Nobody likes to be stood up. That includes doctors and other medical professionals.
Booking patients back to back in neat 30-minute time slots looks good on a calendar but in the real world appointments are missed and people show up late. Ensuring that patients arrive on time is crucial for running a successful practice with a healthy bottom line. Using business texting software templates can help.
Appointment reminders from a doctor’s office help reduce no-shows, which can be costly for a medical practice. Having holes in your schedule because of missed appointments can be frustrating. And keeping others waiting in your lobby because previous patients arrived late isn’t good for your reputation or online reviews about your practice.
Improve patient engagement with text messages from doctors’ offices
While most EMRs (electronic medical records) have appointment reminders as a standard feature, there are other reasons for adopting text messaging. For starters, texting software enables staff to quickly connect with patients by sending SMS texts to their cell phones using an existing office landline, VoIP or toll-free phone number. Front office employees can send and receive texts from anywhere using a laptop, desktop computer or mobile device. See how it works.
By engaging with patients before their scheduled appointment, a medical office can reduce no-show-itis. Alerting them with a scheduled text message with the date, time and reminders about paperwork they should bring or food or drink they should avoid can be helpful.
By providing this advance notice, if a patient needs to cancel, they can reply to the text or call using the same number which gives the staff time to text someone on a waiting list to fill that opening.
Convert doctor referrals into new customers with text message templates
When someone is referred to your practice by a doctor, medical facility or even one of your patients, sending a text as soon as possible is to your advantage. Using a pre-written template is easy, saves time and ensures the message you want to send is executed consistently no matter who sends it (see template example below).
If your office can convert even one potential patient through a referral, it would be wise to think about the longer term value of that patient and not just the value of one appointment. For example, a physical therapy patient will average eight appointments for reoccurring care, so if an average visit costs $100, your practice could be gaining $800 by converting a potential patient into an actual one.
Keep the lines of doctor-patient communication open with text templates
Getting a new patient to actually walk through the door can mean the difference between a long-term relationship or no relationship at all. When a person doesn’t show up for their initial meeting with a doctor, the likelihood that they’ll reschedule it is low.
They might be embarrassed about forgetting the appointment or just feel hesitant about seeing a doctor. Sending a reminder text that also puts the patient at ease can increase the odds that they keep their appointment.
Reminder texts can also help existing patients stay engaged so they’re more likely to keep their commitment. Messages can be used for actually scheduling their appointment, as the text conversation below illustrates.
Text templates save time and cut down on repetitive daily tasks
Text templates are useful when you know you’ll be sending the same message multiple times—like appointment confirmations and reminders. Templates allow you to pre-draft a message and save it for the future, enabling you to use the template again and again for your doctor’s office.
Texting with patients (and wellness center clients) makes it easy to stay organized. Complete conversation histories are stored under each contact, so the messages are accessible by other staff members. Unlike phone calls where information is relayed and then gone, texting provides a written record of what was shared between the doctor’s office and the patient for others to see if needed.
Send COVID-19 vaccine notification appointment reminders with SMS
Hopefully, COVID-19 will be contained soon. In the meantime, doctors can notify patients by text when it’s time to schedule their vaccination appointment. Below is an example of a text exchange between a doctor’s office and a patient. The CDC website has up-to-date information about the COVID vaccine and what steps doctors and patients should take. Doctors may wish to point their patients to that resource prior to their appointment as it may provide answers to some of their questions beforehand.
Get started: 7 medical text templates doctors can send to their patients
Some patients may wonder how to make a doctor’s appointment by text. To make it easy, doctors’ offices can simply update their website and telephone on-hold message to let patients know they can schedule an appointment using SMS. After an appointment has been made, the office staff can then use pre-typed text message (templates) to send appointment confirmations and reminders to the patients.
Medical SMS messages save time for medical staffs and patients. Medical text messages are faster than a phone call and both sides have a record of the conversation. And because the text message includes the date and time of the appointment there are fewer missed appointments.
To use the medical text templates below, simply copy and paste the plain text (below each image) into your text window. Be sure to edit any words or details that should be customized to fit your medical practice.
Hi, [First Name]. This is [My First Name] from [Custom Field 1]. This is confirmation that you scheduled an appointment with us for ___ at __ am/pm. We look forward to seeing you then.
Hi, [First Name]. This is [My First Name] from [Custom Field 1]. This is a friendly reminder that you have an appointment scheduled for ___ at __ am/pm. We look forward to seeing you then.
New Patient Referral
Hi, [First Name]. This is [My First Name] from [Custom Field 1]. We received a referral from your primary care physician and need to schedule your initial appointment. Please call or reply to this text with your availability. We look forward to caring for you!
Filling Last-minute Openings
Hi, [First Name]. This is [My First Name] from [Custom Field 1]. An opening just became available for an appointment today at __ am/pm. You’re at the top of our waitlist. Please let us know by __ if you would like to schedule an appointment for this time.
Hi, [First Name]. This is [My First Name] from [Custom Field 1]. We wanted to check in and see how you’re doing following INSERT REASON FOR FOLLOW-UP. We hope you’re feeling well. If you need assistance or have any questions, please call or reply to the message.
Capturing Past Due Payments
Hi, [First Name]. This is [My First Name] from [Custom Field 1]. Our records indicate that you have an outstanding balance that is 30 days past due. Please call or reply to this text so we can assist you in resolving this matter. Thank you.
Google Review Request
Hi, [First Name]. This is [My First Name] from [Custom Field 1]. Thank you for allowing us to care for you. We would greatly appreciate it if you could leave a Google review of your experience using the link above. Thank you!
NOTE: Be sure to include a link to your specific “Google My Business” review page.
Learn more about additional Texting for Business™ software features
- Auto Reply: Provide patients with emergency instructions and accept appointment requests during non-work hours with automated text responses.
- Desktop App: Zipwhip’s Desktop App notifies you of new texts when you’re working in another program, so every text is seen as soon as it is received.
- Group Texting: Create segmented groups for processing wait lists or filling last-minute cancellations. Texts are sent as BCC messages, so no recipient names are ever visible.
- Scheduled Texting: Automate text messages that can be sent at a later date to notify patients when they have an appointment or are overdue for a visit.
Business texting software is a secure way to communicate with patients. It’s also the way more and more consumers want to connect. In our State of Texting report, 67% of people said they would rather text with a business about appointments, reminders and scheduling than talk on the phone or through email.
To learn more about the benefits of business texting, download our free e-book: The Ultimate Guide to Texting Your Customers. It’s filled with helpful tips and tools on how to use texting to market your business, best practices for staying compliant with TCPA regulations, texting etiquette and more.
Want to see more free text templates? Check out our post: 61 Text Templates Businesses Can Use Right Now