Two-way messaging doesn’t create a seamless experience for your patients or your staff. Learn why, and how to create a better experience.
Two-way messaging might seem like a good way to increase patient engagement and help further a health system’s digital transformation goals. Eight in ten Americans won’t pick up calls from unknown numbers, but 70% of Americans check their phones within five minutes of receiving a notification. Why shouldn’t health systems communicate with patients with a channel they are likely to use?
Ultimately, two-way messaging fails to deliver on health systems’ operational objectives like increased efficiency and decreased call volume. It also presents challenges for both patients and staff.
Here’s why two-way messaging in healthcare was always destined to be dead on arrival.
Two-way messaging has limited functionality. For anything besides a simple exchange, patients have to be routed to another system. At worst, patients get frustrated and resort to a phone call – or give up entirely and find a different provider.
Here’s one example of how those limitations can play out:
Because texting wasn’t sophisticated enough to handle the complexity of the patient’s needs, this created a fragmented and confusing patient experience.
Adding two-way messaging to the already lengthy list of things staff need to manage creates more work without simplifying anything else. In addition to answering phone calls and helping patients in-person, office staff now have the added manual work of texting patients back.
Here’s an example of how this impacts staff:
Like their patients, this experience leaves staff frustrated. Unlike their patients, this becomes their new normal and is a perfect recipe for burnout.
Healthcare leaders trying to meet digital transformation goals find that two-way messaging falls short of expectations.
Here’s one example of how it holds leaders back from meeting their goals:
For leadership, the experience contributes to cynicism about the ability of technology to help achieve organizational goals, as this most recent investment fails to show the progress they had hoped.
Texting can make sense for broadcast messaging, meaning one-way communication streams like reaching patients for one-off and non-scheduled announcements — for example, if a practice is closed due to bad weather or the doctor is sick.
But for anything that leaves the channel open for patients to respond, texting can quickly get complicated and require more staff, not less.
You want to meet patients where they are, but you also want to create a positive patient and staff experience. If two-way messaging doesn’t work, what does?
A healthcare automation platform like Notable improves patient engagement without adding work for staff.
Let’s take a look at what this means for the patient, staff, and the organization:
Automation reduces the number of steps that both patients and staff have to take — whereas two-way messaging increases the complexity of patient-provider interactions.
This approach also ensures healthcare organizations get accurate patient information on the front-end—which reduces errors that can hurt clinical outcomes, cause additional staff overhead and issues with payments.
With automation, the right channel is used for the right type of communication without requiring a high lift.
The patient gets a consumer-grade experience, staff are empowered to operate at their best, and health systems can scale effectively to meet their patient acquisition and retention goals.
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