Improve Patient Engagement with Two-Way Texting Advantages of replacing voice mails with electronic messaging BY BRANDON DANIELL
Communicating with patients can be challeng- ing. Traditional meth- ods can be expensive and time consuming and are
becoming less effective every day. A patient might answer the phone, might listen to their voicemail, might read a letter sent in the mail, might go to a patient portal, might follow pre/postop instructions, or might call the facility. That is a lot of mights. The mobile phone has changed the way the world shops, socializes and, most importantly, communicates. One of the biggest changes mobile phones have brought is how American adults engage with phone calls. Gone are the days of phone calls being a convenient, fast and efficient form of communication. A survey by TrueCaller found that 64 percent of adults have not answered a call from a number they did not recognize. If you are nodding your head in agreement, remember that many of your patients are nodding as well. This percentage of unanswered phone calls is only going to increase, call protection company First Orion predicts, as half of all mobile calls in 2019 are expected to be spam robo- calls. If staff do leave a voicemail, bear in mind that, according to The New York Times, more than 30 per- cent of voicemails linger unheard for three days or more, and more than 20 percent of Americans do not check voicemail at all.
Phone calls are no longer the primary form of communication preferred by most American adults. Americans have not only fallen in love with texting, but they have come to rely on it in their day-to-day lives.
95% 54% 34%
THOUSANDS OF EMERGENCY MESSAGES DURING HURRICANE HARVEY AND IRMA... REDUCING STAFF PHONE TIME BY 95%
INCREASED CASH FLOW BY REDUCING ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLES BY 54% IN JUST 6 WEEKS
REDUCED NO-SHOWS BY 34% DRASTICALLY INCREASING REVENUE
According to The Chicago Tribune, most Americans now prefer to send/ receive a text instead of making/ receiving a phone call.
OVER 78% ENROLLMENT RESPONSE RATE AND REDUCED ACQUISITION COSTS
SENT TEXT MESSAGES TO OVER 4,000 PEOPLE SIMULTANEOUSLY JUST 10 MINUTES
REDUCED POST-OP CALLS BY 92% AND SAVED STAFF MONEY
TESTING RESULTS PROVIDED BY DIALOG HEALTH Texting is a cost-effective, con- Consider
the impact of that statement for an ASC that still relies predominantly on phone calls as its primary patient engagement method. When it comes to texting in Amer- ica, the following research and statis- tics speak volumes: ■■
According to Forbes, 95 percent of text messages are read within 3 min- utes of being sent.
According to Dynmark, 98 percent of text messages are read.
According to Pew Research, in the 50–64 age range, 88 percent own a cell phone, and in the 65+ age range, 74 percent own a cell phone. Out of all cell phone users, 81 percent use their phone to text message. According
to CTIA, the average response time for a text is 90 seconds. 16 ASC FOCUS FEBRUARY 2019 | ascfocus.org
venient and reliable communication channel that is preferred by patients, so it should be an essential part of an ASC’s communication options.
1. Two-way texting is fast, convenient and expected. The appeal of texting for patients is that it is fast, convenient, easy, conver- sational and on a device that is within arm’s reach almost all the time. Tex- ting also involves no learning curve, requires minimal effort and is already an expected part of a patient’s day. A patient simply needs to provide their mobile number to the ASC. For an ASC, texting is a quick, reliable and cost-effective way to put relevant content at the patient’s fingertips and has a higher response rate than any other traditional forms of communication. Text messages to a patient can include dates, times,
The advice and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not represent official Ambulatory Surgery Center Association policy or opinion.
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