Why your medical practice needs HIPAA-compliant messaging

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Many healthcare practices could benefit from HIPAA-compliant messaging that makes life easier for patients and staff. Too many practices are burdened with phone-only systems, making people wait on hold and causing delays that could cost business. In fact, 88 percent of appointments are still scheduled via landline, even today.

Messaging, rather than dealing with email or landline communications, can expedite appointment management, decrease no-shows, save your practice money, and bring in more business overall.

Here are some of the best reasons medical practices benefit from HIPAA-compliant messaging:

You need to retain more patients

Keeping the relationship strong between your practice and patients can not only build loyalty but it can actually earn you more long-term revenue. In fact, it can cost up to eight times more to attract a new patient than to keep an existing one.

Just a small bump in customer retention can have a lasting impact. A 5 percent increase in customer retention can lead to a 25 to 100 percent increase in overall lifetime value. That means more long-term revenue for your practice, without having to bring in new patients.

To do that, you need to communicate better

The problem is that many medical practices don’t have the right communication tools to help them retain their patients effectively. Imagine you’re a new patient following up on an appointment, and you have to wait on hold during a busy workday or are forced to leave a voicemail and wait for a call-back. You might not want to continue to visit that particular practice anymore and might search for a new one.

For health matters, it’s important to give your existing patients clear channels of communication so you can reach them and, more importantly, they can reach you when they need to. It’s a shame, but many medical practices lose up to two-thirds of their first-time patients thanks to poor communication.

Hiccups like these are caused by too much time spent on hold or the lag time between emails. And these hiccups in communication often lead patients to look elsewhere for their medical needs. Though medical practitioners provide a specialized service, patients, just like the customers of any other business, are prone to prioritize convenience.

Communication comes with challenges

Email is too slow, and making your patients wait on hold is increasingly losing medical practices money. Unhappy patients are leaving in the name of convenience.

But just because you want to communicate better with your patients doesn’t mean it’s easy to do. There are compliance issues with sensitive medical information. You can’t just choose any messaging service to make contact more convenient. So, how do you communicate conveniently but still stay HIPAA compliant?

The best place to start is to seek out a HIPAA-compliant messaging platform that will help you reduce appointment no-shows and increase loyalty between your practice and your patients.

But how do you find it? It’s true that HIPAA-compliant messaging is not universal. Not every messaging platform will offer the level of information security you need. But there are platforms out there that allow you to send text messages with patients strictly within HIPAA compliance. That means you can give your patients an easy way to contact your practice, cut down on inconvenience, and generally build up the lifetime value of each patient—all completely compliantly.

How to find HIPAA-compliant messaging

If you don’t know where to begin when it comes to HIPAA-compliant messaging, start by going back to the basic requirement of HIPAA: secure data. While seeking out the convenience of including messaging in your practice’s communications, you also need to prioritize data encryption, tiered access to protected information, and a double opt-in to protect your patients and your practice.

Avochato is a fully HIPAA-compliant text messaging platform for healthcare teams. Messaging data is always encrypted and securely stored. Information is only accessible to authorized individuals, and enterprise audit logs show who accessed what and when.

Learn more about Avochato’s HIPAA-compliant messaging platform.

Here are some more articles we think you might be interested in:

Guide for text messaging in healthcare

6 text message templates for doctors and healthcare providers

How to send HIPAA-compliant text messages