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How Text Message Communication Improves Patient Outreach

Text messaging tools made patient outreach more efficient by meeting patients where they prefer.

By Sara Health, Patient Care Access News

For Bill Hambsh, CEO of North Florida Women’s Care, patient outreach and communication looked a lot more like a game of phone tag. The process, which ideally would be marked with efficiency and high patient engagement levels, too often left patients and providers stuck in a back and forth of phone calls.

For years, Hambsh and his colleagues called patients to manage appointments. Phone lines would get tied up with schedulers making up to 500 calls a day trying to get patients into the clinic, or patients trying to cancel or reschedule their appointments.

“Trying to get through the volume of calls and the voicemails that were left was just out of control,” Habmsh told PatientEngagementHIT.com in a previous interview. “Previously, filling the slot would require my staff to manage those waiting lists and call the patients.”

The process was convoluted and lengthy, leaving some patients waiting up to 20 minutes to connect with a call center represenative. Eventually, Hambsh and practice administrators found that patients would give up on trying to contact the clinic, leaving the clinic liable for patient no-shows.

And in a specialty marked by high patient loyalty – patients often wait three to five months trying to see their OB-GYN, Hambsh said – that simply wouldn’t do. Call center staffers needed to know when patients were canceling their appointments so they could fill that time slot with another available patient.

All of that was too much to handle over the telephone, Hambsh explained.

So North Florida Women’s Care tapped text messaging technology from Luma Health. These tools reach out to patients when it is time to schedule an appointment, allow patients to confirm or cancel or reschedule appointments, and even connect with new patients recently referred by their primary care.

Read the rest of the article at: Patient Care Access News

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