As patients become more active healthcare consumers, they want to have stronger engagement with their providers, including more direct interaction outside of the yearly check-in. Recent research backs up this idea, revealing that survey respondents of all generations are seeking greater connectivity with healthcare practices, including convenient communications via text and online tools. More specifically, 73 percent of patients want to be able to text their doctor’s office, while nearly 80 percent would like to receive text messages from their doctor, especially about appointments.
This degree of open communication has many benefits. First and foremost, it conveys that the practice is interested in helping patients better navigate their healthcare journeys. When individuals feel more empowered, they are often more engaged in their care, which can improve their health outcomes, as well as a sense of well-being.
Greater communication can also solidify a practice’s reputation in the marketplace. When patients believe their physicians are accessible, their satisfaction goes up. This makes them more likely to recommend the practice to others, thus expanding an organization’s reach and influence.
Well-timed communications can also cut down on missed appointments, which offers both clinical and financial advantages. According to a survey of healthcare organizations that use technology to send automated appointment reminders, including texts, nearly 80 percent see an improvement in patient outcomes and 85 percent see an improvement in the patient experience. In addition, more than 80 percent found that using communication technology helped their no-show rate drop to 10 percent or less, translating to hundreds of thousands of dollars in saved revenue.
Outside of appointment texts, automated payment reminders can also be beneficial, as patients sometimes lose track of their financial obligations once a care visit is over. Although practices should provide upfront patient estimates where possible and set the expectation that payment is due at the time of service, there can be remaining balances in some cases. For these situations, a text reminder along with convenient online payment options can prompt action, leading to more streamlined revenue capture.
Using technology to better communicate with patients is a critical step towards stronger patient-provider relationships. When specialty practices leverage technology to send texts that share information, provide reminders and answer questions, they can garner patient satisfaction that lay the groundwork for more effective, patient-centered care.