6 Ways to “Check In” With Patients

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Checking in with your patients on a regular basis is the best way to improve overall patient adherence to their plan of care. Using a strategic combination of both online and traditional marketing tactics can help you keep in touch with your patients on a more regular and personal basis.

Patient Communcation Tools - 5 ways to check in with patients

1. Email Marketing

On average, people are checking their email at least once daily, which makes email an effective tool for checking in with your patients. When executed correctly, email correspondence can drive patients to your website, blog or social media site, allowing you to stay on the minds of your patients even when they aren't visiting the office. To engage your patients via email, keep the following in mind:

  • Make the subject line short and sweet.
  • Focus on 1 main objective per email.
  • Leave out unnecessary words or links that can be distracting to a viewer, causing them to check out before they “check in”.

2. Social Media

Most people today access some form of social media on a daily basis. To stay relevant in today's online landscape, it's important to have an online presence via social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Twitter. Social media is best used as a platform to provide general information to your patients about widespread health concerns, as well as news about your practice. Social media sites:

  • Are free to use, making marketing in this format extremely cost effective.
  • Provide your patients with peace-of-mind that you are just a click away.
  • Create a non-traditional format where you can have a conversation with current and prospective patients. 

Social media sites, such as Pinterest, can also be great tools for patient education. See our earlier post on how to use Pinterest for patient education for more tips.

3. Text Messaging

Another quick and effective way to reach patients is via text messaging (also referred to as SMS – short message service). This is a great way to keep the lines of communication open with your patients between their visits to the office. Text messaging allows you to:

  • Send quick appointment reminders, account balance alerts, preventative care reminders, lab results access and even satisfaction surveys.
  • Communicate from the comfort of your home or office. You can send text messages from an iPad, telephone or computer.
  • Contact hundreds of patients within minutes.

Text messaging services are available through most email service providers, which allows you to create triggered sends (such as appointment reminders), mass sends (a quick tip to all patients), or segmented sends (messages created for a unique group of individuals based on their profile information).

4. Direct Mail

Of every method listed here, this is the only one that puts a physical piece of collateral into the hands of your patients. In a world that's inundated with marketing messages, a direct mail piece can make you stand out and have a big impact on your patients. Direct mail:

  • Allows you to target a specific patient demographic.
  • Gives current or potential customers a physical reminder of your practice, making you stand out among the emails and text messages.

Remember, direct mail doesn’t have to be a marketing message – often the pieces that resonate most are the ones that have been thoughtfully sent such as holiday cards, a quick thank you note to a patient, or a “I just want to check in and see that you’re on track” message can have a big impact – especially for patient adherence.

5. Phone Call

Believe it or not, a good old fashioned phone call can still go a long way with your patients. Not to mention, there will always be patients who just don't use email, text messaging or social media, and you still need to be able to build a personal rapport with those individuals. Make a phone call to:

  • Deliver lab or test results.
  • Follow up on recovery or check in with patients regarding their plan of care.
  • Conduct a patient satisfaction survey.


6. Mobile Applications (Apps)

Smartphones can also provide an effective means of checking in with a patient. Many available mobile applications (such as Remedy Reminder) allow for healthcare professionals to track patients adherence to dosage instructions and lifestyle recommendations providing discussion points for check ins. Use mobile apps to:

  • Remind patients of dosing instructions and lifestyle recommendations
  • Discuss a list of all prescribed products including those from the patient's other healthcare providers
  • Track patient's adherence  


Remember, that with each of the methods above, it's important to gain patient consent for any applicable opt-in laws such as CAN-SPAM, and to comply with HIPAA regulations to ensure patient confidentiality.

 

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