Competing for your patient’s attention is difficult. Between constant spam calls and emails, many of today’s consumers ignore communication attempts from businesses. Not only is spam on the rise, but reading through mail or returning a collection call is a time-consuming task that many avoid.
Additionally, the uncertain healthcare landscape has made medical care more stressful than ever before. Patients are especially concerned about visiting doctors in person and the rising costs of treatment.
To help patients feel comfortable again, medical practices are exploring new ways to communicate effectively, a key step in improving the overall care process. Because nearly all American adults (97%) own a cellphone and use text messaging, practices are taking advantage of this communication tool and implementing text message alerts and reminders for healthcare visits and payments.
Patient Text Reminders
Patient text message reminders are used to communicate announcements, remind and confirm appointments, and even notify the patient when their bill becomes available and how to make a payment. Using text messaging to communicate this information is less intrusive than a phone call and is typically read by the patient within minutes, whereas emails and paper statements may be ignored for days or weeks.
As patients try to re-engage with the healthcare industry, they will be attracted to features that simplify their experience and reduce stress. Text message alerts offer a variety of benefits due to the less intrusive format of communication.
Reach Patients Directly
The average American adult spends 4.2 hours each day on their smartphone, a growth of 30% in just two years. As consumers continue to increase their screen time, the likelihood of seeing and responding to reminders or alerts increases correspondingly. Ensuring patients see information in a timely manner helps reduce no-shows and encourages prompt payments.
Patient no-shows can waste time, resources, and revenue. In a recent study, 52% of patients who missed a doctor’s appointment reported they simply forgot to attend or cancel. The most simple and effective way to combat this problem is to utilize text message appointment reminders prior to the scheduled appointment. Patients may then respond by either confirming or canceling their appointment.
Collecting patient-owed balances is another pressing challenge healthcare systems are currently facing. Patients who receive their medical bills in the mail or even via email may put off the payment process due to hassle, confusion, or inability to pay. Using text messaging to communicate when the bill is available reaches the patient immediately, and typically provides guidance on paying the balance instantly. When a bill becomes past due, patient text reminders are especially helpful in reminding them to make a payment or seek assistance.
Implementing patient text message reminders ensures a personalized healthcare experience for each person. Patients may opt-in to receive these messages and decide the frequency of alerts. They may also edit their preferences over time, allowing each patient to create their own personalized system.
Utilizing text messaging reminders is a HIPAA-compliant method to securely store patient data, saving patients time with each visit. Communicating via text also eliminates the need for another app or account with additional sign-in information to remember.
Save Time and Money
Once the initial setup is complete, minimal human capital is needed to manage and maintain patient text message reminders. The alerts are set up to send automatically prior to an appointment or when a payment is due, not requiring much effort from practice staff. The time saved by eliminating manual patient outreach can make a substantial difference in other practice functions.
Text message alerts also guarantee that patients will see the message within minutes or maybe hours, compared to days or weeks with traditional mailed statements. Eliminating the downtime prior to patients receiving their balance speeds up payment collection, reducing the likelihood of their balance becoming bad debt.
Turning to text message communications also reduces the need for expensive mailing supplies like paper and stamps. The post office is on track to continue raising mailing costs in the coming years, adding expense strains to healthcare systems. Shifting to digital-based communications is the easiest way to manage supplies costs, leaving more money for other important practice functions.
Seeking and receiving medical care can add significant stress to anyone’s life. Healthcare systems that aim to simplify the experience for patients by adding digital communication tools like patient text reminders generally have greater patient retention, better reviews, and ultimately collect more revenues. Additionally, utilizing this technology helps save money on human labor and supplies.
Taking advantage of the latest available technology serves to impress patients while reducing the resources needed to provide services and collect financial responsibility from patients.
MailMyStatements is a technology-driven patient statement and payment vendor that offers managed billing needs from payment plan capabilities to statement design. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our various solutions to help increase patient collections.
Heather Turnbaugh is the Content and Social Media Marketing Manager at MailMyStatements. She enjoys snowboarding, working out, and napping.
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