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How software companies are helping the healthcare industry (and patients) with SMS

George Perry George Perry
George Perry
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Image for a blog about SMS in healthcare with Yosi Health

We’ve talked about why SMS is a great channel for healthcare providers at every level to interact with their patients. This was true before COVID-19 upended our lives and made the prospect of leaving our homes, even for a much needed doctor’s appointment, something that required planning and worry. In a post-COVID world, mitigating risks and minimizing contact is a must. 

Fortunately, software companies are stepping up and leveraging technology like SMS to provide a better, safer experience for patients and healthcare providers alike.

In the before-times

Before COVID-19 upended our lives, healthcare providers leveraged platforms like Yosi Health to facilitate pre-visit communications over SMS. This included reminders for the appointment date and time, as well as that payment would be due at time of service. These communications helped patients to keep appointments, which in turn helped providers keep from losing money, but as the world shifted, other types of communications were needed.

Communicating with patients in a COVID world

It’s fair to say that COVID-19 disrupted the healthcare industry much as it disrupted all service-based industries. But, unlike going out to dinner or shopping at the mall (all of which we miss), visiting the doctor often isn’t an optional task for many patients. Fortunately, software companies like Yosi Health have been able to provide patients and providers with the connections they needed to make visiting the doctor as low-stress as possible, especially in these stressful times.

Who is Yosi Health?

Yosi Health is a pre-arrival focused, 5-star rated, digital patient scheduling, registration, payment, and communication solution designed for busy care centers, clinics and their waiting rooms. The Yosi Health platform allows for real-time self scheduling and reminders for patients, helping to reduce no-shows and allowing providers to optimize their schedules, while increasing patient side payment collection. Additionally, the platform allows for easier online reputation management, ensuring patients are able to leave feedback and that providers can follow up with any issues that may have come up. Learn more about Yosi Health.

“After using Yosi, our no-show rate has decreased 75% and our confirmation rate is up to over 60%. We went from having 10 no-shows a week to 0-2. It is saving us thousands of dollars a day.”

—Dr. Clifford Bassett, Founder and Medical Director, Allergy and Asthma Care of New York

Pre-visit communications

Before COVID-19, getting a text reminder about your upcoming appointment wasn’t uncommon. Now it’s essential. Not only does this ensure that patients come to their appointments, but pre-visit communications allow providers to minimize contact by having patients take on certain tasks ahead of time.

Paperwork & payments

Yosi Health uses Bandwidth-powered SMS communication to engage patients successfully at home to complete their registration paperwork. Yosi eliminates the need to fill out forms at the doctor’s office with the use of SMS communication to power its web-enabled, pre-arrival patient intake system. 

By getting patients to use the system at home, Yosi Health eliminates the wait time in the office, improves operational and financial outcomes for clinics, and most importantly, creates a safe space for both patients and providers. 

Pre-arrival reminders

In addition to reminding patients about when their appointment is, SMS communications are now being used to remind them about new procedures related to COVID-19. This includes reminders to wear a mask, not to bring unnecessary visitors, and even which entrance they should use when coming in for their appointment.

“Being able to send out pre-arrival reminders isn’t just about cutting back on no-shows, it’s about creating a safer patient, and provider experience. With COVID19 still impacting how we interact with each other, being able to share vital information with patients before they arrive about the need to have a mask, visitor’s policy, or that they’ll be required to submit to a temperature check etc, educates and eliminates a lot of confusion for patients”

—Hari Prasad, CEO Yosi Health

By leveraging SMS through a platform like Yosi Health, healthcare providers can create a better, safer experience for both their patients and their workers.

Virtual waiting rooms

Nobody in all of recorded history has ever liked sitting in a waiting room. With COVID-19 and an increased focus on social distancing, that’s never been more true. Virtual waiting rooms are the solution.

Yosi Health and other software companies are leveraging SMS technology to allow for remote patient intake. This allows a patient to let the provider know they’ve arrived from the comfort (and distance) of their own vehicle. The provider can, in turn, reply with information on how and when to enter the office.

This limits the number of people entering the building, cutting the chance of exposure for both patients and workers by minimizing unnecessary contact.

At-home assessments

Limiting exposure at the doctor’s office isn’t just about when you have to visit—it also means eliminating unnecessary trips. At-home assessments allow doctors to do just that, creating a better, safer experience for patients.

Yosi Health allows providers to conduct at-home assessments of patients. This enables doctors, outpatient providers, and specialists to determine whether an in-person visit is warranted. Sending a link to the Yosi Health web application over SMS allows the doctor to conduct the assessment without the patient having to install an app on their phone, all while still ensuring any personal information is secured.

“Switching to Yosi has been one of the best decisions I have made for my practice. It has been a game changer! No longer are patients taking 20 min to fill out paperwork in my waiting room, then running me behind 20 min from the get-go. Since we have implemented Yosi, the average time for my patients from walking in the door of the office to me walking in to see them is 6 minutes!!! My patients are loving this and as we all know, happy patients make a healthy practice!” —Dr. April Tillery

Creating benefits for patients and providers

Healthcare providers moving to platforms like Yosi Health are seeing benefits that will extend far beyond when we return to any semblance of “normal”. Both operational costs and patient experience are improved by leveraging the SMS technology we’re all familiar with.

Limiting unnecessary contact

Social distancing is a key aspect of limiting the spread of COVID-19, but the need to separate patients and limit their contact goes beyond this one disease. On top of that, patients with compromised immune systems can benefit from a platform like Yosi Health that enables them to eliminate unnecessary trips to the doctor, or allows them to limit their exposure to other patients by checking in from their vehicle on their own device and eliminating the need to wait in a crowded waiting room.

“Yosi has been promoting social distancing well before COVID. By successfully engaging patients prior to their visit, Yosi eliminates the unnecessary contact with clipboards, kiosks, and tablet surfaces which are a source of contagion. More importantly we eliminate the wait time for patients and by conducting the COVID screening & symptom checker at home, we make it safe for our frontline workers.”

—Hari Prasad, CEO Yosi Health

Lower operational costs

For larger providers in particular, a platform that enables them to utilize SMS allows for lower operating costs. Instead of each call having to be managed by a different person, one point of contact can handle several conversations over SMS and the patient platform. 

Additionally, for larger healthcare systems, simple one-way communication like appointment reminders and pre-visit notifications (like reminders to wear a mask) can be automated and sent from a central system, eliminating the need for each location to manage their general notifications, allowing them to spend more time one-on-one with patients.

“The Yosi team is extraordinarily responsive and they allowed us to customize every aspect of our patient engagement including SMS content, timing of reminders, and patient registration forms. They worked rapidly to establish an interface with our EHR.”

—Dr. Joshua Merok – Associate Medical Director, Michigan Avenue Primary Care

Yosi Health turns to Bandwidth for their communications needs

Yosi Health is a great example of a platform that was already helping healthcare providers and has used COVID-19 as an inflection point to help innovate how healthcare providers and patients interact in a safe, meaningful way.

One of Yosi Health’s defining features is their ability to white label their services to healthcare providers. This ensures that patients have a seamless experience with their provider. To do this, Yosi Health needed a communications provider that could enable them to work with their customers seamlessly. 

Bandwidth’s messaging APIs allowed for that. Yosi Health was able to give healthcare providers access to local and toll-free numbers, all powered by Bandwidth. This not only gave Yosi Health the reliable communications partner they were looking for, but allowed them to work with larger providers across the country, leveraging Bandwidth’s reach and relationships with the carriers to offer their customers a better experience.

“Bandwidth has been a key partner for us,” said Hari Prasad, CEO, Yosi Health. “Their APIs gave us the flexibility we needed, and their support has been exceptional—any question or request we make is quickly answered and resolved.”

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