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  • Writer's pictureRMK HOLDINGS INC.

Improving Patient Communication and Revenue by Using Two-way Text Messaging in Healthcare

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

As advancements in technology continue to shape the healthcare industry, it's become increasingly important to streamline communication between you, your patients, and other healthcare professionals involved in your patients’ treatment plan. Traditional methods of communication like email, phone calls, and letters are still used. However, increased administrative operating costs, call blocking technology and rising postage costs all take money and time away from the bottom line.

With so much on your plate, it's difficult to stay on top of new advancements that could improve your practice and streamline your workflow. Two-way text messaging has emerged as a growing innovation in transforming patient communication with its ability to create a quick and efficient way to communicate with many benefits.

Better Communication, Convenience and Accessibility

We have been conditioned to fast delivery from everyday essentials to critical lifesaving medications. This often leads to impersonal encounters. One of the biggest issues facing healthcare providers is a lack of patient engagement in a technology driven culture. Many patients forget appointments, fail to follow up on important tests or procedures, or simply don't understand their treatment plan.

Patients expect quick and easy access to healthcare services too yet also desire personalized care and support which is sometimes lost with new technology methods. But, with two-way text messaging, you can communicate with your patients in real-time, providing a more convenient and accessible experience. Patients can use their smartphones to receive and respond to messages, saving both you and them time and effort. Text messaging can be personalized and allows patients to send messages at their convenience. There may come a time when a patient must have a provider that utilizes text messaging to help them better manage their health.

Improved Patient Engagement

Patient engagement is crucial for better health outcomes and patients are more likely to engage with healthcare when it's convenient to them. Two-way text messaging can help improve patient engagement by sending automated reminders and notifications, bill notices, medication schedules, and follow-up questions to ensure that patients stay on track with their treatment plans which can reduce missed appointments and improve overall outcomes. Patients, in turn, can easily ask questions, share concerns, or request prescription refills, all without the need for an office visit or phone call. This empowers patients to better manage their health and support self-care, leading to improved outcomes.

Increase in Health and Financial Outcomes with Improved Compliance

We have heard many patients state that they didn’t respond to a medical bill balance because they were in recovery, thought insurance already handled the claim or simply allowed life to get in the way. Text messaging can affect health outcomes by improving compliance rates by helping patients follow their treatment plans accurately, resulting in less likelihood of complications or exacerbations. And patients can efficiently pay their balance or self-set up a payment plan via a link contained in the text message.

Our industry should be encouraged and consider adopting text message communication because the 2023 SMS Marketing Statistics show an average open rate of 98%. The statistics further break down use by industry, but healthcare isn’t covered.

Enhance Care Coordination

Another way two-way text messaging can transform your day-to-day interaction is by simplifying communication with staff and colleagues. With text messaging, you can easily communicate with other healthcare providers, coordinate patient care, and share important medical information. This can lead to improved outcomes, reduced errors, and more efficient use of healthcare resources – all of which affects your bottom line.

Two-way text messaging can reduce wait times and enhance patient flow. With text messaging, patients and doctors can conveniently send and receive information, without the need for missed phone calls, back and forth voice mails, or in-person visits.

Additionally, through automation and chatbots, administrative tasks such as appointment scheduling or payment processing can be handled quickly and easily without taking up valuable time for office staff.

Optimizing clinical and administrative workflows saves time and improves the overall patient experience.

Access to Patient Information and Analytic Data

Electronic health records (EHRs) need to be updated frequently to ensure accuracy. Two-way text messaging can help doctors to collect patient data in real-time. This can then be submitted to EHRs, allowing for better coordination of care and better outcomes.

This technology also lends a personalized secure communication approach with patients. Furthermore, text messaging can be used to securely share medical records or other sensitive information, giving doctors and patients peace of mind when it comes to privacy and security.

Two-way text messaging platforms offer analytics data that can show how often a doctor's messages are being read, replied to, or forwarded by the patients. This can help you to confirm the effectiveness of your office’s communication and tailor your messages to deliver an appropriate impact or desired behavior. Further, some two-way texting applications are equipped with artificial intelligence or machine learning, meaning that as the application continues to process new data, diagnostic recommendations will continually improve over time. As with most new technology, analyze potential pitfalls or misinformation gaps.

Improved Response Times

Two-way text messaging can improve response times for non-emergency patient queries. Compared to phone calls, messaging is faster, and patients are more likely to receive a response in a shorter time frame. This is because phone lines can easily become clogged leaving the patient hanging. But texting allows physicians to respond to multiple patients at once.

Reducing Hospital Readmissions

A University of Pennsylvania research study in 2022 shows that two-way text messaging can drastically reduce hospital readmissions. Doctors can send automated messages to patients with chronic conditions that require regular check-ins, which allows them to monitor their progress and address any concerns promptly, reducing the likelihood of patients being readmitted to the hospital and providing a redirect to an alternate care venue when appropriate.

Privacy and Security: HIPAA Compliant

One of the major concerns with sending private health information through digital channels is security. Protected Health Information (PHI) is inherently sensitive data and must be communicated with the highest possible security standards. Text messages can be encrypted to protect sensitive information. Text messaging is HIPAA compliant when the correct procedures are adhered to such as a secure platform along with necessary administrative, physical, and technical safeguards. Two-way text messaging with enforced policies and procedures, safe storage of patient consent and user access controls also reduces security risk thus maintaining confidentiality.

Cost-Effective Solution

Traditional communication methods like phone calls and in-person visits can be costly for both doctors and patients. With two-way texting, doctors can reduce their administrative costs by eliminating lengthy phone calls or unnecessary office visits. Patients can also save money by avoiding costly co-pays or transportation to appointments.

Two-way text messaging is an emerging technology and one that many healthcare professionals are starting to take advantage of. The benefits of improved patient engagement, increased efficiency for healthcare professionals, access to patient data in real-time, and the ability to personalize communication make text messaging an integral tool for healthcare.

This technology provides a tremendous opportunity for doctors to improve communication with patients and improve health outcomes. As more healthcare providers recognize the value of these technologies, two-way text messaging will continue to grow as an essential tool for delivering high-quality care.

Whether an ambulance transportation, physician practice or other professional fee healthcare provider, reach out to us at RMK for a free consult.

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