The problem of miscommunication between patient and provider in the medical field remains a prevalent one. Most voicemail messages from patients remain unheard for at least 8 hours on average, while hospital phones always ring from patients calling with relatively simple questions regarding their statements and availability. Barring generational technological knowledge gaps, text messaging can help better manage communication between provider and patient. Furthermore, text messages are less intrusive than phone calls and more quickly responded to than email messages. That being said, the following are ways to text with your doctor’s office more easily than ever before.
1. Streamline Systems
The first way to text your doctor’s office more efficiently than ever before is to combine everything into one efficient and streamlined automatic system. This means that patients text the same cell phone number they call when reaching out to their provider. This text can be treated as a silent and transferrable phone call to which you may respond immediately or later via a scheduled outbound reminder text. You can even simply send it over to another person in the office, perhaps better suited to answer. Apart from making things more efficient, this will make patients happier and keep them so, as secure and equitable bilateral communication will make them feel more included, validated, connected, respected, listened to, and in the loop without seemingly endless waiting times phone. In short, this process empowers everyone in a way that brings them together.
2. Pursue Parsimony
The second way to text your doctor’s office more efficiently than ever before is to cut down unwanted or unnecessary communication. As mentioned previously, communication delays and mismatches between simplicity and severity create a large gap between the patient and the provider.
A simple response text to inquire into a patient’s information or appointment availability is a better alternative to an entirely new phone call when a patient simply needs a check-up or has simple questions like whether or not they can come in on the same day. Texts should focus only on relevant information and keep everyone appropriately involved informed. For example,
The office can send out automated reminders and follow-ups to keep patients informed about nearing appointments. Getting confirmation texts from patients can lower the number of cancellations and help the physicians keep their schedules full.
3. Arm Apps
The third way to text your doctor’s office more efficiently than ever before is to have the right software on the digital device you usually use to communicate. Nowadays, the average patient is likely to have a cell phone, with more technologically savvy individuals available to the relevant apps and websites. People use cell phones to communicate better with others and make their own lives more efficient using a single device in an automated and streamlined fashion.
Much as the average person uses apps and text messaging for such things as dating or applying for jobs, so too can they use them for communicating and engaging with their health care providers via media that is compliant with medical privacy laws and compatible with both individual digital devices as well as medical computer systems. Text messaging is not exclusively in the realm of friendly or intimate communications but professional ones as well in the form of healthcare text messaging.
Text messaging has become such a fundamental part of modern life, whether used to communicate among friends and family or to receive updates, set appointments, and send applications. As such, it is crucial, perhaps even necessary, for such an industry as the medical field to tap into it to better connect and correspond with its indispensable clients.
By having an automated system, patients can communicate with their providers in a fashion that is far closer to real-time than it has been allowed to be for quite some time, removing the barriers of miscommunications and lengthy commutes while nearly matching the immediacy of a patient physically being present.
Of course, this is no substitute for in-person interaction, but it can eliminate needless interactions to save time for more meaningful ones. Thus patients calling or showing up only to make simple requests or wait can genuinely connect with providers.