Two-way Texting Patients: Truths, Myths, and HIPAA Compliance

7 min read

Two-way texting improves medical and dental practices

Adopting two-way texting is a sensible choice for any dental or medical practice. It's an easy choice. There are seven (7) immediate financial benefits of two-way texting. I cover all 7 in this post plus dispel the two biggest myths about texting patients. The first truth, it's good for the bottom line!

It alleviated a lot of phone time. Each day it saves us two to three hours or more - Allison

Terry Vinston, COO Potomac Psychiatry, "throughout the day it just really helps ... "

Two-way texting saved hours of staff time, increasing patient flow.

We're able to answer hundreds of texts a day compared to answering 25 phone calls. There's a vast difference in how it expands our reach - Beatriz

Myth #1 - "It will not work for our patients"

It’s the most important myth to bust: many practices fear that texting “will not work for our patients!” Too many medical offices, doctors, dentists, office managers, and administrators have delayed or avoided adopting two-way texting because they worry their patients will not utilize it. The truth is, it’s not just for younger patients.

You might think it's only millennials who are texting, but it's adults from age 16 to 100 - Terry

A lot of our senior citizen patients actually utilize the texting a lot. Pretty much anyone who can work a phone really utilizes texts... - Dana

Patients react to the text better than they do a phone call. - Donna

Truth: Patients Prefer it

Doctible has observed again and again, when compared to email or voicemail practices using two-way texting find their patients are:

  1. More responsive
  2. Less likely to miss appointments
  3. Provide earlier notification for schedule changes

This is easily seen when looking at the results Doctible has delivered from over 5,000 clients (medical and dental practices) who send texts to patients. More importantly, I hear it from Doctible clients every day. The vast majority of patients will welcome but, yes - there will be some folks who opt-out.

Text them first and then call the ones that don’t text back. That’s really helped. - Allison

It was far more successful than I had imagined... Two-way texting cuts down a lot on the time that staff is taking to reach out about routine functions. - Terry

Truth: No one "loves" phone calls

No one loves making phone calls or listening to voicemail. No noe loves responding to phone calls or voicemail.

The vast majority of patients respond to text messages, over 100%, and they often do it within minutes, not hours or days. - Charles Cournoyer, Doctible

And it’s not just patients who love it. Office managers, practice administrators, doctors, and dentists quickly fall in love with two-way texting. Take folks like Donna, Dana, Abby, Allison, and Christina:

We were kind of surprised at how well it worked - Donna

We grew to love it right away - Abby

It's been a lot more helpful than I had anticipated - Dana

My staff love it. We love it. It's nice because we have four or five people in it at a time - Allison

I love it, how I can just punch in that patient's number, and it immediately shoots them a text. - Christina

Truth: Two-way Texting isn't Hard

Sending messages to patients is easy to learn.

Most teams learn to use it within minutes or even hours - Jon Ortega, Doctible Product Manager

It's pretty easy for everyone - Lindsay

It's very easy - Paulette

Surprised at how easy it is to use! - Lois

So, Why aren't more practices trying it?

If everyone loves using Patient Communicator, plus it's easy to use, it's better for patients and the bottom line, why aren't more practices using it?

Myth #2 - "It's Expensive"

Many office managers, doctors, and dentists fear that two-way texting is expensive. They worry about the costs of training and software licensing, but two-way texting is affordable and has seven immediate financial benefits!

The 7 Immediate Financial Benefits of Two-Way Texting

Number six and seven might surprise you:

  1. Saving hours a day of staff time
  2. Fewer missed appointments
  3. Better provider utilization from increased patient flow
  4. Proactive scheduling versus reactive scheduling
  5. Maximizing preventive appointments (i.e. annual or semi-annual appointments)
  6. Better online reviews, generating a steady flow of new patients
  7. Happier, more loyal staff willing to go the extra mile for patients

As you can see, two-way texting doesn’t just help one aspect of a practice: it makes everything better! Most practices that have adopted Two-Way Texting wish they had started sooner.

Fear of Reliability

When evaluating technology, operation and administration staff sometimes find it hard to understand all of the trade-offs for usability, reliability, and EHR integration.

Dental and medical practices need to partner with a firm that understands all of the trade-offs. Doctible does. Doctible knows how to build patient communications software that is adaptable, flexible, modular, and extendable. The Patient Communicator, which includes two-way texting, is at the core of the platform.

Patient Communicator doesn’t require an EHR integration so any practice can start using it immediately. — Ajit Viswanathan, Doctible CEO.

Truth: HIPAA & TCPA Compliant

Doctible understands the security issues practices face when implementing two-way texting. Smartly, the entire Doctible communications platform including the Patient Communicator is HIPAA and TCPA compliant. Many practices don’t know about TCPA which “restricts telemarketing communications via voice calls, SMS texts, and fax.” Doctible is happy to review this with you.

Landline Texting

Did you know most office voice lines can be set up to also send and receive text messages? It really helps make two-way texting effective:

  • No one likes learning a new phone number.
  • Naturally, it’s the number that patients and staff already know.
  • Importantly, it’s the number many patients have saved in their contact lists.
  • Critically, your main number is a familiar signal helping patients recognize your texts are not from a “marketing robot.”

Multi-location practices can implement landline texting for each office. Practices that have separate lines for different departments can similarly implement landline texting for each important number.

Landline texting can make a practice far more accessible, and of course the landline can still make and receive voice calls.” — Jon Ortega-Flores, Doctible Product Manager

A Full Platform of Patient Communication Tools

The day of “one-size fits all software” is long gone. There isn’t just one “right way” to use Doctible. Patient Communicator is at the core of the Doctible patient communications platform. The Doctible platform offers many additional modules, including several automation options.

Every practice can select the patient communications tools that perfectly fit their needs, align with or augment their EHR, and will grow with them.” — Charles Cournoyer, Doctible

Doctible Clients Say It Best…

I’ve spent the last few months listening to Doctible’s clients speak about the platform. Doctible customers make it easy to appreciate not just the platform, but the California-based team that builds and supports it.

Eye Care Practice Owner says,

Fantastic experience with Doctible. They have helped our office with patient communication and in generating reviews. Their service is extremely reasonable in price and their services are truly valuable. I look forward to working with them in the future.

Patient Experience Coordinator says,

It has allowed us to correct things that the patient is dissatisfied with before receiving other surveys or sometimes even before leaving the facility, and has also given them a direct line to us. We love it.

Marketing Director says,

Service is top-notch, pricing is amazing, and it offers so many options.

VP of Marketing says,

We are solving multiple business problems for us and our clients… The customer service the Doctible team provides is beyond what I have received with any other partner. They go above and beyond to understand our user needs and reporting needs and collaborate with us and our other partners to ensure we and our clients are getting what they need.

Are You Ready?

Is it time to learn more about two-way texting your patients? Are you ready to start engaging with your customers the right way?

Doctible has been described as “Reputable. Reliable. Responsible.” The entire team at Doctible wants to help your practice continue to build patient loyalty, improve patient experience, and increase provider utilization and practice profitability.

Try it yourself!

Is Doctible right for your practice? Let’s find out. I encourage you to schedule a short consultation with a Doctible team member. I also recommend you attend one of our Facebook Livestreams or free Webinars.

Doctible believes “seeing is believing!” That’s why Doctible offers a free 30 day trial on all of their modules, so your practice can experience it first hand.

Overview: Doctible's Patient Communicator (06:38)