Doctor Patient Relations

SR Conversations: The Power to Communicate by Text with Patients

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By Ryan Parker, OD

Nov. 8, 2017

Most of your patients are avid about text messaging, choosing that mode of communication with friends, and even some of the businesses they patron. Now your practice can be one of those forward-thinking businesses that enables text message-based “conversations” with patients. I have found Solutionreach’s SR Conversations technology an easy, effective way to interact with patients by text message.

We implemented the technology nine months ago, and find that patients appreciate how easy and fast it is to communicate with us.

Millennial Friendly
As our patients get younger, with more Millennials, our businesses must adapt. These technology-savvy patients grew up as “digital natives,” and expect all forms of digital communication, including texting, to be available to them when contacting a business, or medical practice.

Many Millennials do not want to talk on the phone, but would rather text or start a digital chat because that’s the interaction that comes most naturally to them. For example, we recently had a patient who texted to ask if we could refill her prescription for Xiidra eye drops. She was at the pharmacy, and they told her she was out of refills, so she texted us via SR Conversations, my technician checked with me, and we sent the prescription refill through the pharmacy’s e-prescribe system before the pharmacist even had time to get on the phone and call our office. Our happy patient texted us back: “Wow! Lightening fast, love your customer service.”

Pretty much anything that used to be a phone conversation can now be an SR Conversation: “Are my glasses and contacts in yet?” “I need to book an appointment.” “Do you have any openings today?” “I need a prescription refill on my drops.” “What drops did the doctor say were good to use with my contacts in?” The list of questions our patients now text us goes on and on.

We are working on making texting via SR Conversations the primary way we notify patients that their glasses or contacts are in, and ready to be picked up, and then to only call them if they fail to pick up the products within a few days.

Click HERE or the image above to watch a webinar in which Dr. Parker shares how Solutionreach’s SR Conversations has changed the way he communicates with patients.

Almost No Staff Training Required
The back-end of the SR Conversations technology is as second nature to our mostly Millennial staff as it is on the front-end to our increasingly Millennial patient base. Notifications of a new “conversation” pop up on their work computer or tablet, and they then type back a response as soon as they can, carrying on a real-time exchange with patients, as easily as they would conduct a live text messaging conversation with a personal acquaintance on their phone.

Create a More Productive Staff
SR Conversations makes my staff more productive. They spend less time on the phone and more time being able to multi-task. When I have a staff member on the phone, that is all they can do–they are tied to the phone, literally, by the cord on the receiver. But with SR conversations, they can more easily do multiple things at the same time. For instance, when necessary, they can put the text conversation to the side for a few moments to check in a patient who is waiting.

Easier Than Ever to Fill Cancelled Appointment Slots
The technology has been great for helping us to quickly fill cancelled appointment slots. We are booked 2-3 weeks out, so, when booking appointments, patients often ask us to contact them if an earlier slot opens up. We used to create and maintain a list of people looking for earlier appointments, so we could call those people as soon as an appointment opened up. Every time a slot opened, my staff would have to go down the list calling until we reached a person available to take the open slot. With SR Conversations, my staff can just send a text out to the whole list at the same time, giving the open slot to whichever person on the list texts back first.

Let Your Patients Know: We Can Now Communicate Via Text
Alert patients to the new forms of communication you make available.
When we implemented the SR Conversations technology, we sent an e-blast to patients letting them know they could text, rather than call, us, if they preferred. We also let patients know on our practice web site that they can text rather than call.

Evolve or Face Extinction
Whether you, personally, like text messaging, the biggest segment of our population, Millennials, do, along with many others. Having a technology like SR Conversations gives us the ability to update our service to patients, keeping us in step with the world we live in today.

 

Ryan Parker, OD, is the owner of Ardmore Premier Eyecare in Ardemore, Okla. To contact: rlpeyedoc@me.com

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