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Achieving Healthcare Excellence: 10 Text Messages ASCs Use for Successful Patient Communication


people texting


We're fortunate to work with many amazing ambulatory surgery centers, also known as ASCs. These facilities are doing impressive work, providing exceptional outcomes to their patients, and creating attractive, welcoming environments for surgeons and staff. We couldn't be happier to see our ASC clients using the Dialog Health platform and collaborating with our team to leverage text messaging to its full potential, achieving improvements throughout and beyond the patient journey.  


As we make our final preparations to exhibit at and attend the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA) 2024 Conference & Expo in Orlando, we wanted to highlight 10 of the exceptional ways we're seeing our surgery centers use texting. Hopefully, this list inspires you to explore how you can further take advantage of the communication tool we believe should be the backbone of ASC communications or motivates you to reach out to us or visit us at the ASCA meeting (Booth #923) to learn more about what text messaging with Dialog Health can do for your center! 


10 Text Messages ASCs Use for Successful Patient Communication


1. Initiate Patient Journey: Appointment Confirmations and Reminders


Sending an initial text that confirms a patient's appointment is a great way to introduce patients to the idea of receiving texts from the ASC — with future texts coming from the same sender number — while also helping ensure patients have properly documented the date and time of their procedure. Our clients also use Dialog Health's two-way text messaging capability to offer a way for patients to reply to this confirmation text if they have questions or concerns about their appointments. 


2. Compliance with Surgery Preparation Guidelines


As the date of the surgery approaches, texts remind patients about what they need to do to maintain compliance with pre-procedure requirements that will enable their surgery to proceed as scheduled. Examples of topics covered in text messages include fasting, modifications to medication regimens, preoperative bathing, and securing transportation. For procedures with multiple preparation steps like a colonoscopy, our clients are setting up a series of texts that remind patients to acquire the bowel prep kit and when they should begin each step in the preparation process. 

Texting is also used to remind patients about what they should bring with them for their procedure, including insurance information, photo identification, and a medication list. Two-way texting gives patients an easy way to contact our ASCs with questions or concerns about preparation compliance. 


3. Boost Home Preparation for Safer Recovery


For a good number of ASC procedures, including total joint replacement and other orthopedic surgeries, getting one's home ready for postoperative surgical recovery is essential to reducing the likelihood of falls or other adverse outcomes. Our surgery center clients use texts to remind their patients about key home preparation steps, including taping down corners of rugs, removing loose electronic cords, containing pets, acquiring and using a shower chair, and creating a living environment that eliminates the need to traverse stairs. With two-way texting, our ASCs are asking patients to confirm they have conducted this preparation, which adds another layer of accountability. 


We've worked closely with ASCs that have total joint replacement programs to develop an extensive pre- and post-appointment text messaging campaign these centers can use to improve safety and outcomes while better-ensuring surgeries proceed as scheduled. 


4. Minimize Appointment Cancellations and No-Shows


A surgery that isn't performed is a surgery that can't be billed for and a patient who needs to wait longer for treatment. Our ASCs have found tremendous success with using texting to decrease their cancellation and no-show rates. Before the procedure, centers send text messages reminding patients about their scheduled surgery and including key details such as the ASC's address and time of arrival.  


If a patient must miss their surgery, an ASC cannot assume they will pick up the phone and call. However, patients may feel more comfortable canceling via text, especially if prompted by a (two-way) text message asking patients to confirm their surgery or asking if patients have any concerns. A subsequent text is valuable in helping with rescheduling a canceled procedure.


5. Enhancing Revenue Cycle Operations for ASCs


Our surgery centers have witnessed just how helpful texting is to their revenue cycle — i.e., bottom line — performance. Texts drastically reduce time spent by staff members on outbound insurance verification. ASCs send texts to patients letting them know a staff member needs to verify their insurance and benefits and then asks patients to call the surgery center, streamlining the verification process.  


Text messaging is a highly effective way to initiate the pre-procedure collections process. Texts inform patients of their estimated payment and then direct them to ways they can pay, such as via portal (with the text providing a clickable hyperlink) or by calling the ASC to pay via credit card, with the text providing a direct phone number to the center's business office or the ASC billing partner tasked with collections. 


Texts also help reduce accounts receivable (A/R). One ASC client of ours used texting to decrease its outstanding A/R by more than half in just six weeks. Employees sent direct texts to patients that included a link to the ASC's payment portal and a phone number patients could call if they wanted to pay over the phone or had questions about their bill or payment options. 


6. Enhance Engagement with Caregivers through Improved Communication


Once a patient is brought from an ASC's waiting room into the preoperative area, the waiting begins for loved ones and caretakers who accompany the patient to the center. Our surgery centers are using texting to share real-time patient progress updates. Text messaging is also being used to inform loved ones, caretakers, and transportation providers when patients are ready for discharge and to share any special instructions on where drivers should go to pick up their patients. 




7. Boost Google Ratings and Satisfaction Survey Responses


Some of our ASCs are leaning heavily on text messaging to improve their online reputation. Better online ratings can help an ASC with a medical tourism program and/or cash-pay option to attract patients. A stronger online presence can also help with physician and staff recruitment. Texts can steer patients with positive experiences to rate and comment about their experience on platforms like Google and Facebook.  


8. Increase Appointment Rates with Improved Recall Programs


For ASCs with recall opportunities, such as those centers that perform colonoscopies or deliver ongoing pain management treatments, texting simplifies re-engaging with patients when it's time to make another appointment. Texting enables our ASCs to pre-schedule messages to go out to patients reminding them to schedule their next visit. Since these procedures follow a predetermined schedule, ASCs can use their texting system to automate that reminder message and more efficiently get patients onto the schedule. 


9. Leveraging Texting for Staff Recruitment Optimization


Given our focus on healthcare, we are acutely aware of the staffing challenges facing our clients. And we've worked closely with clients, including our ASCs, on how they can use the Dialog Health platform to help with recruitment. Our surgery centers are leveraging texting to check numerous recruitment effort boxes, including keeping current staff informed about job openings so they can help build awareness, informing past applicants and former team members about openings, and promoting participation in job fairs.  


Texts are also being used to communicate with prospective employees about the interview process and to follow up with applicants to see if they have any remaining questions or need additional information about an opening. Recruitment efforts that effectively engage with applicants can help increase the likelihood that applicants will think positively about their experience with an ASC. 


10. Strengthen Employee Engagement for Improved Staff Retention


Our clients are often surprised about the many ways text messaging can be used to build staff loyalty and improve staff retention. Texting campaigns can help deliver a great onboarding experience, such as by sending a welcome message, providing links to onboarding materials, identifying training dates, sharing resources, and informing new personnel of deadlines.

  

Texts can help strengthen ASC culture by informing and reminding personnel about staff appreciation events, milestones (e.g., successful accreditation or certification), celebrations (e.g., birthdays, work anniversaries, birth of a child), volunteering opportunities, professional development and continuing education opportunities, and holidays.  


Text campaigns are highly effective at driving engagement with ASC-sponsored health and wellness initiatives. Texts can be periodically sent to staff reminding them about available benefits and sharing links where to learn more about their benefits. Encouraging staff to use available benefits can contribute to wellness and satisfaction while also improving productivity and culture. 


Finally, we're seeing ASC human resources leaders/departments text uplifting words to staff — everything from "thank yous" for hard work during a period, to motivational quotes, to uplifting messages, to words of encouragement. Gestures like these remind staff how much they are valued and provide an ASC with another way of showing appreciation for their personnel. 


Text Messaging: Transforming ASC Clinical, Financial, and Operational Performance 


Text messaging is a proven method for ambulatory surgery centers to better engage with their patients, enhance outcomes, improve staff productivity, and enhance workflows, among numerous other benefits. As texting has become the preferred communication method, ASCs should evaluate how they can incorporate two-way text messaging as a communication platform or further expand its existing use.  


Texting also plays a key role in helping our ASCs avoid potential breakdowns in communication throughout a patient journey that result in canceled appointments, lost revenue, and increased expenses, among other problems. Adding a single platform with multiple text messaging solutions like Dialog Health helps reduce and often eliminate these shortfalls, delivering efficiencies that contribute to short- and long-term ASC success. The Dialog Health platform includes AnalyticsPRO, which offers comprehensive insights into the text message history. AnalyticsPRO provides users with real-time, actionable insights, enabling them to make better informed and decisive communication choices.  


We are here to help. Surgery centers — or any other type of healthcare provider — interested in adding or expanding text messaging should schedule a demo of Dialog Health, text or call (877) 666-1132, or email info@dialoghealth.com. ASCs attending the ASCA 2024 Conference & Expo in Orlando can visit Booth #923 to learn more about Dialog Health and speak with our team about how we can work together to maximize the benefits of texting. 

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