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Healthcare SMS: What Metrics to Track in Your 2-Way SMS

Author: Ravi Kalidindi
Healthcare professional using SMS on a smartphone to communicate with patients, illustrating efficient sms healthcare.

Any successful healthcare practice understands the importance of effective communication. That’s why Simple Interact’s 2-Way SMS Chat has quickly become a favorite among healthcare staff looking to streamline communication with patients.

As we discussed in our previous blog post, 2-Way SMS Chat is a purpose-made tool for healthcare organizations that enables increased patient satisfaction, staff efficiency, and new appointment conversion rates. 

If your practice is using 2-Way SMS Chat, you’re already on the path to improvement. But how do you know it’s making a difference? Knowing what to track with 2-Way SMS is just as important as implementing it in the first place. 

Why Use 2-Way SMS Chat in Healthcare?

More Effective and Efficient Communication 

One of the main benefits of 2-Way SMS Chat for healthcare facilities is improved communication.

Both patients and staff know the frustrations that come with medical phone systems — long hold times, endless phone tag, abandoned calls, etc. 2-Way SMS Chat circumvents all these difficulties. 

By enabling staff and patients to chat back and forth, 2-Way SMS increases communication efficacy. Staff can use a shared dashboard to get information to and from patients more effectively, no longer having to waste time chasing down data and playing phone tag. Plus, patients can ask questions and get responses in a timely and convenient manner.

When used correctly, 2-Way SMS Chat saves both time, money, and frustration for healthcare facilities. But you’ll only know it’s working if you track its metrics.

The Importance of Tracking Metrics

Implementing 2-Way SMS is one thing, but making sure it achieves the desired results is another. 

If you have a reasonably sized practice, you likely assign different types of communication to different staff members (billing, scheduling, surgical scheduling, etc.). From a management perspective, it’s important to track when and whether each task gets completed, how long it takes each staff member, and whether 2-Way SMS actually decreases the time spent. 

What Happens if You Don’t Track Metrics?

Reduced ROI

You likely already pay for a phone service for your business, and 2-Way SMS is another expense. It’s important to check that the SMS system is being used correctly to avoid wasted investment.

Decreased Staff Productivity

When you implement 2-Way SMS Chat, you want to make sure it actually boosts staff productivity. If it doesn’t replace some of your staff’s workload, then you’re just adding another system to their plate and potentially overwhelming them. If you don’t measure, then you don’t know whether the tool helps or hinders.

Lack of Accountability

No technology, especially when used incorrectly, magically fixes all business problems. To get the most out of 2-Way SMS Chat, you have to track its effectiveness and hold staff accountable for whether they perform their tasks correctly and efficiently. This also allows you to incentivize staff to optimize their use of the system. 

Quote Card: Healthcare SMS

Which Healthcare SMS Metrics to Track

If something is worth implementing, it’s worth tracking. Otherwise, you have no data to tell you whether your investment is paying off and where to make adjustments if needed.

There are two types of reporting associated with 2-Way SMS Chat: Past Period Performance and Real-Time Observations. You’ll want to track metrics in both categories:

Past Period Performance

Past Period Performance looks at metrics from the previous month so you can analyze your staff’s performance since that time.

Average Resolution Time

The first piece of Past Period Performance to track is the amount of time it takes to resolve patient requests. (It’s useful to view resolution time both for the entire staff and individual staff members.)

For instance, a patient may make an online request for SMS chat about scheduling surgery. How long does it take to resolve that request from the time the patient initiates it? 

Another example: When a patient calls in with a billing question, the automated answering system may provide the option of converting the phone call to SMS chat. How long does it take your team to resolve the patient’s question from the time the call converts to SMS?

Tracking average resolution time allows you to see whether your staff responds to patient requests in a timely manner and how long patients wait for their issues to be resolved. By reviewing this data, you not only gauge overall staff performance but also identify specific team members who need more training. 

Number of Closed Tasks

Whether it’s a billing question, refill request, or scheduling inquiry, you can track how many tasks are being closed in a month, both on team-wide and individual levels. If you discover an issue with task closure, you can investigate the source and provide more training, more resources, or another solution to address the issue.

Traffic Analysis

Another key metric to track is the traffic to your SMS system for any given day and time. For instance, are Mondays your busiest days? Do requests peak at a certain time each month? Are mornings busier than afternoons? 

This information will help you make more informed scheduling decisions for SMS. For example, you may need more temps in the billing department on Monday mornings if you typically get the most SMS billing requests at that time.

Real-Time Observations

Instead of looking at past metrics over time, real-time observations provide insight into the current state of your system’s efficiency by looking at SMS requests happening now.

Total Open Conversations

Total open conversations means the number of open, unresolved requests in your system’s queue. You can filter these requests by their status, such as “awaiting staff response” or “awaiting patient response.”

If you find several open tasks awaiting a staff response, you can dive deeper to discover the reason. Maybe one staff member has 20 open conversations assigned to them. Why? Are they just falling down on the job, or are they receiving too many requests to handle? By investigating the cause, you can provide a solution.

Infographic: Healthcare SMS

Healthcare SMS vs. Phone Systems

Tracking a few additional metrics will help you ensure your healthcare facility’s SMS system actually achieves the goal of decreasing patient reliance on phone calls.

Comparing your current and past phone data will help you understand your SMS system’s effectiveness. Consider analyzing:

  • Phone abandonment rates
  • Phone wait times
  • General phone traffic

These metrics will tell you whether patients are using SMS for their healthcare communication. Once you know them, you can develop additional strategies to reduce phone traffic and migrate more communication to SMS messaging.

Choosing a Healthcare SMS System

There are plenty of SMS systems healthcare organizations can choose from, but you’ll get the most out of a system that aligns with your needs and provides clear and actionable tracking data.

Simple Interact’s 2-Way SMS Chat creates simple and accessible reports that let you track metrics over time, allowing you to measure efficiency and ensure you get the best return on your investment while meeting your goals. If you’re interested in learning more about 2-Way SMS Chat, contact us for a demo!

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