5 Ways Pharmacies Can Use Texting to Boost Patient Engagement

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Texting with patients can help to improve pharmacy processes while creating better user experiences.

Texting with patients can help to improve pharmacy processes while creating better user experiences. Pharmacists should be using a HIPAA-compliant texting platform to protect both the pharmacy and patients.

Pharmacist texting in pharmacy to contact, email communication or reading chat with patient. | Image Credit: Rene La/peopleimages.com - stock.adobe.com

Rene La/peopleimages.com - stock.adobe.com

Get Customers to Opt-In to Receive Texts From the Pharmacy

Before a pharmacist can start texting with patients, the patient should be opted in to receive texts from the pharmacy. Make sure patients:

  • Sign up for texts at the point-of-sale system
  • Text a keyword to the pharmacy number, such as ‘WELLNESS’
  • Agree to receive texts via a contact form
  • Text the pharmacy first for customer service, or anything else

Once the patient has opted in to receive texts, pharmacists can elevate communication with them and improve relationships. Below are 5 ways pharmacies can reach patients faster and boost overall engagement through text messaging.

1. Schedule and Confirm Appointments Via Text

Booking and keeping more appointments is key to increasing the pharmacy’s revenue. Texting will help patients to book faster and send reminders to help prevent no-shows or last-minute cancellations.

Anyone who wants to schedule an appointment via text for back-to-school shots, flu vaccines, COVID-19 boosters, etc. can text the pharmacy’s number or reach out on an SMS chat widget on the pharmacy website to request a calendar link.

SMS Chat is a live chat widget for texting to add the homepage of a website so that patients can easily ask questions, schedule appointments, and more. Website visitors can start a conversation via SMS Chat, and from there, they can carry the text conversation to their phone.

The pharmacy team can figure out the individual needs of each patient. Use texting throughout the entire appointment process, including:

  • Initial booking
  • Sharing calendar links
  • Confirming appointments
  • Any important updates
  • Last minute openings

Once an appointment is set up, text patients reminders leading up to the appointment date. The patients can text to confirm or reschedule, if they need to. Texts are read and seen almost instantly, making them an effective tool for retaining appointments and improving communication between the pharmacy and patients.

2. Text Status Updates on a Patient’s New Prescriptions

Streamline pharmacy communications and create better patient experiences by texting them about their prescription status. They want to know a timeline for pick-up, so they are not waiting around, especially when they have other things to do. Keep patients in the loop with updates, including:

  • When their prescription is being reviewed, processed, or prepared for pick-up
  • Estimated wait time for their prescription processing
  • Pickup location confirmation and any necessary instructions

Include other relevant details, if possible, such as cost and instructions on how to take the medication. Encourage patients to text the pharmacy with any questions they might have, like if their medicine should be taken with food, or if it can be mixed with other medications.

3. Set Up Refills and Medication Reminders to for better Long-Term Health

It’s easy for patients to forget, especially when they’re dealing with busy schedules, chronic conditions, or a lack of symptoms. Help patients experience better health outcomes with text message reminders to refill their medications.

It also gives them a reason to frequently come back to the pharmacy for their refills, which leads to stronger loyalty and more upsell opportunities.

Schedule texts to be sent out a few days before their prescription is supposed to run out. From there, patients can text the pharmacy to let the team know whether they need their refill.

4. Use SMS Marketing to Promote Products, Discounts, and Events

Pharmacies offers more than drugs. There are new services, seasonal reminders, and product discounts that a pharmacy team might want to tell patients about—so text them.

SMS promotions are more likely to be opened and acted on, especially since 70% of individuals say texting is the fastest way to reach them.1

Send SMS promotions for:

  • Discounts and coupons
  • Seasonal promotions on select items
  • Birthday rewards for loyal patients
  • Free flu vaccination
  • Free health screenings

Time promotions with the current season to boost sales. For instance, during the summer months, text patients about deals on SPF skincare products. In the winter months, text them about the cold and flu remedies that are offer. It’s a great way to nudge patients and drive foot traffic into the store.

5. Request Patient Reviews Via Text

Reviews are valuable social proof that boosts the pharmacy’s reputation and increases visibility when individuals search for pharmacies in the area. A pharmacy needs online reviews to build trust with potential patients, and texting can help a pharmacy get more reviews.

Just send a brief text asking happy patients for a review, such as:

“[First Name], thanks for visiting us today. Reviews help us and help people find the best care. Mind leaving us one? [URL] Thank you!”

Keep pre-made text templates on hand to help pharmacies save time when reaching out to multiple patients. This is also important for keeping communications consistent across the pharmacy. Gathering reviews is essential for building a positive reputation and bringing in new patients, so make sure it’s a part of the pharmacy’s standard patient communications.

Use Texting to Improve Patient Communications

Texting helps pharmacies foster closer relationships with patients by enabling secure, personalized conversations. There is a notable difference in more kept appointments, timely prescription pick-ups, and increased foot traffic—all resulting in happier patients and a stronger business.

About the Author

Jessica Ayre is a content marketing specialist at Text Request, a business texting solution. Text Request can give you all the tools and resources you need to create a safe and successful text messaging strategy.

Reference

  1. Text Request. 2023 State of Business Texting Report. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://www.textrequest.com/ebooks/state-of-business-texting-2023
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