The Demand for Text
A recent TeleVox survey at a multispecialty clinic found the following:
- 91% of patients use text messaging on their phone. This figure peaks as high as 97% among patients age 20-29 and is still above 60% among patients age 60 and older!
- 74% of respondents say they would like to receive a text that reminds them of an upcoming appointment.
- 54% of survey respondents say they are more likely to respond to an appointment confirmation text message than a phone call or email.
2-Way SMS for Patients
Why are leading providers choosing TeleVox automated text messages to connect with their patients?
- 2-way automated text messages - Allow you to collect yes/no responses to the messages you send out, giving you quick feedback you can use to confirm appointments and improve service to patients.
- Shared short code - Short code setup and approval can be a costly and lengthy process. We've already done the work for you! All major operators (e.g. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, etc.) have approved our short code programs, so you can be up and running in days rather than months.
- Short code vs. SMTP - Using a short code is the only method that is acceptable to operators. In fact, operators sometimes block applications that are not using a short code. Our short code means you have a more reliable system and reach more patients!
Patient SMS Text Messaging Opt-In
Encouraging patient opt-in is crucial to the success of your automated text messaging program! Here are eight ideas that have worked for current TeleVox clients:
- Use your staff. Train your staff members to ask each patient for their mobile phone number and to update that information in your practice management or scheduling software. An ideal time to do this is during check-in or check-out. Staff can then encourage the patient to text your unique keyword to 622622 to begin receiving text messages from your office. You could also train your scheduling staff to have this discussion with patients when scheduling new or returning visits.
- Update your sign-in sheet. A great way to collect cell phone numbers is to add a field to your sign-in sheet. Then your staff can add that information into your scheduling system. Make sure your staff members tell the patient to text your keyword to 622622 to complete the sign-up process for text messaging.
- Put in "on hold". Information about the text messaging program can be added to your on-hold message so that patients can learn about it while they are waiting to speak with a member of your staff. Sample on-hold message: "Wouldn't it be convenient to get appointment reminders, account and/or care-related information via text message? We've got it! Speak with us about it when we return to the line."
- Use the mail. Why not advertise the availability of text messaging in any regular mailings to your patients, such as invoices or newsletters? Include a message like this: "We now offer convenient appointment reminders, account and/or care related information via text message! If you'd like to sign up for this service, make sure we have your cell phone number on file and text your unique keyword to 622622 to get started."
- Make the call. If you're currently working with TeleVox to deliver appointment reminder calls or other messages, we can add the following to the end of your messages to encourage your patients to sign up for text messaging: "If you'd like to receive text message appointment reminders in the future, make sure we have your cell phone number on file and text your unique keyword to 622622 now."
- Send an email. Emailing your patients to notify them of your new text messaging capability can be a great way to increase adoption. TeleVox can provide you with some suggested wording for this email.
- Utilize counter cards. TeleVox provides you with these counter cards to place at your check-in or check-out areas where they are likely to capture patients' attention. The cards provide simple instructions for signing up for text messaging.
- Update your website. Make sure your website is updated to announce the availability of text messaging. TeleVox can provide you with a banner ad to be placed on your site.
Click for info on automated text messages and your patient communication strategy!