How to Use Texting with Patients

by | Sep 22, 2021

We are living in the Digital Age, where technology has become our foundation for everything we do, including within the healthcare system. Thanks to the constant evolution of technology, we can easily increase optimal functionality of patient communication and engagement with customizable messages unique to each patient.  

Whether it is for appointment reminders, managing cancellations or scheduling, patient feedback, billing, mass notifications, or birthday and holiday greetings, texting is the newest, most asked for, and reliable way to communicate with patients. 

Appointment Reminders  

Upcoming appointments find a way to slip out of people’s minds, so a reminder in a place where we always look increases the rate patients attend appointments. A week or a couple of days before a patient’s scheduled appointment, you can send this text: 

—SAMPLE MESSAGE— 

Hello [patient’s first name]! You have an appointment at [date, time, and location of appointment]. Are you still able to attend?”  

Instead of directly responding with “CONFIRM” or “CANCEL”, patients can engage in a natural conversation. With Artificial Intelligence integrated within Art of Chat (AoC), the system can identify and appropriately respond to patient’s responses. The initial customizable message will serve as a personal and unique reminder for patients of their upcoming appointments, while any responses will be seamless.  

Managing Cancellations or Rescheduling 

Some appointments are scheduled out weeks or months apart. When scheduling, many people do not know whether they will be available when that time comes. Managing cancellations through text is an effortless way to change the current appointment for another day in an organized way for both the patient and practice. 

—SAMPLE MESSAGE— 

Hi [patient’s first name], you have notified us that you are cancelling your upcoming appointment on [date and time of appointment], would you like to reschedule to a better time? 

If options to cancel and reschedule are available through text, then more people are likely to reschedule their appointment if needed, instead of just not showing up without prior notification to the office. This unique message is like that of a phone call, but simpler in the process for both the patient and practice, allowing someone at the office to jump in on the text while looking at the scheduler.  

Patient Feedback 

After a patient’s appointment, you can ask for feedback on how the experience of their visit or procedure went. Send a conversational survey with AoC via text to help build patient loyalty and increase patient satisfaction and retention rates, and/or ask for a review 

—SAMPLE MESSAGE— 

Hi [patient’s first name], thank you for visiting [name of practice] today. We would like to hear more about your experience. Are you available to answer some questions?” 

Most people are willing to provide feedback on a recent experience if asked soon afterwards. A quick customizable text message consisting of survey questions serves to gather input for the health practice while remaining simple for the patients.

Billing 

It is easy to forget to pay bills, especially if we do not receive notifications. Texting is a straightforward way to alert the patient of upcoming payments, past-due balances, or provide payment plan details and links. 

—SAMPLE MESSAGE— 

Hi [patient’s first name], you have a past due bill in the amount of [bill amount]. Please go to [portal link] to review payment options or complete the payment. If you need further assistance regarding your bill, please call [phone number]. 

Patients can rely on receiving a unique text notification with their bill amount and due date or payment options. In turn, patients will have less stress knowing that there is a reasonable payment plan option or are no lingering unpaid bills.  

Mass notifications 

Most practices and other businesses are sending out mass notifications regarding pre-procedure instructions, requests, directions, or information about COVID-19 and other vaccinations. Notify your patients ahead of time with real-time text updates. 

—SAMPLE MESSAGE— 

Hi [patient’s first name], if you have not received your COVID-19 vaccination shot yet, please schedule an appointment through [patient portal link]. For further information regarding how to set up an appointment, please refer to [link]. If you have already received your vaccination shot, please disregard this message. Stay safe and get vaccinated! 

COVID-19 happened to be the latest and largest mass notification campaign to send out to patients, but this could also include major weather alerts, road construction, and policy updates. Mass notifications help patients make informed decisions before moving forward with their plans. 

Birthday and Holiday Greetings 

It is always a nice feeling when people are greeted on their birthday or for a holiday. A customizable text message is a quick and easy way to stay connected with your patients during busy times. 

—SAMPLE MESSAGE— 

Hi [patient’s first name]! Everyone at [name of practice] is wishing you a Happy Birthday! We hope you have a great day! 

After receiving a kind text message from people who you wouldn’t expect to remember your birthday, people are more likely to build stronger connections with the practice which increases patient retention as a result of that communication and engagement. 

  

Customizable and automated messages are the norm in this day and age and it’s easy to see why. According to an article from JMIR Publications, 79% of patients and providers who use a mobile texting app agreed that it was simple to use and 86% felt comfortable using the app. 79% felt more engaged as a result. All providers included in the survey and most patients (80%) agreed that they can, “effectively develop messages with [their] provider or patient using this messaging applications.” Texting is beneficial for both the patient and provider as it is user friendly and serves as a conversational platform for patient communication and engagement. Not only is it easy to access, convenient, and simple to use, but there are less ways to lose a text—compared to email or phone call—which reemphasizes the reliability of texting with patients. These are some of the reasons why more people of all ages are switching to texting as a mean of communication. Inphonite’s Art of Chat can send an assortment of messages to patients that are unique to the individual. But most importantly, AoC allows healthcare centers to communicate directly and optimally to patients with customizable responses that encourages engagement and interaction between both parties.