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Please Text Me!! Improving Communication with Conversational Texting

I just returned from HCCT 2024 and it is clear that texting has become an integral part of Contact/Call Center operations. I wanted to share eight reasons why more and more healthcare organizations are using our two-way texting to improve patient communications, outcomes, while reducing staff workload.

Enjoy the blog post. - Sean Roy

Patient receiving two-way texting communication via Dialog Health HIPAA-compliant texting software

Why Contact Centers Need to Embrace Two-Way Texting

In today's fast-paced world, who has the time to answer calls, especially from unmarked numbers? It's no wonder call centers are turning to text messaging as a game-changer. Texting is transforming the way call centers operate by slashing the number of outbound calls, cutting down on time spent on the phone, and better optimizing staffing levels.

With HIPAA-compliant texting software, healthcare contact centers can support more clients without adding extra staff, making business scaling more efficient than ever.

But let's talk about the real reason texting is a must-have for call centers: it is what people want. Did you know that 97% of adult Americans own a cell phone, and nearly everyone texts? It's second nature for most of us, and that's why patients prefer texting over calls. By embracing text messaging, call centers can keep patients engaged, improve adherence to instructions, and ensure smooth communication throughout the care journey.

Image of 5 people texting. 97% of Americans uses texting. Dialog Health has high reach rate.

Benefits of HIPAA-compliant, Conversational Texting Software

Let's look at eight of the reasons contact centers should be texting most of their patients.

1. Text messaging is familiar and expected.

With the rise of smartphones and the widespread use of text messaging, it has become a preferred method of communication for many people. In fact, a Pew Research Center survey found that 97% of Americans use text messaging at least once a day. By leveraging this familiar and expected communication tool, call centers can meet patients where they are and create a more seamless and convenient experience.


Think about institutions, airlines, retail corporations, service providers, and other businesses rely on texting to communicate key information with consumers. This means patients will likely not be surprised when they receive text messages from a call center. In fact, this communication method may now be expected especially for appointment reminders, prep instructions, insurance questions, links to pre-procedure forms, payment reminders and more.

Conversational texting, which allows information to be pushed and pulled from recipients, is also critical for improved engagement. By using two-way texting, such as through a platform like Dialog Health, call centers can automate and personalize SMS for a better patient experience. ask patients to verify that they received, understood, and plan to follow the instruction or request in the text message. This two-way texting feature offered by platforms like Dialog Health allows call centers to facilitate a genuine conversation with patients. Instead of simply sending out automated messages, call center agents can engage in real-time dialogue with patients, addressing their questions, concerns, and specific needs.

By asking patients to verify receipt and understanding of the information provided in the text message, call centers can ensure that patients are actively participating in their own healthcare journey. This level of interaction fosters patient engagement and empowers them to take ownership of their health.

Additionally, conversational texting enables call centers to gather valuable feedback and insights from patients. They can use this information to continually improve their services, identify potential issues, and tailor communications to meet the specific preferences and needs of each patient.

For example, if a patient receives a referral via text message, they can easily respond to confirm receipt and ask any questions they may have. Call center agents can then promptly address these inquiries, making the referral process smoother and more efficient. Check out our Referral Campaign case study here.

Automated and Personalized SMS example to reduce no-shows and reduce staff workload via Dialog Health industry leading software

Furthermore, two-way texting can be utilized for scheduling purposes. Call centers can send appointment reminders and allow patients to confirm, reschedule, or cancel appointments directly through text message. This convenient and streamlined process helps reduce no-shows, improve appointment adherence, and optimize scheduling.

Check out our Reduce No-Shows ROI calculator here.

2. Texting is trustworthy.

Texting has become a preferred method of communication for many individuals, and its effectiveness can be attributed to its trustworthiness.

"Don't you dare call me without texting first.", as the title of the recent Wall Street Journal article states....most people are now ignoring phone calls, especially from unknown numbers. This can pose a challenge for call centers trying to reach out to patients. However, by initiating contact through a text message, call centers can establish trust and increase the likelihood of patient engagement.

If you really need to chat with a patient...text them first!

When initiating a phone call with a patient, it is recommended to send a text message first. This text message should identify the sender, alleviating any concerns about unknown numbers. By providing this initial context, the call center sets the stage for a more productive and receptive phone conversation. Patients are more likely to answer calls when they have received a prior text message from the same sender, creating a sense of familiarity and trust.

SMS on Phone Example for Automated Workflow and Survey Options with 5-digit short code

To maintain consistency and trust, subsequent messages from the call center should come from the same 5-digit "short code" or 10-digit phone number...make sure your texting software provides this service. This practice ensures that patients recognize the source of the message and are more inclined to engage with the content. By demonstrating consistency in communication channels, call centers can build a sense of reliability and trust with patients.

3. Texting is unobtrusive.

Unlike phone calls, which can interrupt patients during important moments or in public settings, text messages can be received and read at the recipient's convenience. This allows patients to engage with the message without feeling pressured or rushed.

By utilizing two-way texting, call centers can provide patients with the opportunity to respond and ask questions at their own pace. This promotes a more comfortable and collaborative communication experience, as patients can gather their thoughts and provide more accurate information in their responses.

Additionally, text messages are often considered less invasive than phone calls, as they allow patients to maintain their privacy yet can still be very conversational. Patients may feel more comfortable discussing sensitive information or asking personal questions through text rather than over the phone. Call centers can take advantage of this preference by offering a secure and confidential platform for patients to communicate.

Not only is texting unobtrusive for patients, but it also enables call centers to reach a larger audience. Many people have their mobile devices with them at all times and are more likely to respond to a text message than to a phone call. This opens up new possibilities for patient communications, including referrals, scheduling appointments, and back-filling cancellations. In summary, two-way texting has revolutionized patient communications.

Man texting on phone while on beach and Patient Journey explained - Enterprise-wide HIPAA-compliant texting with Dialog Health

Phone calls can contribute to information overload, with each call between a call center and patient likely covering a lengthy list of instructions and reminders. One call can touch on multiple — and potentially complex — topics, including compliance, safety, and financial responsibility.

On the other hand, texting simplifies and streamlines communication throughout a patient's journey. Call centers can provide ongoing updates and reminders at pivotal touch-points. Research indicates about 97% of all texts are read, with many viewed within minutes of reaching a recipient. Texting does not require instant engagement between a call center and a patient (like what would be required for a phone call). Texts can be read and responded to (if necessary) at the patient's convenience.

4. Texts provides a history.

Text messaging provides a valuable advantage in terms of preserving a history of conversations between call centers and patients. Unlike phone calls, which are ephemeral and can easily be forgotten or misunderstood, patients can reference and review their SMS at any time.

Patient: "Dang! What time was I supposed to stop eating and drinking for my surgery tomorrow? Let me check my text!"

With texting, patients can easily access and refer to past messages that include important instructions and reminders. This accessible history helps ensure patient adherence and compliance. It also reduces the number of inbound calls from patients asking for information to be repeated.

Call Center: Our texting platform provides comprehensive Delivery Reports, Analytics and historical SMS data for call centers to easily reference and review. Having access to Delivery Reports, Analytics, and historical SMS data is a major advantage for call centers utilizing two-way texting. These features provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of patient communications and allow call center staff to easily reference and review past conversations.

Graphic image that shows Real-time Analytics Report for SMS sent. texting platform that provides comprehensive Delivery Reports, Analytics, and Historical SMS Data via Dialog Health AnalyticsPro module

Delivery Reports provide information on the status of each text message sent, including whether it was successfully delivered or if there were any issues. This ensures that important information reaches the patients and allows call centers to track the success of their messaging efforts.

Analytics provide valuable data on patient engagement and response rates. Call centers can analyze metrics such as open rates, response rates, and click-through rates to determine the effectiveness of their text messages. This data helps call center staff identify areas for improvement and tailor their messaging strategies to better engage patients.

In addition, our historical SMS data allows call center staff to review past conversations with patients. This can be incredibly useful for reference purposes, as it allows call center staff to quickly access important instructions, reminders, or previous discussions. It greatly reduces the need for patients to call in and ask for information to be repeated, saving both time and resources for the call center.

By utilizing a texting platform that provides comprehensive Delivery Reports, Analytics, and Historical SMS Data, call centers can ensure that patient communications are working and review ways to continue to improve engagement.

5. Texting translates to more inbound phone calls

At Dialog Health, we like to say, "If you want someone to give you a call, send them a text message."

"Hi Sue, this is Main Street Hospital. Can you please call us today about your surgery tomorrow. We can be reached at 888-734-8828. Thank you."

Why is it that texting translates to more inbound phone calls? The answer lies in the convenience and effectiveness of text messaging as a communication tool. When patients receive a text message from a call center, it serves as a reminder or prompt for them to take action. Whether it's scheduling an appointment, following up on a referral, or confirming availability for a back-fill appointment, a text message is a subtle nudge that encourages patients to take the next step.

While patients may ignore or miss phone calls from a call center, a call center is not likely to ignore or miss inbound calls. If a call center must speak with a patient, a text message can indicate this need to a patient and then provide the phone number patients should call.

Automate workflow SMS example on phone. Reminder of Annual Exam and Hyperlink to Portal to schedule appointment

Two-way texting further supports successful phone calls. A two-way text can ask patients if they want to receive a phone call to discuss information and have any questions answered. When patients express interest, a follow-up text message can tell the patient when to expect a phone call from the call center. This text can also share the phone number patients should expect the call to come from, increasing the likelihood that patients will answer. Moreover, by providing patients with the option to receive a phone call, call centers can ensure that important information is conveyed effectively. Sometimes, complex information or sensitive matters are best discussed over the phone. With two-way texting, call center agents can gauge the patient's preference and tailor their communication accordingly.

For example, if a patient needs to discuss test results or treatment options, a two-way text can ask if they would like to receive a phone call for a more detailed conversation. The patient can simply respond with a "yes" or "no," and the call center can proceed accordingly. This not only enhances patient engagement but also improves the overall quality of communication.

In addition, the follow-up text message informing patients of when to expect the phone call helps to manage their expectations and ensures that they are available to answer. By specifying the phone number from which the call will originate, patients are more likely to answer, as they will recognize the number associated with the text conversation.

By using two-way texting in conjunction with phone calls, call centers can optimize their communication strategies and improve patient satisfaction. Patients are given the flexibility to choose their preferred mode of communication, allowing for a more personalized and patient-centric approach.

Furthermore, two-way texting facilitates efficient appointment scheduling and who doesn't want that!

6. Texted hyperlinks support completion of patient responsibilities

Two-way texting in contact/call centers goes beyond just scheduling appointments and NPO-instructions. It also supports patients in completing their responsibilities related to their healthcare journey. One way this is achieved is through the use of texted hyperlinks.

Need a patient to visit a webpage? Text the hyperlink! Texting hyperlinks with instructions makes it easy for patients to schedule or reschedule appointments, load a map for directions to a facility, access a portal to complete pre-appointment information or make a payment, and participate in a satisfaction survey. Not only is this more convenient but you will drastically increase your engagement.

Graphic image of work computer and SMS example text using Dialog Health's automated yet personalized workflow with hyperlinks

Texted hyperlinks can be a game-changer when it comes to patient responsibilities and engagement...see our case study on how we helped a client increase completed pre-appointment documents by 225%.

By simply sending a text message with a hyperlink, call centers can guide patients to complete various tasks. For patients who need to visit a specific webpage, contact and call centers can easily text them the hyperlink. This simple act makes it incredibly convenient for patients to access important information or complete necessary tasks related to their healthcare journey.

7. Texts help navigate language barriers

With the right texting platform you can send SMS in the patient's preferred language.

Texting platforms like Dialog Health that include multi-language capabilities enable patients to receive texts in their preferred language. This translates to more fluid communication across diverse patient demographics and enables call centers to better overcome language obstacles that can stand in the way of optimal outcomes.  Language barriers can often hinder effective communication between healthcare providers and patients. However, with the right texting platform, such as Dialog Health, call centers can send SMS in the patient's preferred language, ensuring a more personalized and inclusive approach to communication.

Comic strip graphic image and example of Multi-language automated SMS with Dialog Health HIPAA-compliant texting software

By providing multi-language capabilities, Dialog Health allows patients to receive texts in their native language. This not only facilitates better understanding but also helps build trust and rapport between the patient and the call center. Patients feel more comfortable and confident when they can communicate in their preferred language, leading to improved patient experiences and satisfaction.

The ability to send texts in multiple languages is especially beneficial in diverse healthcare settings where patients come from different cultural backgrounds. It enables call centers to bridge language barriers and reach out to a wider range of patients. Effective communication across diverse patient demographics leads to better care coordination, increased patient compliance, and ultimately, improved health outcomes.

Furthermore, overcoming language obstacles through texting platforms like Dialog Health can also reduce potential errors and misunderstandings. Communication gaps due to language differences can result in patients not properly understanding instructions or missing important information. By providing information in a patient's preferred language, call centers can ensure that patients have access to essential healthcare details, including referrals, scheduling, back-fill appointments, and more.

Check out more Dialog Health's innovative features here.

8. Text messaging leads to patient empowerment

Text messaging has the power to empower patients by giving them the information they need to make informed decisions about their healthcare.

Texting enables patients to become more active participants in their care. Texts keep patients focused on their responsibilities and the actions they must take to help ensure an appointment and any associated treatment goes as planned. Text messages effectively remind patients about pre-treatment instructions and steps they need to take to be prepared for discharge and recovery.

Graphic image of phone and text examples for patient post-appointment Automated Workflows SMS with Dialog Health Texting Solutions

Two-way texting takes this patient empowerment to another level. The ease with which two-way texting enables patients to interact with a call center to confirm they understand instructions or completed a task, receive information, or get a question answered reduces the likelihood that patients will hesitate to reach out if they have questions or concerns. 

Better communication equals better outcomes.

In Summary: Texting With Dialog Health is Empowering Call Centers to Better Engage with Their Patients and Improve Outcomes

Text messaging with Dialog Health is a highly efficient and effective way for call centers to communicate and engage with their patients, improve outcomes, increase staff productivity, and reduce costs, among numerous other benefits.

Texting has become a widespread and trusted form of communication, and our contact /call center clients are leveraging this trend to improve patient communications and to remain connected with patients throughout their journey. 

Texting has become the preferred communication method for many Americans, with studies showing that over 97% of Americans regularly use text messaging. Recognizing this shift in communication preferences, call centers should determine how they can incorporate HIPAA-compliant, conversational text messaging as a communication platform or further expand its existing use.

To learn how Dialog Health is empowering call centers nationwide to better engage with their patients, schedule a demo today!



What Sets Dialog Health Apart: Mobile Solutions Made for Healthcare

Dialog Health is leading the way in empowering healthcare organizations including contact centers to engage with their patients through two-way texting. We provide a user-friendly and comprehensive texting platform specifically designed for healthcare organizations. Our platform allows call centers to seamlessly communicate with patients, improving patient experiences and outcomes.

With our easy-to-use texting features, call centers can easily send text messages to patients regarding referrals, scheduling, appointment reminders, billing and more. Patients receive these messages directly on their mobile devices and can respond in real-time, creating a dynamic and interactive communication channel.

For referrals, call centers can initiate the process by sending a text message to the patient, providing all the necessary information and instructions. Patients can then respond with any questions or concerns, allowing call center agents to address them promptly and ensure a smooth referral process.

When it comes to scheduling, call centers can send text message reminders to patients about upcoming appointments. Patients can confirm, reschedule, or cancel appointments by simply replying to the message. This not only provides convenience for patients, but it also allows call centers to efficiently manage their scheduling processes.

In addition to improving patient communications, two-way texting also plays a vital role in revenue cycle management for contact centers. The ability to engage with patients through text messages has been proven to enhance collections, increase patient satisfaction, and reduce the workload for employees.

Traditionally, contacting patients for billing purposes has been time-consuming and often ineffective. Sending out paper bills or making phone calls can result in missed payments or delayed responses. However, with two-way texting, call centers can send billing reminders and notifications directly to patients' mobile devices. This allows patients to conveniently view their bills or make payments with just a few taps on their screens.

Moreover, two-way texting provides an opportunity for patients to ask questions or clarify any billing concerns they may have. Call center agents can promptly respond to these queries, addressing any confusion and helping to resolve billing issues more efficiently.

By streamlining the billing process through two-way texting, call centers can significantly improve collections. Patients are more likely to respond and take immediate action when they receive a text message rather than a traditional bill in the mail. This leads to increased revenue for healthcare organizations and a reduced need for extensive follow-up efforts.

Did you know that implementing two-way texting for revenue cycle management contributes to higher levels of patient satisfaction? The convenience of receiving billing notifications and being able to interact with call center agents via text message can greatly improve the overall patient experience. Patients can easily inquire about their bills, request payment plans, or address any billing disputes, all from the convenience of their mobile devices.

These are just a few ways our Contact / Call Centers clients are using our platform to increase revenue while improving outcomes.





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