Booking medical appointments via SMS can improve the patient experience
Providing a seamless patient and provider experience in healthcare scheduling is critical as we approach 2023. Medical facilities must take advantage of every opportunity to reach more patients, book more appointments and rebalance resources.
One engagement strategy providers utilize to communicate with patients is text messaging. Going into the new year, we anticipate seeing an increase in providers looking to digitize their appointment-booking services. Here’s why countless providers are adding SMS appointment-booking services and how Nexa Healthcare can be a part of the solution.
The benefits of healthcare messaging via text
In addition to being a faster method of communication, there are various advantages to booking appointments online and via text.
Increases contact rates
One of the benefits of SMS communication in healthcare is the ability to connect with a more significant percentage of patients compared to a phone call. One National Library of Medicine study found that text reminders yield a 97 to 99 percent successful contact rate.  A successful contact is when the recipient receives a message. In contrast, researchers found the contact rate for call reminders was around 30 percent. Why is the call contact success rate lower? Researchers account for the gap by stating individuals can change their numbers, shut their phones off and go out of service. The study showed that texting has proven to be a more effective way to reach patients consistently.
Reduces internal workload and rebalances priorities
When providers miss a patient via call, they will have to invest even more resources into placing follow-up calls. This inevitable phone tag can take up a large amount of time when one considers the documentation required for every call. This leaves less time to serve patients that are in the office. Ultimately, expanding booking tools and outsourcing scheduling services can reduce staff workload so they can provide greater attention to patients in person.
Meets the market demands and streamlines the patient experience
According to a survey by Salesforce, 90 percent of respondents preferred booking medical appointments online, including via SMS.  Furthermore,64 percent of survey respondents reported that they “equate more technology offerings with better clinical care.” These findings tell us that offering SMS appointment booking is one way for providers to meet the market’s demands while also improving their reputations.
In addition, text message scheduling services can streamline the patient journey for booking, rebooking and canceling appointments. Digital scheduling tools give patients a choice and allow them to take control of their medical care. In 2023, more medical providers will recognize the benefit of empowering patients and reducing internal delays by offering SMS services.
How clinics can improve healthcare messaging services in 2023
While data indicates that appointment reminders increase attendance and reduce no-shows, researchers claim that healthcare facilities need to maximize the potential of SMS communication. They state that incorrect data entry could yield text message reminders that could be more useful. Patients may ignore a text message if there is incorrect information such as a name. Providers must ensure that their receptionists or call answering service accurately input patient information to reduce no-shows. Unfortunately, due to labor shortages, there are more opportunities for errors. Fortunately, outsourcing scheduling services can help medical clinics reduce data entry errors and reduce no-shows.
A virtual answering service sets healthcare providers up for SMS success
Relying on a virtual call answering service in place of in-house receptionists can be critical for maintaining consistent and accurate data entry. At Nexa Healthcare, our virtual receptionists are detail-oriented, trained specialists who provide compassionate phone, chat and SMS services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our team is trained in healthcare intake and takes hundreds of calls every day on behalf of medical providers across the country. We are focused on accurately documenting your patients’ medical and contact information.
Partner with a 24/7 call answering service that offers SMS appointment scheduling
Be proactive about the way your healthcare facility communicates with patients in 2023. Discuss your medical answering service options by calling 800-756-3080 or emailing us online.
1. National Library of Medicine. Appointment reminder systems are effective but not optimal: results of a systematic review and evidence synthesis employing realist principles.
2. TechTarget. How Online Patient Communications Reduce No-Shows, Drive Patient Loyalty.