Effective patient-doctor communication is an important component of overall care. It is also a key element of a successful healthcare practice. GP practices that communicate well with their patients achieve higher levels of patients satisfaction, as well as a reduction in missed appointments. If you are looking for a simple way to improve communication at your practice, consider developing an SMS program. SMS can have numerous benefits for GP practices. Here are four of them.
Reduced Missed Appointments
Ensure you patients show up to their appointments with a simple text reminder.
One of the biggest benefits of implementing SMS for GP practices is a reduction in missed appointments. A study found that using text reminders reduced the number of missed patient appointments by 12 percent. Missed appointments are a problematic issue for GP practices. It is estimated that over 7 million patients miss their appointments every year, which can lead to an annual loss of almost one billion pounds annually between missed GP and hospital appointments. Furthermore, missed appointments disrupt patient care. Sending a text to patients the day before an appointment reminds them that they are scheduled to come into the office.
Improved Patient Support
Not only can SMS for GP practices be used to remind patients about appointments; it can also be used for general patient support. Texts can inform patients about several health-related matters, from prescription pick-ups and renewals to announcements about flu shots and other practice news. Texting also works as two-way communication, allowing patients to ask questions or share concerns they may have. This provides a more comprehensive patient support system that will lead to better patient satisfaction.
Better Patient/Doctor Communication
Patients can communicate with their doctors through text, freeing up appointments.
Although you need to be careful about the information you include in texts due to confidentiality and legal issues, SMS for GP practices still provides a great way to enhance patient/doctor communication. Patients can text the office if they have a question, and then the office can contact them through a more secure channel with additional information. Alternatively, the practice can contact patients via text stating that they need to contact the office to discuss lab results or other concerns.
This not only improves the communication between patients and doctors, it also frees up appointments. A study found that texting patient results for non-urgent blood tests reduced the number of appointments by 600 per year. Many patients will visit a GP for a follow up to a blood test to learn information that could easily be shared through a text. Patients can enrol in this service, and results can be sent quickly through text messages.
Your practice can cut costs and reduce your employee workload.
SMS for GP practices can reduce your overall budget. Not only does it save resources wasted due to missed appointments, but it can also free up your employees’ time by automating communications such as prescription and appointment reminders.
To get started, you simply need to sign up for a texting service. It typically costs just a few pennies to send a text. Many services also offer monthly deals for higher volumes of messages. SMS is a cost-effective communication channel that can easily fit into your practice’s budget, and it’s worth the investment.
Text messaging has become one of the top forms of communication, and it makes sense to use it as a way to communicate with your patients. Although you still need to ensure that you follow all privacy guidelines, incorporating SMS for your GP practice can help improve patient satisfaction and reduce costs. If you’re ready to get started, check out our features to discover more ways to use texting for your GP practice.