Why you should text your patients
In this busy world, how are you supposed to get your patients to pay attention to what matters most: their health?
How do you cut through the noise to remind patients about appointments, preventive care, and important announcements?
You have a big advantage. You have a personal connection with your patients and clients. They know you. They trust you.
Email open rates are declining. Phone call answers continue to plummet.
But one communication channel is steadily gaining momentum: text messaging.
Patients prefer text messages
It’s no surprise that 96% of adults in the United States own a cell phone.
There is good reason to believe that Americans prefer texting over talking. Especially Millennials and Generation Z.
Plus, text messages have far better engagement than emails.
Almost all (95%) text messages are read within 3 minutes of being sent. That individual who “never got” your text message is probably just guilty she or he forgot to respond.
In fact, upwards of 89% of consumers prefer to have access to texting their service provider. And, more importantly, 86% have notifications enabled on a smartphone device.
These preferences for text messaging extend to healthcare. In a recent patient survey, MGMA found that the majority of patients who miss appointments do so because they forget. When asked what could be done to help them remember, 38% asked for text message reminders.
Email and voicemail messages may not be seen by your patients. After all, spam is pervasive. Increasing numbers of robocalls and newsletters are pushing people elsewhere. Yet, your patients will likely see any text messages that your practice sends.
Text messages are effective
There have been over 160 studies of the efficacy of text messaging for appointment and medical compliance reminders.
A comprehensive scientific literature review in 2018 found that “…nearly all the SMS-reminder studies helped improve patient medical compliance and appointment reminders”. Text message reminders were almost always reported to be easy to use, inexpensive, and low risk.
If you are not yet offering text messaging, you may be in the minority. According to another poll by MGMA, 68% of surveyed medical practices are using some form of text messaging to communicate with patients.
Even if you are using text messaging, you may not be using it for everything you could. If you are struggling with no-shows, late arrivals, payment delays, or inconsistent appointment volume, text messaging can help.
Stay tuned for practical tips for texting your patients.