.
4. Facilitation of information
Your medical center should establish an efficient information tree which ensures that the person managing communication has the proper data before sending campaigns. As medical information must be protected at all times, the messages must be encrypted when in transit.
5. Ability to opt-in and opt-out of campaigns
To be able to include people in your SMS campaigns, you need to get their approval. The easiest way to get patients to opt-in is during registration. Alternatively, if you’re already an established healthcare facility and have an existing client base, you can invite users to opt-in via email, during visits, and over the phone.
As individuals have the ability to opt-in, they also need the ability to opt-out. This should be made accessible to people by using keywords such as “Reply STOP to stop”. When they reply using a dedicated keyword, they will be opted-out of any further campaigns until stated otherwise.
6. Sending the campaign
At last, the most important part – the campaign!
Your healthcare facility should be conscious of the number of messages to be shared with its community. If messages are flying in several times a day, users will likely opt-out of campaigns. In fact, this kind of activity is restricted with the TCPA policy.
A good rule of thumb is 2-4 texts per month unless important or urgent information must be shared
Note: In SMS marketing, less is more. SMS only enables you to send up to 160 characters – make those characters count!
SMS platform for healthcare providers
Cloud Contact AI streamlines SMS marketing, helping you reach your audience wherever they are. Our customer communication platform is designed to foster meaningful and reliable relationships with patients for healthcare facilities of all sizes.
With CCAI’s innovative inbox, you can chat back and forth with patients in 2-way conversations, making appointment scheduling effortless.
Engage with patients on a company-wide level, rather than one-by-one messages.
Stay ahead of your schedule by programming messages minutes, hours, days, or months in advance to ensure that patients are aware of and on time for their appointments.
Upload contacts one-by-one, or in bulk in seconds. Also, create contact lists to distinguish between groups or campaigns.
Create and designate multiple numbers for unique departments, regions, and profiles to manage and sort your communication with ease.
Keyword & Short Code
Encourage members to message you with a unique keyword or shortcode to receive general announcements. With COVID-19 on everyone’s radar, hospitals can update patients on local cases, vaccination arrivals, etc.
Prepare for certain situations and create templates in advance so that the message preparation part is done; you just have to choose who to send it to.
With CCAI, you don’t have to worry about being charged for the time you’re not using the platform. Only pay for the messages that have been sent.
Create a personalized experience and use dynamic tags to make your messages more sincere – proven to yield higher engagement rates.
With sub-accounts, hospitals can categorize campaigns by department or location for clear, concise communication.
How to begin
Cloud Contact AI offers a 14-day free trial period so that you can test all of the unique features and see if CCAI is a right fit for you. Try out unlimited messages on us for two weeks with no up-front credit card or contracts required.
1. Sign up on CCAI
Navigate to Cloudcontactai.com and click Sign Up in the header.
2. Upload Contacts
Select Contacts in the left-hand menu and upload contacts one-by-one or as a group in CSV format.
3. Create a campaign
Click SMS in the menu and begin your mass outreach.
Need help getting set up? Shoot us an email; we are happy to assist you!
Not sure if you’re ready to revolutionize the way your healthcare office communicates? Sign up for our 14-day free trial!
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