How Your Practice Can Utilize Automated Outreach to Promote Patient Engagement 

Before the creation of the internet and the explosion of smartphone use, people primarily communicated through what today look like stone-age methods, such as telephone calls and letters sent through the post. If you were expecting an important call — like one from your physician — you waited by the phone for it. 

Today, patients still want this level of personal communication – but want it on their own time using their preferred methods of communication. 

Research shows that more than 85 percent of patients prefer text messages compared with e-mail or patient portal messages. Approximately 20 percent schedule their appointments through a phone call. 

Healthcare communication is about more than answering patient questions or scheduling appointments. It’s about promoting patient engagement and the perks it offers. HIPAA-compliant, automated text and voice reminders can be personalized and customized to remind patients of upcoming visits and preventive screening opportunities at regular intervals. 

Did you know that patient engagement has a direct impact on the overall patient experience? That’s because patients who are more engaged with their providers typically better understand their health concerns, ask questions that matter to them and are more confident in weighing their options for care. 

Not only does patient engagement offer advantages to patients, but it also benefits providers through reduced costs, increased reimbursement and enhanced population health initiatives. It promotes higher patient satisfaction, which along with those higher reimbursement rates is linked to greater market share and fewer malpractice claims. 

How to Make Patient Engagement Work for Your Healthcare Practice 

You might be asking, “How am I supposed to focus more on patient engagement when I’m already so busy and my practice is so short-staffed?” One word: automation. 

Automated outreach enables you to communicate with your patients through targeted and personalized campaigns without additional staff involvement. You can send tailored appointment reminders, marketing messages and even pre-visit or pre-procedure instructions. 

Patients like the convenience of responding to messages when and where they prefer, and automated outreach allows you to focus less on administrative tasks and more on providing care. For practice staff, having access to automated solutions on the front end can result in decreased patient wait times, fewer medical errors and increased satisfaction, all of which positively affect a practice’s revenue cycle. 

Burnout is already prevalent in healthcare, but automated solutions help eliminate inefficiencies, reduce manual tasks and improve resource utilization. Roughly 40 percent of the tasks performed by healthcare occupations can be automated. Of the $372 billion spent on administrative complexity in the United States healthcare system, an additional $16.3 billion could be saved through workflow automation.  

Text Messaging: The Top Communication Preference for Patients 

More than half of consumers read their text messages within 15 minutes of receiving them, and 70 percent report that they want to receive texts for things like appointment confirmations and reminders. Automated text messaging aids in mitigating patient no-shows, which create gaps in scheduling, reduce operational efficiency and cost the healthcare industry $150 billion annually. 

Almost 70 percent of medical practices are using some form of text messaging to communicate with patients. Most utilize automated texting solutions to remind patients of scheduled appointments, including preventive screenings, which as research has found can increase attendance at scheduled medical appointments and help improve daily medication adherence in patients with chronic conditions. 

Along with saving time for a provider’s staff, automated text messaging and outreach improve productivity, appointment confirmation rates and patient engagement. It reduces call volume — a big win for a practice’s front-office team — and makes rescheduling appointments easier. 

Not every healthcare provider employs automated text messaging to send marketing messages to patients. However, with the rapid growth of healthcare consumerism, practices are turning towards healthcare marketing strategies to support patient outreach. 

It’s not just about the technology, though. An effective healthcare marketing approach involves in-depth investigation of the patient’s needs, identifying latent needs and offering new health services that patients have not explicitly requested. 

You may want your patient marketing messages focused on engaging and educating them on their healthcare journey. Or, you plan to communicate the value and benefits of healthcare services and treatments your practice offers. Either way, along with promoting patient engagement, utilizing automated text messaging has the potential to boost patient loyalty and retention, enhance brand awareness and keep your practice competitive. 

Enhance Your Practice’s Patient Outreach Efforts Through RingRx 

RingRx Outreach automates SMS text, voice and email communications for practices just like yours. Our HIPAA-compliant VoIP phone system was built specifically for healthcare practices to enable you to effectively and conveniently stay in touch through your patients’ preferred method of communication. Add Outreach to your free 14-day trial to learn more.