A 360° patient communication strategy extends beyond appointment reminders and is necessary when wanting to continue communication after a patient leaves your office. To see how effective your current patient communication strategy is, consider these following thoughts:
- Does your office have an automated reminder system in place?
- Does your automated system respect patient communication preferences?
- Do you contact your patients using more than one method (phone, text, email, app)?
Reach your patients the “right way” by providing options and collecting patient communication preferences. More contact touch points means higher response rates.
RevSpring findings have shown that patients who only provide a phone number have the lowest response rates, with just one in four messages getting a reply. Meanwhile, patients who provide an email and textable number have a higher response rate, over 30%. When patients download an appointment reminder app, response rates reach even higher.
Timing Is Everything
Different modes of communication require different approaches for optimizing response rates. Phone call response rates, for example, increase at certain times of the day. Patients are most responsive to phone calls in the morning (around 9 AM) and early evening (from 3 PM to 5 PM) so time your communication appropriately.
Maximizing Your Patient Communication Strategy
Patient communication doesn’t start and end with appointment reminders. Use your communication technology to follow up with post-visit surveys to gather important feedback that can improve your practice; and when winter weather approaches, inform patients to stay home and be safe by broadcasting an ‘office closed’ message.
Here are additional tips that can improve patient communications:
- Make sure communications to your patients are clear, effective, and driving the responses you want.
- Encourage patient engagement by understanding your patient’s individual needs and building a communication platform that allows you to deliver it easily.
- Send one reminder at a time, starting several days before the appointment. When the patient responds to confirm their attendance, other modes of communication will automatically stop.
- When a patient is due for a follow-up visit, automatically remind them to schedule an appointment.
- Create communication touch points that foster patient loyalty and support their efforts for a healthy lifestyle.
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