Communicating with patients via text and email is often very convenient and popular.
Your practice management software system may help you create templates, customize messages, and send your messages directly to patients through the software. How you set up your messaging depends on the type of system you use. Once you have the system in place, automated and traditional messages can be sent from your software directly. This may help you to save time and reduce unnecessary administrative tasks in your office. If your office has employees, you may be able to free up more of their workday and help them become more efficient.
Learning how to create messages in your practice management system can help you keep in touch with your patients, answer questions, provide information, and remind your patients when they have upcoming appointments. These features can make investing in a practice management system more useful and meaningful for your practice.
Practice management software may help you communicate more regularly with your patients. Your program’s functions will vary depending on the vendor, type of product, how old your software is, and other characteristics your practice management tool has. Your system can help you prepare message templates in advance to use for specific situations and customize for common responses.
If you need to send the same message to a group of patients, you can also create group messages and send these to particular lists. Typically, the system readily shows past messages so you can quickly review previous communication with an individual patient.¹
Some software features email reminders that provide full details to patients about their appointments, such as a map with directions to the office. Whether or not reminders are sent for a specific appointment can be controlled from the system. If phone calls are needed, automated reminder calls can be created with pre-recorded messages. Using multiple methods of communication together may be more effective and help prevent patients from forgetting their appointments.¹
Advantages and considerations
Many patients love to communicate with their doctors through text or email. When these messages are sent through your practice management software, they are typically much more secure than traditional messages. The convenience of these communication methods and the growing telehealth trend mean that software vendors implemented secure messaging in many of their practice management products.
These systems are better than using ordinary email and text messaging because they are generally compliant with HIPAA. Because unsecured messages can violate HIPAA and other security and privacy laws, you should avoid messaging systems that lack proper privacy and security safeguards.¹
Sending messages through your software helps your clinic portray professionalism and stay organized. Automatic appointment reminders can help you keep patients on track and allow you to regularly notify patients of their upcoming appointments without risking unsecure communication or misplaced notes.
Electronic systems can send multiple reminders simultaneously and reduce administrative time. This allows you to spend more time with patients and concentrate on more complex messages, such as answering patient questions.¹
Choosing your software
If you need a new practice management system, consider asking your vendor about the communication options available in for physician-patient and internal office messaging. These features may make your own job easier and allow patients to become more involved in their healthcare. Identify what you want in your system and what you hope it will accomplish.
This is your opportunity to look for an appropriate system to automate more of your clinic’s communication functions. Communications is just one aspect of software that you should evaluate, but it can be a significant consideration.² ³
Before you shop for new software, create a list of questions. Write down the responses from each vendor, ask for a demo, and compare each system. Consider ease-of-use, convenience, flexibility, and other characteristics that are important to you. Find out how secure the messaging system is and make sure it has full HIPAA compliance.² ³
- Aerona.com. “Patient Communication.” Aerona Software. http://aerona.com/practice-management-software/patient-communication/. Accessed: April 2017.
- Ppmsoftware.com. “Setting up a private medical practice: Getting IT right.” PPM Software. http://ppmsoftware.com/setting-up-a-private-medical-practice-getting-it-right/. Published: June 2015. Accessed: April 2017.
- Kareo.com. “Send Appointment Reminders.” Kareo. http://www.kareo.com/practice-management-software/appointment-reminders. Accessed: April 2017.