The best healthcare providers have one thing in common – a loyal base of patients and a reputable brand that attracts new customers.
Healthcare branding is essential in today’s competitive market. But what makes a reputable brand? A fundamental element is reputation management, from physician profiling to managing patient feedback and monitoring reviews. Success, ultimately, comes down to how satisfied patients are, so patient engagement is also key. All providers want this to be synonymous with their brand.
We know in healthcare, that building a trustworthy brand can’t be done without high levels of patient engagement. Missed appointments and poor compliance aren’t going to get patients better or prompt glowing reviews!
Patient experience is not just about the treatment they receive. Communication is also vital. SMS messaging is now playing a key role in healthcare communications. This is having a positive impact on patient satisfaction and boosting reputation and brand. How? The popularity of texting in consumers’ lives means healthcare providers can now improve compliancy and provide the personal touch that builds loyalty.
This blog takes a closer look at how text messaging is making a positive difference to reputation and brand. First, let’s consider how patient satisfaction is measured.
Measuring patient satisfaction
Improving patient experience is a critical aspect of brand development. The more patients are satisfied with their healthcare experience, the more likely they are to recommend you and say good things about you.
Measuring patient satisfaction is, therefore, important, and for two good reasons. Firstly, you need to know what patients think about your services if you are to maintain standards and improve. In simple terms, if you don’t know what’s broke, how can you fix it?
Feedback can bring about innovations, inform decision-making and help to improve patient flow and services. Such improvements are essential if providers want to optimize the patient experience, which is key for a positive brand experience.
Secondly, and of equal importance, is that by asking patients to provide feedback you are sending the message that you value and care about their opinions. This makes patients feel they are part of something, part of a team even. They are at the heart of your brand. Engendering this ‘feeling’ is how loyalty is built.
So, what is the best way to gather feedback from patients? Surveys of course. But how?
The role of texting in patient satisfaction surveys
The role of texting in healthcare is increasing and it’s having positive outcomes on health. Several studies report improved treatment adherence and symptom surveillance, including better self-management and an increase in appointment attendance. Providers are also using SMS messages to disseminate marketing materials, surveys, health information, no-show alerts, and much more.
Conducting patient satisfaction surveys allows healthcare providers to learn if they are meeting the expectations of their patients and identify where they are lacking. Traditionally, patient surveys were sent via email, but response rates have always been relatively low.
Texting is the new email. SMS open rates are as high as 98%, compared to just 20% of all emails.
Statistics on SMS messaging can’t be ignored.
Stats by The Local Project reveal:
- 81% of Americans text regularly and over 6 billion texts are sent every single day
- People prefer text for scheduling or changing appointments
- More than 50% of people would rather text a customer support agent
- Over a third of professionals say they can’t go 10 minutes without responding to a text
- 64% of consumers have a positive perception of companies that offer communication via text
- 33% of American adults prefer texts to all other forms of communication
- Texting is the most common cell phone activity
The fact is, sending surveys and review requests to patients by text are much more likely to elicit a response than if they are sent via email.
Brand building – the role of patient satisfaction surveys
As American actor and social commentator, Will Rogers, once said “It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute.”
Building a brand isn’t a one-off exercise. It’s one thing to build a brand. It’s a game of plate juggling to keep it there or even improve. Reviews and on-going feedback are essential to this process. Healthcare providers must capture real-time feedback and monitor trends for operational improvement. Texting is revolutionizing the way healthcare providers engage with patients and how they gather feedback.
Patient satisfaction must be closely monitored. Just a few bad reviews online could do serious damage. Technology to mitigate the impact of poor reviews is developing.
PatientTrak’s Healthcare Online Reputation Management, for example, automates the collection and display of all major review sites and brings them all into a single viewpoint (dashboard) on a daily basis. It enables healthcare providers to monitor reviews, receive alerts and take actionable steps.
How texting is improving patient relationship management
A key part of the brand building journey is patient relationship management, and it’s this that drives patient satisfaction. Texting is becoming the most valuable communication tool for patient engagement.
Let’s look at wait times as an example of how influential texting is in engagement and satisfaction. We know that wait time is the number one driver of patient satisfaction. It’s worth noting here that the pandemic has inadvertently accelerated how providers use texting.
Here are some of the ways texting is now being used to improve patient flow, keep patients safe, and help physicians and staff work more efficiently.
- Appointment Reminders – patients arriving on the right day at the right time
- Mobile Sign-In – check-in from outside the facility via mobile
- Virtual Waiting Room – patients wait in their car outside the facility
- Patient Tracking/Flow – physicians and staff can see where patients are in the system
- Online Scheduling/Wait Times – patients can view wait times online, managing expectations
- Workflow Visibility – physicians and staff can see where bottlenecks are and redirect patients accordingly
- Surveys – automate and send via text as soon as a patient’s visit is completed
Technology and texting are making life easier for patients. Patients can now:
- Self-schedule online
- See wait times on a provider’s website
- Sign-in from home or mobile using a HIPAA compliant form
- Get text messages when their physician is ready for them
- Receive text message prompts to take medication, or to book an appointment
Text messaging is also being used to provide updates to family and visitors. Remember, they are brand advocates too.
Most importantly, texting helps keep patients up to date with information about their treatment and care. This helps to set and manage expectations, improves compliance, and leads to greater patient satisfaction.
Texting alone will not build a brand, but it is an effective communication tool which helps through improving patient satisfaction. Never underestimate the power of a simple text.
If you’d like to know more about the power of texting in healthcare get in touch.