How to Text Patients During Emergencies

Wondering how to text all your patients?

While you would like to have every aspect of your office under control, this is life—sometimes emergencies happen. In some parts of the country, big weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes, snowstorms, or electric outages from storms cause office closings. In smaller practices, doctors have unexpected absences because of illnesses, accidents, or family emergencies. And currently, we are seeing the effects of COVID-19, leaving patients uncertain if they should come into the office, if you are open, and wondering what they should do. While you can’t control emergencies from taking place, you can have the right tools in place to communicate with and text all patients, easing their frustrations and anxiety, and making it easy for them to be informed and engage with your practice.

Ask anyone the fastest way to reach them, and we are sure they will answer, “Text me.”  Zingit is the communication platform that allows you to text all your patients, engaging them in bigger ways than just sending email announcements. Here are a few ways Zingit can help your office text all patients with excellent communication in the face of emergencies.

Most-likely-to-be-seen closed office alerts.

If your office has to close because of unforeseen circumstances, an email and phone message might not prevent patients from heading in to their appointments if they are already on the road. People are unlikely to answer phone messages from unfamiliar numbers, and they don’t check their email even close to as often as they see their texts. In fact, 98% of texts are open and read compared to 20% of email messages. Text is the best way to prevent the frustration a patient has from showing up at the office only to find out you’ve closed. Zingit will allow you to easily text all your patients who are scheduled to come in during emergency closings to let the know as quickly as possible that the office has closed. Saving your patients the undue stress will go miles to creating a solid relationship.

Text patients to give them an avenue to respond and ask questions with 2-way conversations.

In times of emergency especially, patients have questions that they would like answered. The best way to do that is 2-way communication. Zingit offers the ability to easily send messages to all your patients—but not just a blanket broadcast that talks at them. When you text all your patients with Zingit, patients have the opportunity to respond back if they have a question or concern. This way, if you send an appointment reminder, for example, and they are wondering if they should come in when feeling sick, you can offer them the proper instruction. If you recommend a rescheduled appointment, you can offer them a link to do so, making it easy and more likely that they will complete the reschedule. A back-and-forth communication eases a patient’s anxiety, as it doesn’t leave them wondering what to do. It also allows them to communicate with you in the same way the communicate with family and friends—again, building their relationship with and commitment to your office.

Easy cancellations/reschedule messaging.

In the face of an emergency, your office may close. If this happens, you can send a notification out via text that includes a link to reschedule appointments. Or a patient may have an emergency of their own—they may be unable to leave their house during a snowstorm, have an emergency meeting at work, or come down with an illness. Zingit offers more than just appointment reminders—it offers the ability for patients to reply when they have to miss or are running late. Your staff can then easily see the reply and offer a link to reschedule, as mentioned above. This saves your office the time of voicemail phone tag to reschedule, and it saves patients the time spent calling in and waiting on hold. It also prevents lost revenue from missed appointments, and keeps patients active who otherwise may forget to reschedule.

Text patients appointment reminders modified with circumstantial notes.

Zingit’s robust system offers more than just a basic appointment reminder message. During regular circumstances, you can customize appointment reminders to include patient-specific messaging. So if a patient is new, you can attached a video message from the doctor, establishing rapport before the patient steps foot in your office. You can include links to documents for new patients, information about want to expect, and maps with directions. And in emergency circumstances, you can temporarily modify appointment reminders. For example, with COVID-19, you can include a message with every appointment reminder that reminds patients not to come in if sick. Because you can customize messages based on a patient’s need for information or a circumstance, patients will know and sense that the communication is personal, elevating their sense of engagement.

Video messages for calm, clear communication.

Sometimes a News or Blog article or email message doesn’t quite convey the tone you hope to communicate. And especially in an emergency, it’s important to get the tone right. Zingit offers the ability to send a rich media image of a video that will link patients directly to the streaming site (like Youtube) where they can watch the video. You can easily record video messages at your office from your mobile device, upload the video, and send it out to patients. In regular use, you can text patients “meet the team” videos, patient testimonials, or birthday video greetings. In emergencies, a video may be the best media to use to send complicated information. If your doctor was in an accident or ill and you want to reassure patients of his return to health, you can send a message letting them know when the doctor is okay. If your building has suffered weather-related damage and you’ve remodeled, you can give a tour when you reopen. If you want to tell patients how you are handling office cleanliness during COVID-19, you can do so.

You can’t anticipate emergencies that will affect your practice, but it’s great to have best communication practices in place when something happens. And emergencies are times of heightened anxiety and frustration—a good communication plan can ease those tensions and go even further to engage patients on a whole new level.

Are you interested in seeing how Zingit can help your practice be prepared to text all your patients with excellent communication during emergencies? Set up your demo today.

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