Text messages offer an effective method for sharing appointment reminders with patients. The Ocean Platform now provides support for clinics to send Patient Reminders using text messages in addition to email.
This overview explains how you can enable text messages for your Patient Reminders, along with some additional details around capturing patient consent, and the costs involved with enabling this service.
How It Works
Ocean Patient Reminders are sent via email by default (assuming a valid email address is available for the patient). For reminders scheduled before an appointment, you can now also enable a text message that will be sent to the patient on the same date as the email reminder. Ocean will send text messages to the mobile phone listed in the patient's chart.
Reminders will appear in the following formats:
Please note that you can edit your organization's name in the Admin page under the Organization tab. A record of patients that were sent a text reminder are available from the download log found on the Patient Reminders landing page.
SMS Text Message Consent
The first time that a reminder rule is configured to send via text messages, an acknowledgement statement will be displayed reminding your site of the additional cost for text message reminders and to collect consent. Patients may not have considered that you would use their cell phone number to send a text message at the time they provided it to your clinic. Although the text message does not contain personal health information (PHI), the phone number itself is a personal identifier.
It is therefore important that you consider your approach to capturing consent from your patients before sending them text messages. Clinics should follow standard industry consent protocols for sending text messages to their patients. Note that patients can easily opt out of receiving text messages.
Patients that cannot be sent a text message because they are on the opt-out list will not generate a per message charge.
Costs Associated with Text Message Reminders
Text message reminders is an optional feature of Patient Reminders. Each text message will be charged on a per message basis (in addition to the monthly Patient Reminders license). The first time that a reminder rule is configured to use text messages, a pop-up will be displayed confirming that you are aware of the additional fee. Selecting "I accept" will confirm your acknowledgement of the additional cost for your site and any subsequent use of text messages for reminders. You can only proceed to use this feature once your acknowledgement has been collected. You can review the number of text messages sent and associated costs at any time in the Billing section within the Admin view.