The Healthcare sector has faced a lot of chaos in the last couple of weeks. This pandemic situation has left the hospitals, emergency rooms, urgent care, and primary care clinics across the country to rush into implementing pandemic protocols. Owing to a shortage of supply, there is competition for more significant safety procedures, efficient operations, face masks, and many more. Two problems need to be addressed. Firstly, to handle regular calls and visits of patients where there is a lack of doctors and hospital beds. Secondly, to effectively communicate and keep in touch with the patient's midst, all the changing circumstances, policies, and operation changes.
In this turbulent crisis where self-quarantine and social distancing is a must, hospitals and clinics should transform all modes of communication via Digital media, social media messaging, and text messaging.
Here are the six methods for leverage communication across messaging to elevate efficiency.
1. Manage all incoming and outgoing messages from a single inbox
Due to the COVID-19 situation, you must be bombarded with various incoming messages related to this chaotic situation across channels like websites, emails, social media, phone, and more. To reduce this load on your front desk and call center, you need to take the following measures-
- Include a chat feature to your Google My Business Page so that patients can reach you with their questions quickly with a single text. You can set up an automated reply system for your FAQs using the convenient interaction management software.
- Track incoming messages by adding chat to your website- choose one site where you can transfer all your chats over texts and SMS so that patients need not stay on your website until the conversation has come to an end.
- Manage all messaging channels from a single inbox- integrate all your messages to one Common inbox, which would include the history of messaging, conversations with each patient. If you are showing up where your patients are, most probably, you would be receiving messages on Instagram, Facebook, Google, and many more. This feature can not only reduce the workload on your team but can also be used in a HIPAA compliant manner.
2. Motivate patients for self-assessment before picking up their mobiles
If staff spend less time on the phone, they will have more time for other productive work. To ensure this, hospitals and clinics can take the following action steps-
- Using Webchat can reduce the time spent by your team to answer the same set of questions repeatedly. Webchat can provide automated answers to all kinds of FAQs.
- Guide and encourage patients to use online self-assessment tools.
- Search for a web chat feature with chat widget and configurable scripts where patients have to mention their symptoms, answer specific questions before they make a call in the clinic, or show up on a person.
3. Guide patients about Digital Channels and media
To reduce the influx of traffic, many healthcare centers, clinics, and providers are pointing patients to opt for telehealth services. This service can be further made effective by implementing web chat to remind patients about scheduling Teledoc services before choosing for an in-person appointment.
In case if they still make a call, add a feature to your phone system prompting the caller to visit the website, use webchat and other possible Digital channels. Later on, those conversations can be routed to clinics using messaging or can be used to send additional information to the patients if required.
4. Keep patients informed about real-time changes
With the changing trends and circumstances, it's your prime duty to keep your patients notified about the changes in procedures, appointment dates, supply, changing hours of operation, etc. Using the right interaction management software can allow you to send automated important texts, pop up messages on webchat, which can ease your work.
5. Control in-person visits via texts
To keep waiting for rooms free of contamination and maintain its hygiene, healthcare centers have implemented "wait for in-car" policies. You can inform your patients by the following methods-
- Patients having scheduled appointments can be texted on the appointment date to wait in their car.
- Texting patients about their private information like test results, samples using secure messaging in a HIPAA compliant manner.
6. Sending bills and collecting payments via texts
With interaction management software, you can quickly request and remind for payments via text messaging containing the link to your online payment portal or give a room for the patients to make the payment from the text interface itself to ease the transaction. This turns out to be an effective method since it minimizes hand to hand direct transfer of cash or card.
Interactions via phone, email, in-person meeting, and texting can help you keep a personal touch with your patients and enhance their convenience, even during stressful and uncertain times of life.