5 ways to text your dental patients

Dental patients appreciate that their dentist reaches out to them in an easy way they know and like. Texting is a popular and effective way to reach patients.

Jun 22nd, 2019
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It’s 2019 and most people are texting. This includes your patients. Texting is a much more personal communication tool, and it’s convenient. Because of this, it should be no surprise that text messages have a 98% open rate.

As a dentist, are you effectively using text messaging? If not, you definitely should be. But how can you incorporate text messaging into your practice? Here are five ways you can use texting to improve your patients’ experience. 

Dental appointment reminder text

An easy and convenient way to engage patients is to send a text about their next visit. A dental appointment reminder text can do a lot for your practice. For one, patients will see your practice as more modern. Additionally, text message reminders help patients who may have forgotten their appointment details. Text reminders can have a positive effect on your practice by reducing no-shows. If you add a confirmation component to the text, you can really increase your scheduling efficiency. 

Text message reschedule

After sending a text message reminder to a patient, and the person still misses the appointment, now what? The simple solution is to text the person again. If you have a no-show or cancellation, why not text the patient to reschedule the appointment right then and there? Sending a text message is a simple way to get patients back on your schedule. 

To get better patient engagement, make sure you provide a simple way for patients to reschedule. Imagine this: your patient gets a text and is asked to call your office to reschedule. Now imagine: your patient gets a text and can click a link in that text to immediately reschedule. The second option provides a simple way to reschedule patients and is easier than ever with modern software. 

Post-op care text

You texted your patient about his or her visit and now you’ve seen the person, so what’s next? Most dentists will verbally share some post-op care instructions. If you really want to make sure your patient follows through, maybe you’ll even write the person a note or send an email. However, a text message is often more effective. 

Here’s the scenario: your patient just had an extraction and there are a variety of instructions you’d like to share, many that must be followed with varying time frames. A text (or two) could prove to be an effective way of making sure the patient is taking the right steps to ensure a timely recovery. 

Text billing

Text your patients their bills. You’re already texting them to confirm their appointments and post-op care. Texting patients their invoices is effective and convenient. Remember, text messages have a 98% open rate. This means patients are much more likely to read your texts than an email or something they receive in the mail. 

Additionally, there is now software with the ability to collect payment via a text message. With text message open rates and online billing, you should see an increase in timely payments. 

Two-way messaging

Patients demand more than ever from their health-care providers. Great dental care is not enough. Patients want a great end-to-end experience when they see you, and if there are any mishaps, they can be quite vocal about it across social media. One way to go above and beyond and ensure that your patients have a great experience is to offer a two-way text messaging platform. 

Maybe a patient has a simple question about his or her upcoming procedure. Or maybe they want to know if they can drink red wine two days after a whitening. Whatever the case may be, giving your patients the ability to text with your office is a great, patient-focused offering that you should be using in order to give your patients the best experience possible. 

Final considerations

From appointments to invoices, there are numerous ways that you can incorporate texting into your practice. However, there is one caveat—proceed at caution. Using your personal cell phone to text patients could become exhausting with constant notifications. To solve this problem, invest in an office cell phone that your office staff maintains, or use an online tool such as Google Voice to text from your office computer. 

Let me share one last tip—automate your texts. Many of the messages could follow a template and timing (e.g., appointment confirmation two days in advance). So, automate the text message with a software platform. Many dental practices are partnering with software companies such as NexHealth to send custom texts to patients about appointments, billing, and more. Remember, everyone texts, including your patients.

Alamin Uddin is the CEO and cofounder of NexHealth, a software company empowering doctors to run thriving businesses with modern features such as real-time online booking, text message billing, communication, and more. To learn more about NexHealth, email hello@nexhealth.com or call (888) 875-0851 to speak with Alamin or another member of the NexHealth team.


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