8 Ways Physical Therapists Text with Patients to Grow their Practice
You’re great at easing your patients’ pain and helping them recover, but it’s tough to make sure they remember appointments or recommend you to others. The problem in most cases is communication.
These days, you know that if you want to reach someone you have to text them. But did you know there are at least eight ways physical therapists like you can text patients to improve patient outcomes, create better experiences, and even increase revenue?
I’m going to show you how.
Why should physical therapists text patients?
When you think about professional communications, you need to think about (a) what people want, and (b) what’s going to be most effective. Texting normally wins because of stats like these:
- It’s the #1 preferred communication channel
- 99% of texts are read
- The average response time is only 90 seconds
- The average click-through rate is about 50% (25X higher than email)
So if you need to reach someone quickly and inspire action, text messaging patients is your best bet. Here’s how you can apply that at work.
1. Text patients to confirm appointments.
Even if their doctor prescribed physical therapy, your patient may have other priorities. Things come up, people forget, and unfortunately no-shows are common. This costs you money and creates chaos for your staff, but you can solve this problem simply by texting patients (or their caretakers) reminders about their next appointment.
For instance, you might text them the day before their session saying how excited you are to see them. E.g.:
“Hi Stephanie, looking forward to seeing you tomorrow at 10am! If anything comes up or you need to reschedule, just let me know. - Caroline @ Performance PT”
Messages like these can be sent manually as you like, or can be scheduled in advance (so you really don’t have to think about them). They’ve also shown to cut no-show rates in half!
2. Text patients encouragement to keep their spirits up.
Physical therapy is hard to get through for most people, and it can be just as mentally draining as it is physically. But if patients feel continually discouraged, they’re going to stop showing up for the help they need, and they’ll probably think poorly of your practice.
To combat this, send patients texts of encouragement. You might share:
- An inspiring quote
- A motivational picture
- A link to a video
- Or whatever’s on your heart
Encouraging texts like this have consistently shown to improve mental health, and it’s something any practice can start doing.
3. Bring in new patients through text.
Patients either know they need help and look online for a physical therapist, or they’ve had a bad experience with their current therapist and are looking for a replacement. In either case, they jump on their smartphones and search for the best option near them.
Let’s say you show up in search results. Then what? Those patients aren’t ready to schedule an appointment yet. They have questions, and they’d rather text you those questions than dig through your site or call in (texting is easier for them).
That’s one reason we created SMS Chat -- so these prospects can text you straight from your website.
An effective tactic is to add an auto-response to these inbound messages, too. That way everyone gets an instant response, even if you’re out for the evening. This also gives you an open line to the most effective way to communicate with that potential patient.
That means you’ll be able to follow-up faster than competitors, and secure the patient. All of this creates better experiences for patients while increasing your revenue.
4. Remind patients about at-home exercises.
You work with patients until they don’t need to come see you anymore, but their rehab doesn’t end there. Patients still need to do exercises at home to keep up their progress and get back to 100%. The problem is “out of sight, out of mind”—they don’t see you, and so they forget (or choose not) to do their exercises.
You can combat this to improve patient outcomes by texting patients and their caretakers reminders about exercises. For instance:
“Karen, I’m glad to see your progress! Let’s keep it up with today’s exercises:
10 wall squats
10 minutes on the bike (low resistance)
You got this! 💪”
Studies show that reminder texts like these consistently improve health outcomes, and that’s better for everyone involved. It also sets you up for point #5.
5. Text patients to increase online reviews.
90% of people turn to online reviews to inform their decisions, and 85% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family! Why is that?
Because people want to know they can trust you before they reach out, and reviews are an easy way to learn about others’ experiences. In fact, word of mouth “advertising” like this (which is usually free) brings in twice as much revenue as paid advertising.
So how can you increase online reviews? Just text your patients and ask. E.g.:
“Ally, it’s been a joy helping you get back to your normal self. Would you please share your experience with us on Google? Just follow this link google.com/reviews. Thank you so much! Reviews like this help us a ton.”
6. Text promotions and important updates.
Services are your main offer, but you also sell products to help patients recover and stay in shape. Every so often, you run discounts to encourage purchases, but do your patients know about it?
Anytime you run a sales, be sure to text patients to let them know. For example:
“Happy holidays! We’re offering 30% off our entire online store! Get the goods you need to stay in shape this season at bitly.com/ourstore”
In almost all cases, a single purchase gives you a positive return on your texting investment. That’s hard to beat—but you can also text all your patients about business milestones (like hiring a new therapist) or share company updates (like holiday hours of operation).
Anytime you need to let everyone know what’s going on, texting is a good choice.
7. Increase collections and bill pay by texting patients.
Paying medical bills is always a pain, but it’d be a lot better if you could get a notification reminding you about your bill and sharing a link to pay it online from your phone, right?
That’s exactly what texting can do. For patients, this means they don’t have to keep hold of a piece of paper or make sure they see your email. For you, it means higher collections with a shorter gap before you get paid. All it takes is a message like:
“Carl, glad we could work with you! Here’s a quick reminder to pay your bill online at physicaltherapy.com/portal. Thank you! - YourPT”
This saves you time, resources, and hassle from trying to follow up with patients to pay on time, while also increasing money in the bank. That’s a win-win!
8. Let customers text you for customer service.
Did you know patients would rather text your practice for customer service than call, email, or wait on live chat? By letting them text you for questions, appointments, and more, you create positive experiences that turn into more kept appointments, stronger referrals, and happier patients.
You can even create saved message templates so your team can quickly respond to common questions.
BONUS: Text from your office phone number.
Texting is powerful, but you probably don’t want therapists or other staff texting from a personal cell phone. With Text Request, your whole team can text from a central dashboard using your office phone number.
It’d be easy for front office staff to text from their computers, and therapists can use the mobile app as their always on the go. Everyone would be able to text from the same number, and you’d always know who said what to whom.
You can even have multiple office phone lines under one account, which is very helpful if you have multiple locations.
Want to start texting for any of the benefits listed above? Check your phone number below to see if it’s eligible for texting, and then schedule a free demo to see what Text Request can do for you!