In the healthcare sector, no-shows are common. Up to 30% of appointments are missed in the United States, costing $150 billion annually.
The simplest solution to reducing patient no-shows is to stay in touch with them through SMS.
Contemporary healthcare services, aged care institutions, community health services, outpatient facilities, medical and dental clinics, private practices, and complementary and alternative health organizations often use text messages to get in touch with patients.
If you haven’t started SMS campaigns yet, or are looking to refresh your patient outreach strategy, here are 10 SMS templates you can use for your healthcare practice.
1. Opt-in confirmations
When onboarding new patients, you should always give the option to stop receiving text communications. Patients may prefer not to receive text messages because of multiple reasons. Moreover, according to the text messaging laws of the region, the recipient should always be able to opt out of receiving automated texts.
SMS template for healthcare opt-in confirmation:
Hello [Name], thank you for visiting [Hospital/Clinic name]. We wish to send you notifications regarding appointments, treatment options, and personal health updates via text messages. If you do not wish to receive any text notifications, reply STOP.
2. Emergency Texts
Emergencies can either be major or minor. Using automated text messages, hospitals can provide an estimated waiting duration so that the patient can take the right decision. With simple text messages, hospitals can arrange for ambulances too.
SMS template for sending ER waiting time updates:
MAJOR emergency wait time: [X] minutes
MINOR emergency wait time: [Y] minutes
If you need an ambulance, reply YES and we will call you in 5 minutes for assistance.
4. Healthcare SMS template to encourage checkups
Regular checkups can help prevent deadly diseases. Diseases such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer can be prevented through regular screening. Many people know that early detection can completely cure such ailments. However, often people do not want to go through the hassle of finding a doctor or a clinic or scheduling an appointment.
Through simple text messages, you can encourage people to come to your clinic or hospital and get checked. You can provide statistics to show how common these diseases are and how easily they can be cured with early screening. Moreover, you can provide options for convenient appointment scheduling too.
SMS template for regular checkup
[Condition] is the most common [Disease] in the world. However, with early screening, it can be cured completely. To schedule an appointment at the [Department name], [Hospital name], visit [link], or call [phone].
5. Providing educational content
Clinics and hospitals can also send texts that provide value to the recipients. Educational content can help patients become aware of health-related conditions. You can leverage your healthcare CRM to provide more targeted tips. If patients find that the hospitals or clinics are reaching out to them constantly for their well-being, they’ll begin to trust your organization even more.
Healthcare SMS template for educating patients
A balanced anti-inflammatory diet can effectively treat most instances of gastritis at home. Visit [link] to learn more about the foods to avoid and the nutrients you should include in your diet – [Hospital name]. To Opt-out reply STOP.
6. Reminders to take medication
Patients with chronic disorders, elderly patients, or patients undergoing psychiatric treatment can benefit massively from timely reminders to take medications. These reminders need not be for medicines that are to be taken regularly. However, you can send these text messages for medications to be taken once or twice a week.
SMS reminder to take medication
Hi [Name], This a reminder to take your [medicine name] pill this weekend after having your meal. To opt out of these reminders, reply STOP.
7. Health alerts
Health alerts can notify patients in a region of any outbreaks. This can make people aware and help reduce the number of people affected. Subsequently, this also helps reduce hospital load, particularly in remote regions.
SMS template for health alert
Hi [Name], this is to notify you that [Region] is experiencing a [Disease name] outbreak. Keep your surroundings clean, ensure there is no stagnation of water nearby and use bug repellants. Visit [link] to know more. If you experience any symptoms, contact [phone number].
8. Contact tracing
Contact tracing works like health alters. You can minimize the effects of lethal infections by quickly notifying anyone who may have been nearby when they were infected. It can be particularly useful for notifying people when an individual in that organization has been infected. By using SMS-based contact tracing, you can effectively trace the source of infections and quickly address the spread of infections.
SMS template for contact tracing
Hi [Name], before entering the [Clinic name] today, you are required to reply to this number. Please ensure that you maintain social distancing. For more information on guidelines, visit [link]. Reply YES to accept the terms.
Thank you for your confirmation. Please reply with IN when you are entering, and OUT when exiting.
Your entry is approved. Please report to the front desk. For more information on guidelines, visit [link]. Remember to text OUT when leaving.
Thank you for helping us keep [Clinic name] safe.
This form of text chats can be useful for medical staff, delivery personnel, contractors, and employees too.
9. Refill reminders
Patients who are on prescription medications can get texts for refills. These texts can be simple reminders to get their bottles refilled. However, you should not mention any information that is in violation to HIPAA compliance.
SMS template for refill reminder
This a reminder to get your medication refilled on [Date]. To know more about pharmacy timings, call [contact number]. To book an appointment, call [contact number], or visit us at [link]. To opt out of these reminders, reply STOP.
10. Healthcare SMS templates to get patient feedback
You can take patient feedback through many channels. For instance, you can directly call patients, given they consent to the phone call. Alternatively, you can collect feedback online through a web form or send a text message to get a feedback score.
The feedback collection technique depends on whether the patient is an inpatient or an outpatient or whether they had a procedure done at the hospital. Here are a few samples.
Template 1: Feedback after a procedure
This is [Medical staff name] from [Hospital/Clinic]. We wanted to check in with you and see how you are feeling after [Procedure]. Reply to this text or call us at [contact number] for any queries. We are available from [working hours].
Template 2: Simple outpatient feedback
Hi [Name], thank you for visiting [Hospital/Clinic]. Please rate your experience at the outpatient department today from 1 – 10, 10 being the best, and 1 being the worst. For any queries, please contact [contact number].
Template 3: Inpatient feedback
Hi [Name], thank you for choosing [Hospital/Clinic]. Your feedback is important to us. Please reply to this text to provide feedback on your stay at [Hospital/Clinic].
Best practices for sending healthcare SMS
Here are some of the best practices to ensure that your texts are relevant and HIPAA compliant.
- Keep marketing texts and healthcare information texts separate. For example, do not promote your services when you are sending appointment reminders.
- ePHI shouldn’t be sent through unencrypted transmissions. Make sure that you do not include information that uniquely identifies patients.
- Allow patients to opt-in to receive medical and marketing messages.
- Allow patients to unsubscribe to text message notifications.
- Keep the texts action oriented. Provide relevant information and a call to action.
- Identify yourself in every text. Let the recipients know who is sending the text.
- Select the appropriate text messaging solution. Hospitals and clinics can use a variety of software services to send text messages to their customers and patients but picking the incorrect platform can cause problems for both patients and staff. Use a HIPAA-compliant tool to prevent patient privacy violations.
Patients seek from their healthcare provider the same quality of customer service they do from other businesses engage with. Furthermore, automated reminders sent via text and email at the proper intervals can boost patient confirmations by more than 150% and lower no-show rates to 5% or less.
If you’re looking for HIPAA-compliant software to automate text messaging and appointment reminders, check out LeadSquared. It helps you capture inquiries through the website, schedule appointments, intake automation, lead management, and more. Book a demo to learn more about LeadSquared’s healthcare CRM capabilities.