5 Tips for Using SMS for Healthcare and WellnessCOVID-19 forever changed the healthcare landscape. Due to social distancing protocols, the industry was forced to embrace virtual appointments, telehealth, and SMS for healthcare. Instead of visiting their doctors in […]
COVID-19 forever changed the healthcare landscape. Due to social distancing protocols, the industry was forced to embrace virtual appointments, telehealth, and SMS for healthcare. Instead of visiting their doctors in person, patients now schedule their appointments via text and meet with health practitioners online. While still challenging, the shift from in-person to online health appointments is enormously beneficial for both organizations and patients. As SMS becomes more ubiquitous in the healthcare industry, it presents a significant opportunity to enhance patient satisfaction, communications, and outcomes. It’s essential for healthcare and wellness companies to use SMS services while remaining compliant. Use these five tips to make the most of your healthcare SMS campaigns.
1. Compliance is criticalYou must work closely with your compliance team to ensure your SMS texts meet all of the necessary guidelines. In addition to meeting consumer data privacy regulations, healthcare SMS messages must be HIPAA compliant. These regulations were implemented to protect the privacy, integrity, and security of electronic protected health information (ePHI). Organizations that violate HIPAA regulations put their patients at risk and can face fines that range from $100 to $50,000 per day. A few best practices for sending HIPAA-compliant SMS messages include:
- Having patients opt-in to receive texts
- Crafting clear, concise, and compelling content to prompt patients to take action
- Never including ePHI in SMS messages to prevent data leaks
- Segmenting audiences to ensure all communication is patient-relevant
2. Promoting public health educationWith a 98% open rate, SMS is a powerful tool for promoting health education while showing customers how much you care. SMS builds stronger relationships with your audiences and deepens brand loyalty and trust. Send your subscribers health and wellness tips tailored to their unique needs. To do this, segment SMS subscribers according to their demographics, including age, gender, and location. A few examples of SMS wellness tips you could send to baby boomers are:
- Hi [FIRST NAME]! Fruits, veggies, and lean proteins, like fish, are all part of a healthy diet. Click the following link for an easy recipe for savory pesto baked salmon: [LINK].
- Hi [FIRST NAME]! Are you getting plenty of shut-eye? If not, try using a white noise machine. And remember to stop using all electronic devices three hours before bedtime!
- Hey [FIRST NAME]! Don’t get sick this winter! Remember to book an appointment with your doctor to get your annual flu shot.
- Hi [FIRST NAME]! If you’re feeling off, there’s no shame in asking for help. Talk to a trusted relative or close friend. You can also talk to a licensed therapist. Click the link to find affordable therapy online today: [LINK].
3. Use auto-replies for appointment remindersBetween hectic work schedules and responsibilities at home, it can be easy for patients to forget about doctors’ appointments. Almost half of Americans would likely miss a healthcare appointment if they didn’t receive a text reminder. SMS appointment reminders provide customers with ease and convenience. Not only will they be reminded about an upcoming appointment, but customers can easily cancel or reschedule right through the text. SMS reminders can improve your bottom line by reducing the number of no-shows and alleviating the amount of phone calls your customer service team receives. Auto-reminders will streamline your communication processes, saving you time and money. Use the following templates to help customers never miss another appointment ever again.
- Hello [FIRST NAME], this is a friendly reminder for your upcoming appointment with [BUSINESS NAME] for [HEALTH SERVICE] on [DATE] at [TIME]. See you soon!
- Hi [FIRST NAME], this is a gentle reminder about your appointment with [BUSINESS NAME] on [DATE] at [TIME]. Please reply C to confirm or R to reschedule. We’ll be in touch to set up another appointment at a time that is convenient for you.
- Hi [FIRST NAME], this is a reminder for your appointment with [BUSINESS NAME] on [DATE] at [TIME]. Please remember to bring [IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS] to your appointment. Thanks, [BUSINESS NAME].
4. Encourage patients to be proactive about their healthPreventative healthcare helps people live happy and healthy lives. SMS is a simple way to remind patients to schedule their annual physicals, maintain healthy eating habits, or refill their prescriptions. SMS reminders can boost medication adherence by up to 68%. As with wellness tips, tailor your preventative healthcare SMS reminders according to segments based on patient information. Remember never to disclose sensitive information in your texts, including medication names or a patient’s medical history.
5. Personalize your SMS for healthcare campaignsWhen it comes to healthcare SMS messages, personalization is paramount. Traditionally, the healthcare industry is very clinical and dry. People can feel uncomfortable visiting a physician’s office or other healthcare facilities. Friendly, personalized texts will make patients feel welcomed. A few tips to keep in mind when personalizing SMS messages include:
- Always address the recipient by their first name
- Keep your messages short and sweet
- Include only relevant information
- Create a clear call-to-action (CTA) and link