Positive patient experience and brand reputation are two of the key pillars driving success in healthcare. Yet patient advocacy is a vastly underused resource. In a fiercely competitive market, provider reputation and brand recognition benefit hugely from leveraging the most satisfied patients to advocate.
Of course, the million-dollar question is how?
It starts with patient experience. Patients won’t say great things about you unless their experience is a positive one. There’s another step to consider. How do you collect and collate patient opinions and drive patients to leave positive reviews? Building brand doesn’t happen by itself.
In business circles, SMS is now used extensively to engage with customers and increase brand recognition. In healthcare, text messaging has been widely adopted too. Most providers, for example, now use texts for appointment reminders and to share targeted health information. But text messaging in healthcare remains a greatly underutilized tool.
This blog explores how to use text messaging to improve patient experience and build brand.
Why text messaging is such an important tool
Smartphones have radically changed the way consumers interact with brands. There are 294.15 million smartphone users in the United States! Every smartphone user is one click away from a purchasing decision. But also, one click away from leaving a review.
While 85% of Americans have a smartphone, a further 12% use non-smart mobile phones. Text messaging cuts across the divide, providing a cheap and convenient way to keep in touch with customers on the go!
Some of the statistics on text messaging outline its importance in everyday life:
- more than 80% of Americans use text messaging,
- 81% of Americans text regularly,
- texts have a 99% open rate,
- 95% of texts will be read within 3 minutes of being sent and the average response time for a text is 90 seconds!
Text messaging is an increasingly important tool for healthcare providers because of its reach, but also because it reduces costs, improves service delivery, enhances marketing promotions, and improves staff communications.
The rise of text messaging and digitization in healthcare
Since the adoption of electronic health records in the 1990s, the trend toward digitized healthcare has accelerated. Now patient engagement and reputation management tools are no longer the exception but have become the ‘norm’.
The pandemic has also accelerated the use of digitized solutions – the explosion of telehealth and the introduction of virtual waiting rooms are prime examples.
Today, the healthcare landscape is framed by the digital environment. Patients are demanding digitized solutions – they want healthcare that is coordinated, convenient, personalized and most of all, easily accessible.
Providers are responding favourably by adopting integrated cloud-based patient engagement solutions. These allow the healthcare organization to centrally control data, easily generate real-time reports, quickly distribute system updates to all users, and develop closer, personalized digital relationships with patients.
Texting plays an increasingly important role, within this context, especially now consumers expect up-to-date information while they are on the go.
Using text to enhance patient experience and health outcomes
Via SMS providers can send appointment and medication reminders, prompt patients to book repeat diagnostics or follow-up care, and share marketing materials, surveys, and information about self-care, all of which combine to improve the patient experience.
Research shows text messaging in healthcare is having a positive impact.
A systematic review and meta-analysis to identify the effects of text messaging intervention on hypertension management among older adults found it to be effective in significantly reducing systolic blood pressure.
Another study showed that text message intervention resulted in better glycemic control in patients with diabetes mellitus and coronary heart disease.
Text appointment reminders have been shown to reduce no-show rates which results in greater compliance and more positive health outcomes.
A study of ophthalmology outpatient appointments found the use of SMS reminders reduced the likelihood of patients not attending their appointments by 38%.
Text messaging enhances the patient experience through:
- appointment reminders and easy rescheduling
- follow-up care instructions
- capturing feedback via surveys, which providers can act upon
- alerts and updates, improving patient education
- easier bill payment via links
During the patient visit, text messaging improves the patient experience by directing them efficiently through the healthcare journey, telling patients where they need to go and when.
Families can be updated with status, and staff can receive text updates when their services are required, saving time-consuming chasing between departments.
Importantly, sending text message updates during the care delivery process dramatically increases patient engagement and overall satisfaction.
Building brand via text
How does texting feature in terms of building brand?
Well, building a positive brand is all about developing a positive relationship. And there’s no easier way to do this than via text.
SMS messages allow providers to have personal conversations with patients on an adjustable scale. Text messages can be coordinated by demographics or location or tailored to specific health conditions and needs. Importantly, patients (just like other consumers) get the sense that you are talking directly to them rather than just blasting out an email to an anonymous list of contacts.
Remember, in healthcare, your messaging is governed by HIPAA compliancy rules, so you will only be communicating with people who want to hear from you. This means your audience is warm. They will read and they will listen. Text messaging gives providers the opportunity to hone brand voice in small digestible snippets.
Building a brand also involves generating reviews. Satisfied patients are a great resource for building positive online reviews but sifting these out can be a time-consuming occupation. Here’s where online reputation management solutions and text messaging can help.
With PatientTrak, for example, surveys can be automatically sent via text when a patient is discharged. This can happen within minutes of a patient leaving the facility. It means providers get feedback in real-time and any less than positive experiences can be picked up and nipped in the bud.
Remember, the consumer experience doesn’t have to end when a patient leaves the building. Importantly, customers (and this includes patients) want to be heard. Short surveys via SMS give your customers a voice.
Using PatientTrak, they can be sent any time. Text messaging can also be used to follow up the best survey results and prompt patients to leave comments online. With PatientTrak, this can all be coordinated via a single easy-to-use platform.
A study in business of 75,000 consumers found that delighting customers doesn’t build loyalty, but reducing the effort required to get a problem solved does. Texting plays a prominent role because it removes many of the communication obstacles.
Text broadcasting enables providers to send personalized messages to patients in an instant. Keeping in touch with patients in this way is efficient, easy, and saves time. Most importantly, it is a fast and easy way to reinforce brand.
HIPAA-compliant text messaging with PatientTrak
PatientTrak offers patient flow, patient engagement and reputation management solutions to innovative healthcare enterprises looking to unlock the opportunities of tomorrow.
Coordinate text messaging, patient flow, patient engagement and reputation management from a single easy-to-use platform. The software is also HL7 compliant for advanced system interoperability. PatientTrak can interface to your DT system, scheduling, EMR/EHR and other practice management systems.
Are you ready to build a reputable brand and grow a loyal following with PatientTrak? Get in touch for a free demo with our experts today.