By Brittany Quemby | Apr. 14, 2016

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Getting patients to show up and pay attention to communications is difficult.

We live in a noisy world, where seemingly countless text messages, emails and phone calls are competing for patients’ attention each and every day – often making it difficult for important information to get through. How can healthcare providers get their patients to show up and pay attention to the essential, sometimes time-sensitive information they send them, like appointment reminders and health and wellness tips, to minimize no-shows and encourage population health?  These three patient communications best practices from our PatientPrompt experts are a big part of the answer.

Get personal. 32% of Americans say they want more health messaging and believe that such messaging may help them avoid a healthcare issue like a missed appointment. But for nearly half (47%) of patients, “personalized” interactions are also vital.  For this reason, the most effective communications – whether sent via email, voice or text – should include:

  • Patient information
  • Provider information, including location and contact information
  • Appointment details, if appropriate
  • Health and wellness information that is relevant to the patient

Take a multi-channel approach. We know where today’s patients can be reached most easily: on their mobile devices, where they spend approximately 3 hours and 8 minutes per day. But, depending on the individual and the type of information being shared, preferences for email, voice and text can vary greatly, even when being consumed on a mobile device. This is why a multi-channel approach to patient communications often yields the strongest results. For appointment reminders, perhaps start with an email about a week out, then send a voice message 2 days before and then shift to text for day-before and day-of reminders and confirmations. Looking to share wellness tips? Email, voice and text messages have proven to be effective.

Make “next steps” simple. Getting the right message to the right patient through the right channel is critical to the success of a patient communications strategy, but equally important is making next steps simple. This can be achieved with interactive messaging that enables “click/press to confirm (updating your schedule in real-time) or reschedule” functionality that either bridges patients back to your office/call center, or links to your website to reschedule.

Interested in learning more about best practices for patient communications? We’re here to help.

Brittany Quemby

Author: Brittany Quemby

Brittany is a Marketing Strategist at Stericycle Communication Solutions. She currently drives marketing strategy for Stericycle’s healthcare and commercial services.  She is a token Canadian on the marketing team and currently resides in the Great White North. Her favourite pastimes include all things Canadian – portaging, poutine, saying sorry, and maple syrup.