SMS is transforming how healthcare providers communicate with their patients. But it's also a super-tool for boosting patient recall and practice revenue.

We explore why text messaging is so successful and look at the ways in which your practice can leverage SMS to improve patient engagement, streamline practice management, and ultimately increase revenue.

Combatting Healthcare's $150 Billion Drain

YakChat messaging app image

In the 5 minutes it takes to read this article, the U.S. healthcare industry will hemorrhage almost $4,000. Tot this up and it equates to a staggering loss of $150 billion per year. To healthcare organizations and practices, the cause of this financial loss is, regrettably, all too familiar: Patient no-shows.

But what if I told you that a powerful, budget-friendly solution exists that minimizes no-shows, enhances patient interaction, and boosts profits?And, what’s more, it’s a tool that I’m pretty sure you and your patients already use: SMS text messaging!

Missed Appointments Harm Your Bottom Line

Missed appointments are an ongoing, irksome problem, and one that doesn’t just affect the U.S. but the health industry globally. Take the U.K., for example. The National Health Service (NHS) estimates that patient no-shows result in an annual cost of £1.2 billion.

These alarmingly high losses encompass several costs: Staff time, equipment, and other resources allocated to scheduled appointments which all go to waste when patients fail to attend. They also include the missed opportunity cost of not being able to fill the appointment slot with another patient. And this further exacerbates the financial impact on healthcare providers.

But quite apart from this economic hit, no-shows pose another critical issue: They directly and adversely affect patient health.  

Missed Appointments Harm Your Patients’ Health

YakChat messaging app image

recent study revealed a startling truth: A single missed appointment increases a patient’s attrition rate significantly. If we miss just one appointment with our primary care doctor, there’s a 70% chance we won’t return within 18 months.

But it’s not just about skipping a single visit; it’s about the bigger picture.

Missed appointments disrupt the continuity of our care and prevent the timely delivery of preventative services and screenings. Ultimately, that puts us at risk for untreated illnesses, medication efficacy issues, and even the development of chronic conditions.

So what's the remedy? How can healthcare organizations and practices effectively tackle the complex problem of patient no-shows? The answer is surprisingly simple: Text messaging, or SMS.

Sending a simple text can drastically reduce missed appointments and boost practice revenue

Text messaging can reduce patient no-shows by more than 67%

SMS may have been around for a long time, but it remains a formidable means of communication. Its power lies in the fact that texting is both simple to use and highly effective. And for most of us, it’s integral to our day-to-day communication. But for the healthcare industry, texting’s impact is nothing short of transformative.

In health practices everywhere, SMS already Improves patient recall for preventative care and automates appointment reminders. They’ve discovered that a simple text message can drastically reduce missed appointments and lead to a significant boost in their practice revenue.

Indeed, studies have shown that appointment text reminders can reduce no-shows by half. Some health providers have even reported an increase in scheduled appointment attendance by a staggering 67%.In short, SMS makes it easier than ever for us to keep our patients on track with their appointments and engaged in their care.

So what makes SMS such an effective tool? And how can your healthcare practice leverage this seemingly simple yet powerful tool to reap its many advantages?

Why SMS is so Powerful for Patient Communication and Engagement

1. Faster patient engagement

SMS provides the fastest and simplest way of communicating with patients. The stats surrounding SMS are phenomenal:

98 out of 100 texts you send will be opened, and the majority will be read within 3 minutes. Compare that to email open rates of just 20% or below.

2. Minimizes patient no-shows

SMS helps patients remember their scheduled appointments and follow-up visits. Automated text message appointment reminders can help reduce missed appointments and no-shows, which are costly for practices and result in lower patient satisfaction. When patients forget their appointments, they not only waste the provider’s time but also prevent other patients from receiving timely care. Moreover, missed appointments can disrupt the provider’s schedule and result in lost revenue due to the time slots being left unfilled.

3. Enhances patient convenience

YakChat messaging app image

SMS provides patients with a super-convenient way to ask questions, receive answers, and access information related to their health. If you’re anything like me, you’ll keep your mobile devices glued to you; and that makes SMS genuinely the fastest way for patients to receive and reply to your healthcare messages and communicate with your practice. It also makes it effortless for them to get information they need without the inconvenience of having to visit the clinic or make a phone call.

4. Strengthens patient-provider relationship

SMS helps to create a more personalized and empathetic approach to patient care, improving trust and strengthening the patient-provider relationship. By sending recall messages for medical screenings such as mammograms or annual physicals, you ensure patients stay informed and take an active role in their health journey. And when patients feel that their healthcare provider is invested in their wellbeing, it boosts patient engagement and satisfaction.

5. Boosts efficiency

Text messaging streamlines communication between healthcare providers and patients, reducing the administrative burden and saving time for both parties. Patients are more likely to respond to text message reminders as they can quickly check their phones and reply or confirm their attendance. Moreover, practices can automate SMS easily (think YakChat Power Automate Connector). And that allows your practice to free up staff time for other important tasks.

6. Improves patient outcomes

YakChat messaging app image

Text messaging can be a game-changer when it comes to improving patient outcomes. By sending patients timely information via text, healthcare providers will encourage patients to stay on track with their health care.

Messages that include medication and appointment reminders, prescription refills, test results, and follow-up care instructions ultimately lead to improved health management for patients.

And who doesn’t want that?

7. Delivers more bang for your buck

SMS offers your practice the most cost-effective and efficient way to stay connected with your patients, while also reducing costs. Traditional communication methods such as phone calls or postal mail are expensive and time-consuming, and their success rates are low. SMS, on the other hand, allows practitioners to communicate faster and more successfully, but at a fraction of the cost. Plus, your practice can save time and money on the printing, postage, and staffing required for manual communications, while reducing the risk of missed calls, voicemails, or lost mail.

SMS for healthcare: A game-changing solution

SMS is the ultimate tool for savvy healthcare practitioners seeking to stay closely connected with their patients without breaking the bank!

Today, health providers face a daunting task: to continually find effective ways to mitigate constant financial losses and ever-rising expenses while simultaneously improving their patients’ health outcomes.

Luckily, SMS technology offers a game-changing solution to these challenges. With its lightning-fast speed, high engagement-rate, ease of use, and low cost, SMS is the ultimate tool for savvy healthcare practitioners who want to stay closely connected with their patients without breaking the bank.

So if your healthcare practice has yet to tap into the power of text messaging, now is the time to start. By embracing this technology, you can enhance patient engagement, increase revenue, and ultimately improve the quality of care you provide.

Trust me, your patients (and your wallet) will thank you!

SMS in Healthcare: FREE eBook

YakChat messaging app image

Grab your FREE copy of our eBook: SMS in Healthcare. Discover how to stay on the right side of regulators when implementing text messaging in your healthcare organization.

About YakChat

Powering SMS for Microsoft 365 and Cisco's collaboration platform, YakChat equips organizations to send and receive texts directly from within Microsoft Teams, Outlook, and Webex. Enabling secure multi-factor authentication (MFA) across your team and automated SMS workflows across your organization, YakChat extends the communication and collaboration power of your UC&C platforms, unleashing maximum value for users.