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3 Reasons Why Practices Should Implement Patient-Initiated Collaborative Texting

Updated: Jul 14, 2022

As phone calls and voicemails remain unanswered and emails and direct messages become lost in a practice’s online care management system, it has become increasingly difficult for patients to communicate efficiently with their providers. With all of the advances being made in healthcare, it seems as though communication-centered technology has been left behind.

There is a way to solve this communication dilemma, and that is by adopting a text-first, HIPAA-compliant, collaborative communication system. Let’s explore three reasons why practices should implement patient-initiated collaborative texting today.

#1: Create More Efficient Medical Practice Operations

Whether you’re looking to reduce call volumes or improve your practice’s workflow, adopting a text-first, SMS/MMS mentality can bring significant change to your practice’s everyday operations.

A clinical staff member’s time in the office can often be consumed by clerical tasks, including reminding patients of upcoming appointments, giving out directions or practice location information, answering questions regarding prescriptions – the list could go on and on. Instead of spending endless hours following up on the phone, clinical staff should be free to care for their patients’ needs.

Adopting a communications platform that supports patient-initiated collaborative texting would alleviate some of this administrative burden, by giving the power to initiate communication to patients -- allowing them to text the office's main number. For example, appointment reminders could be scheduled out in advance, freeing up clinical staff members to follow up on a case-by-case basis rather than following up with every patient. Inbound texts with specific requests could also be routed to the appropriate staff member, which would improve workflow efficiencies and reduce unnecessary outbound communications from the practice.

Relieving clinical staff members of clerical burdens through the implementation of a unified communications platform will allow your practice to streamline operations and get back to direct patient care.

#2: Reduce Barriers to Care

A variety of self-serve medical options gained traction during the pandemic, including online check-in, telehealth visits, digital and electronic payments and electronic communications. With all of these available touch-points that can be covered through texting, why would patients want to make phone calls to book appointments or wait in line to check in at the office? A robust communications platform should support HIPAA-compliant SMS/MMS texting and secure telehealth visits that don’t require logging in to a portal or downloading an app.

In fact, according to a recent survey of healthcare leaders, 83% said improving patient access with digital tools is a top strategic priority. This statistic alone demonstrates the importance of implementing modern communication tools, including texting.

The implementation of patient-initiated collaborative texting not only helps reduce barriers to care by allowing patients to take control, but also reduces the back-and-forth interactions between front-office staff, back-office staff, medical aides and the clinician – ultimately improving practice efficiency.

#3: Increase Patient Satisfaction & Loyalty

It’s no surprise that texting is one of the most frequently used forms of communication for Americans. According to a study, nearly 75% of American Gen Z and Millennials said they prefer texting as opposed to talking to someone. So why haven’t patient preferences extended to their healthcare experience?

It’s clear that patients want to have more significant and timely communications with their providers. Implementing the technology to support these text-based, modern interactions creates a feeling of a concierge’s service, ultimately increasing patient satisfaction and loyalty. By increasing the number of appointment slots available, patients can be seen sooner at a practice. These intentional interactions will lead to patients feeling more connected with their care teams.

At the end of the day, practices want to provide premium services and high-quality care for their patients to both maintain loyalty and increase patient satisfaction. One of the easiest ways practices can achieve those goals is to implement a unified communications platform. Patients want convenience, so meet them where they are – at a channel they feel comfortable using. Let’s face it – you didn’t get into healthcare to deal with clunky technology and outdated workflows. Hire Rhinogram to handle the administrative burden of your day-to-day and get you and your staff back to why you got into healthcare.

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