KEEPING UP WITH THE TIMES BY TEXT MESSAGING PATIENTS
The chiropractic assistant/office manager who runs the front desk has many duties in the chiropractic office, from managing patient files, verifying patient insurance benefits, and being in charge of making sure that patients needs are met in a timely fashion, just to name a few. Another very important duty of the chiropractic assistant or “C.A.” is to notify patients of their upcoming appointments, visit by visit, by friendly reminder. The standard way that this has been done for many decades is to call each patient the afternoon or evening before their scheduled appointment, and either speak to the patient directly, or leave a message on the patient’s voicemail. This method, although effective, is very time consuming, taking away from the assistant to tend to their many other duties.
What if there was a way that patients could be notified and reminded of their appointment the next day, all in one shot, no matter how many patients were scheduled on that day? Well, that could save so much time for the receptionist who has the responsibility of calling the patient, one by one. You can imagine how long that would take if the office had 40 or 50 patients or more to call per day for appointment reminders.
The 21st century has brought with it many of the marvels of modern technology, and one of those marvels is the cell phone/smart phone with text messaging. Actually, the first text message was sent in 1992, and since the big bulky cell phones of that period had no keyboards, the message was sent to the phone first by a computer keyboard, and the phone couldn’t send any message, just receive it. We have certainly come a long way since then, with just about everybody using text messaging to communicate back in forth, and even doing business.
Virtually every Chiropractic office (and Medical office, and Dental office, and Veterinary office for that matter) uses some form of computerized software these days that has all patients file information, billing, insurance information, and even appointment scheduling capabilities. In our office, our system also allows us to send patient reminders for their next appointment by either text message, or by e-mail. The only information the office needs is the patient’s cell phone number, and the cell phone carrier company,( e.g., Verizon or T-Mobile, or Sprint…) This allows the message to be transmitted to the recipient properly. Now, we took a survey of our patients and asked them which method that they would like to get their appointment reminder, and by far, they said they like the convenience of the text message. So, within the last month we began sending text messages instead of calling for the vast majority of our patients…some still like getting called, and that is no problem for us at all to accommodate that. However, by sending reminders by text, not only is it more convenient for the patient because most people live with their smart phones on their side at all times, but also it cuts a lot of time off the office receptionist workload, which is wonderful as well.