See What You Can Do With Text Messaging

Medical & Dental Offices - Text Messaging

Contact Consumers helps doctors and dentists improve patient attendance with a specialized tool designed to get the most from SMS instant messaging.

Our tool allows clinics to reach out to patients using text messages, engaging them where they are most connected — on their wireless devices.


What Is Medical Text Messaging?

As someone who manages a medical/healthcare practice, you know firsthand that missed appointments are a real problem. They lead to lost revenue, and each missed appointment also creates a lost opportunity for another patient to be seen.

Because of this cost, many medical and dental offices have some system in place to remind patients of their appointments. In the past, these reminders often arrived by phone.

The problem now is that many people simply don’t engage with companies in that way. They often don’t even answer their phones. Now, the preferred solution is text messaging. The concept is simple — patients receive timely notifications about upcoming appointments via text.

Text appointment reminders won’t fix every possible missed appointment scenario. People may still miss appointments because of emergencies, sudden illness, or traffic snags. However, most people miss these appointments because they simply forget — or because there was poor communication to begin with.

When asked about appointment reminders, the largest number of people indicated that text messages would be most helpful to them. That’s more people who would get real value from Contact Consumers medical text reminders than either phone calls or emails.

How We Can Help

Benefits of Sending Texts as Appointment Reminders from Contact Consumers

Spend Less Time Managing Appointments

You and your staff members have plenty of reasons to engage with patients directly, as well as other duties. The time you spend contacting patients about their appointments is mostly wasted. In many cases, you won’t get a response at all. With Contact Consumers text messaging, you can focus on more important communications.

Using medical text messaging, you can send appointment reminders automatically. There’s no need to sit with a list of appointments and cellphone numbers, wasting time reaching out to each client individually.

Improve Your Bottom Line

Medical and dental reminder texts can certainly have a positive impact on your bottom line. Doctors and dentists risk frustrating customers if they overbook. On the other hand, booking just enough or leaving openings can lead to lost revenue and productivity.

When you send text reminders, more people show up for their appointments. Additionally, those who can’t are more likely to feel prompted to let you know ahead of time. You can use these appointment times for walk-ins or to schedule other tasks

Avoid Being Ignored

Phone calls and emails are frequently ignored. That’s not quite true for SMS messages. People tend to have their phones in hand most of the time.

They may not answer a phone call or read an email from a business, but they will at least glance at a text message. It also helps that nobody has to install an app to receive these communications. They simply provide their mobile phone number and agree to receive text messages.

Be Read Right Away

Calls get ignored. An email could sit in an inbox for hours or longer before the recipient even notices it. Text messages, on the other hand, are almost always read within three minutes.

Important Features Included in the Text Messaging

Only patients who explicitly agree to be contacted via text should receive your messages. However, it is okay to take steps to encourage them to grant you that permission and make it easy for them to opt in.

People who initially signed up may eventually decide they are no longer interested in receiving these messages. There should be an easy path for them to achieve this.

Keep It Short

SMS is intended to be a brief form of communication. Don’t lose the appeal of that by sending out needlessly long messages. Think about the notifications that people receive on their lock screens — the most important information should fit in that space.

Add the Right Details

Don’t forget the most pertinent details. Include the time, date, and location of the appointment. It also helps to mention the day of the week. Some patients may not realize that the 23rd is on Wednesday.

Ask for a Confirmation

Contact Consumers SMS messaging marketing is designed for two-way messaging. This setup means that you can receive responses and react accordingly. Ask recipients to confirm or cancel their appointments by responding ‘Y’ or ‘N.’ Then, if you receive an ‘N,’ you can open up that time slot for new appointments.

Include Reminders

Do your patients need to bring anything with them? Let them know if they need their insurance card, referral letter, or other documents.
Here is a brief example of an SMS appointment reminder that you might set up on the Contact Consumers platform: “Reminder: We have you scheduled for an appointment on Tuesday 08/25 at 9 a.m. Please respond with Y if you plan to attend or N if you want to reschedule. Remember to bring your insurance card.”

Medical Text Messages and HIPAA

It is important to understand that SMS is not HIPAA compliant. It is not properly secured or encrypted. Fortunately, you can still use this technology for sending appointment reminders. All you have to do is follow a few simple guidelines.
Primarily, you want to avoid mentioning any specifics about the patient’s medical history or conditions. Notice the example didn’t stipulate why the appointment had been set. Also, don’t send messages to patients who have not opted in. Some people share phones and may not want any information made available to others, no matter how vague it is. Finally, if a patient responds to your text asking for protected medical or personally identifying information, do not give that info to them. Wait until you can confirm their identity. Every member of your office should be trained in protecting patient information while using this technology.

Getting Patients to Enroll in Text Messaging

There are several points during your interactions with patients in which you can make it easy for them to opt-in:
  • Add a checkbox to opt-in on new patient forms.
  • Have staff obtain verbal permission at the appointment desk.
  • Hang a QR code in the waiting room that users can scan to opt-in.
  • Promote social media posts with links to an opt-in page.
  • Include opt-in links on email communications.

Try Texting and Learn More

Medical text messaging has uses that extend beyond convenient appointment reminders. Staffing is an important concern in a medical practice. You need adequate cover at all times. With text messaging, you can send out requests to your team when you need someone to work a shift or volunteer for a bit of overtime. Contact Consumers is also useful when you want to send out brief announcements and messages to your team. Send text messages when you welcome a new staff member to your practice, change locations, or undergo other updates that
your audience should know about.

If you are interested in more efficient and effective ways to communicate with patients and staff,
partner with Contact Consumers - we have solutions to meet your needs.