Implementing an SMS solution in your general practice

In the 21st century, sending SMS or text messages to communicate with others is now preferred over other communication methods such as physical mail, email and even telephone. Not just intended for personal use, many businesses

 and organisations across the globe are implementing SMS technology to communicate with customers, clients and staff.

In healthcare, effective communication with patients is an important aspect of overall patient care. SMS allows all types of organisations – from hospitals to general practices – to contact patients quickly and efficiently.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) in their Text Messaging in General Practice document states that using SMS in your general practice can provide benefits and improve business outcomes.

‘With approximately 15 million smart phones in use in Australia and almost the entire nation glancing at their mobile more than 440 million times a day, text messaging has become an accepted method to contact patients.’

Interested in implementing an SMS solution in your healthcare organisation? Not sure what to use it for, or how effective it will be? We go over the top 5 ways to use SMS in your general practice and benefits of using SMS below.

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Why implement an SMS solution in your general practice?

Improves communication with patients

A 2017 study Use of text messaging in general practice: a mixed method investigation on GPs’ and patients’ views found that SMS is seen as hugely advantageous in terms of time management. ‘Some GPs felt that patients appreciated the convenience of receiving test results via text, rather than having to visit or telephone the practice.’

With a 98% open rate, implementing an SMS solution in your general practice allows you to communicate with patients in real-time, exchanging information immediately instead of relying on other forms of communication.

It’s cost-effective

Sending SMS is an affordable and easy-to-use method of communication. At GoFax, we have flexible SMS pricing for all types of healthcare organisations. Get in touch with our friendly sales team today on 1300 928 872 so we can tailor an SMS package that works for your general practice.

Not only is sending SMS cost-effective, using SMS in your general practice can reduce overall costs by increasing appointment attendance and patient satisfaction.

High patient satisfaction results in higher word of mouth (WOM), more patient visits and an increase in revenue. A Chatters Matters 2018 report on WOM found that 83% of people surveyed say that a WOM recommendation from a friend or family member makes them more likely to purchase that product or service.

Ways to implement an SMS solution in your general practice

There are many ways you can take advantage of SMS in your general practice.

1. Appointment reminders & cancellations

A great way to start using SMS in your healthcare organisation is to send SMS to patients to remind them of upcoming appointments. This provides patients with the ability to respond to text messages using 2-way messaging, giving them the option to reschedule or cancel their appointment.

2. Test & exam result notifications

Send an SMS to your patients alerting them if any test or exam results are ready. It is, however, your responsibility to ensure private and sensitive patient information is not disclosed via text messages. To limit this risk, only send generic information, alerts and updates through SMS, prompting patients to call your practice and book an appointment with their doctor in order to view them.

3. Medicine reminders

Remind patients to take their correct medication dosage by sending SMS. This is particularly useful when patients are on a short-term medication such as antibiotics or have started a new medication they are not used to taking.

4. Vaccination reminders

Send your patients an SMS to let remind them they are due for a vaccine. Especially useful for young parents with children, you can set up routine SMS reminders to let patients know when their child/ren are due for immunisations.

5. Encouraging regular health check-ups

Due to the Coronavirus, thousands of Australians have become reluctant to visit their general practice for fear of getting sick or overburdening the system. Harry Nespolon from RACGP in an ABC News article said that patients who have developed symptoms should not delay receiving medical care, as a treatable condition may become an untreatable one.

Sending an SMS to your patients promoting appointment bookings for regular health check-ups can help save lives during these uncertain times.

Get started with SMS today

Find out how effective SMS can be to increase communication with your patients by signing up for a free GoFax SMS trial. Have a question? Get in touch with our friendly sales team today on 1300 928 872.

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