Text messaging is the preferred method of communication for a majority of Americans. That's why a growing number of healthcare organizations are turning to texting as the backbone for their communications.
Healthcare organizations researching their healthcare SMS texting solution options — either to start using text messaging or upgrade from an existing platform — will want to seek a texting technology that includes a wide variety of features. The right features will help healthcare organizations achieve improvements in their financial, clinical, and operational performance.
What features should you look for? Read on.
Key Features of the Best Healthcare Text Messaging Solutions
The following are some of the most important qualities you'll want to ensure describe and are included with the healthcare texting software you're considering for your organization.
Text messaging designed for healthcare
Seek a text messaging platform designed by healthcare experts specifically for healthcare providers. Such healthcare expertise is essential to understanding a patient's journey and the essential communication points along the way. This expertise is also key to understanding how to effectively engage with patients' family members, staff, physicians, and vendors.
Tip: When speaking with healthcare SMS software companies, ask for case studies that demonstrate how their healthcare organization clients have successfully leveraged the texting solution.
Two-way text messaging
Any healthcare text messaging platform must come standard with 2-way texting, also referred to as "conversational texting." Two-way texting enables you send messages and receive messages.
Why is this important? Without two-way texting, you'll find that using texting for verifying patient appointments, post-appointment follow-up communications, conducting surveys, requesting patients to answer preoperative questions, engaging with patients about payments, and other vital use cases will be severely limited or impossible to achieve.
Compliance with healthcare and communication requirements
Make sure any healthcare texting platform you're considering adheres to the latest HIPAA, SSAE, TCPA, and https://www.ctia.org/CTIA standards. These rules will help ensure your organization's protected health information is kept just that — protected — and your organization will not risk running afoul of communication and solicitation laws.
Tip: Did you know the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is cracking down on spam texting? The top healthcare texting company you partner with should understand the FCC's rules and design its platform to comply with these emerging regulations. Choosing such a vendor will help ensure your messages consistently reach and are engaged with by recipients.
Cloud-based healthcare text messaging
Why do you want your healthcare texting software to live in the cloud? There are a multitude of benefits. You get improved security, streamlined updates and upgrades, and ease of scaling, just to name a few.
Tip: If you intend to use two-way texting across your enterprise, you'll definitely want a cloud-based platform. Being on the cloud will permit you to easily add and integrate text messaging into more departments and expand your use of text messaging as your organization evolves and expands.
Ease of integration
Texting can make communication fast and efficient, leading to reduced workloads and decreased reliance on slow, costly manual outreach. At least that's what a healthcare SMS platform should enable you to do. When researching your healthcare text messaging options, seek an SMS platform that successfully integrates with existing systems. This will better ensure you achieve a consistent flow of information.
Tip: Ease of integration is critical, as is ease of use. Look for a healthcare text messaging solution that includes a console that empowers you to develop and manage text campaigns in a straightforward manner. When software isn't intuitive, users are not as likely to leverage it as much as they could and should.
Ability to easily add hyperlinks
Sometimes you will want to share more information than you can in a text message. The good news is that the best healthcare texting solutions include the ability to add web links to text messages. This capability should come standard, allowing you to provide links to endless resources and information, including maps, videos, surveys, educational tools, payment portals, forms, social media accounts, and online review websites.
Tier 1 connectivity
Ask healthcare SMS vendors whether their technology includes tier 1 carrier connectivity. This functionality is key for achieving the best-in-class ability to send and receive healthcare SMS texts across all mobile providers.
Text campaign flexibility
As users of healthcare texting will tell you, there are many different types of text messaging campaigns. Some are simple, such as those requiring a single message to a user base, while others are more advanced, leveraging multiple messages and multi-layered campaigns and workflows. Seek a healthcare SMS texting platform will enable you to execute everything from easy to more complex campaigns and tackle these efforts with ease.
Tip: While executing more complex campaigns shouldn't be difficult, you may have questions about how to best do so and achieve your goals. The top healthcare text messaging companies will have personnel available to help answer questions and assist you in setting up and executing campaigns.
Multiple SMS functions
While a healthcare texting platform should be easy to use, that doesn't mean it should lack helpful features and options. Those features and options should just be easy to use! Examples of what you will find offered with the best healthcare text messaging solutions on the market: on-screen delivery receipts, extended character length, ability to view and export your data whenever you choose, mobile keyword sign-up, custom subscriber fields, custom workflow campaigns, and inclusion of a second mobile number (e.g., family member, caregiver).
Flexible delivery of text messages
One of the features users of top healthcare text messaging technology love most is the ability to pre-schedule messages to go out to recipients — on top of sending real-time messages. In addition, some platforms include the technology to have text messages automatically go out following a "trigger" event. Examples include messages going out to patients a defined number of days in advance of or following an appointment. Another trigger-event example is messages going out to healthcare staff a number of days prior to the start of open enrollment and throughout the open enrollment period to help encourage participation.
Tip: Make sure the healthcare texting software you choose includes "drip" campaign capability, which essentially supercharges the use of trigger events. With drip messaging, a healthcare organization can set up their text messaging platform to trigger a series of automated messages sent at intervals when users take specific actions.
Control the number of recipients
Sometimes you'll want to send one patient or staff member a text message. Other times, you'll want to send a message to many individuals, such as all patients coming into your organization the next day or week, all staff members, members of a specific department within your organization, some or all of your vendor partners — the list goes on. The healthcare texting platform you choose should give you the ability to easily send a text message directly to an individual or a group broadcast to reach hundreds of people — or more! — and be able to do so in just minutes.
Tip: Using a two-way healthcare SMS solution takes this capability to another level. Staff can easily engage with and gather information from multiple messaged recipients without ever leaving the texting platform or picking up the phone.
Easy subscriber list management
Organizations that maximize their invesetment in a top healthcare texting solution use it to communicate with many different types of people, like new patients, past patients (such as for recall programs), new staff for onboarding, all staff, leadership, and department-specific teams. Healthcare texting platforms should come with the ability for you to categorize (i.e., group) your subscriber lists, easily sort these lists, and personalize messages accordingly.
Healthcare texting analytics and reporting
The best texting technology for healthcare organizations also include robust analytics and reporting, providing you with insight into whether your texts are reaching subscribers and getting the engagement you expect. With healthcare text messaging analytics and live reporting, you gain the ability to auto-generate a wide range of reports, such as who received your text and took any intended action associated with its message, who received the text and did not take any action, and who never received the text.
Tip: By using the information and insight from analytics and reporting, you can make data-driven decisions on what communication actions to take next. This will reduce time spent on manual outreach while helping you connect with patients and staff in the communication manner they prefer and enhancing staff productivity.
Access to custom short codes
You know those five- or six-digit numbers that sometimes text you? You may associate them with financial institutions, e-commerce companies (e.g., Amazon.com), airlines, and multi-factor verification codes from various websites, to name a few. Those are called "short codes," and they are a great texting tool. Some of the biggest benefits associated with short codes are that they permit users of texting to run a wider variety of personalized campaigns and are easier to remember than a traditional, 10-digit phone number.
The healthcare texting company you partner with should be able to guide you on when it's best to use short codes and then provide the support that will help you secure and most effectively leverage short codes.
Dialog Health: Leading Healthcare Texting Solutions for Today's Providers
At Dialog Health, we are proud that our healthcare text messaging platform is relied upon by healthcare clients nationwide, including ambulatory surgery centers, hospitals and health systems, gastroenterology and radiology practices, anesthesia groups, and many other provider types. And we're proud that our two-way text messaging platform is being used by a growing number of leading organizations and operators nationwide.
Why are providers increasingly turning to Dialog Health? Our platform helps organizations effectively engage patients, improve outcomes, boost staff productivity, grow bottom lines, and strengthen workflows, among many other benefits. To learn more about how our partner organizations use the Dialog Health text messaging platform throughout their enterprises, download this free eBook and then contact us by emailing email@example.com, calling (877) 666-1132, or filling out this form. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss your communication and engagement goals and how Dialog Health will help you meet and exceed them.