SMS provides an invaluable communication channel for healthcare practices. It can be used for several purposes, including appointment reminders and healthcare updates. It is cost-effective, easy to use, and a majority use texting for personal and business purposes. Incorporating secure NHS SMS into your health practice isn’t difficult, but it does take some planning to ensure that you follow all guidelines and get the most out of your program. The following steps will help you get started.
Find the Right Texting Service
Research the features and security of texting services before choosing one.
The first step in developing a secure NHS SMS program is to find the right texting service for your practice. Although cost will play a role, it is also important to review the features offered by each service in order to find the best one for your business. Because you may be sending sensitive information, you also want to ensure you choose a secure platform that will keep all your patient data secure. Additionally, it may be beneficial to have the capability of integrating the service with your patient medical record software and other tools you use in the office.
Promote Your SMS Program
Before you start texting your patients, you need to promote your service. There are several ways to do this. Consider hanging posters in your waiting room, adding information about your program to new patient contact forms, posting something on your website, or creating signs to place at the check-in desk.
Advertise in your waiting room so that patients will opt in to your campaign
You also need to get your patients’ permission before you start sending them text messages. SMS is an opt-in service, and it is even more important to obtain permission to communicate in this way when you are dealing with potentially sensitive patient health data. If you plan to send health information through text message, then it is best to have patients sign up on their chart paperwork for this specific communication option. For general information, including appointment reminders, you can obtain permission simply from patients texting a keyword to opt in to your service.
Decide What Information to Send
There are many different types of messages you can send to your patients using secure NHS SMS. Many practices use this channel to remind patients about their upcoming appointments, which has been found to reduce no-shows by 12 percent. It can also be used to send out test results that do not require any follow-up, or to share general health tips. Your practice can use the program for any or all of these services, so planning how you’ll communicate with patients before you start your program is important. You may start with just one service and then add on as needed.
Create a Policy for Your Practice
Ensure your doctors, nurses, and other staff members follow a unified practice.
The final step in implementing your secure NHS SMS program is to create a policy for your practice. It is important that your doctors do not send out messages to their patients on their own. This may cause your practice to inadvertently violate certain privacy guidelines. By having an office policy that details how and when a doctor can text a patient, you can avoid these mistakes.
By implementing a secure NHS SMS program at your practice, you can reduce the number of appointment no-shows, increase patient support, and enhance overall patient-doctor communication. Taking steps to create a strong foundation when implementing your program ensures that your SMS program will be a success. Ready to integrate texting into your practice? Try us free!