Senior Director of Product & Engineering, Solutionreach
Solutionreach partners with Bandwidth to bring secure messaging in healthcare
What Solutionreach enables
The ability to easily and reliably connect with patients has been an ongoing headache for healthcare providers for years. Whether it’s confirming appointments, sending results, or reaching out to schedule an appointment, managing patient communication can be nearly a full-time job for office managers. This is on top of their other responsibilities!
Solutionreach enables office managers to hand off those tasks. Instead of having to call patients with appointment reminders, to notify them of their test results, or process intake ahead of an appointment, Solutionreach takes that over, using modern communication technology like SMS to reach out to patients as needed. And the best part? It allows for custom communications.
Thousands of providers use Solutionreach to customize the types and frequency of messages they send every day. They are able to send messages based on their own unique needs and how their particular patients respond best. And, unlike other PRM platforms, they aren’t limited to just sending out reminders for appointments that have already been scheduled. Instead, they’re able to help providers to schedule new appointments as well.
Using their recare platform, Solutionreach customers can do smart outreach—like finding patients that haven’t been in for a regular appointment in a set amount of time and encouraging them to call and schedule or go online to schedule an appointment—helping to fill up the schedules for the providers. This not only helps to improve revenue but also productivity, as it allows the provider’s office manager to focus on growing the practice and not chasing down patients to fill appointment slots. Note: Customers looking to partner with Bandwidth to create a similar solution on their platform will need to make sure they are obtaining proper consent.
“The cool thing is that we can customize the schedules for outreach and appointment reminders,” said Mary Jane Isaacs, senior director of product & engineering at Solutionreach. “For your eye doctor it may be once a year, for your dentist twice a year, but for some practices, and for some patients, it may be we’re reaching out a few times a month. It’s enabling us to continue our purpose of transforming healthcare through communications.”
These abilities have helped Solutionreach retain customers in a business that is quickly being commoditized, especially in areas like dental and vision. But, with increased demand from their providers for their services, Solutionreach realized that their previous messaging provider couldn’t support their growing needs, pushing Solutionreach to seek out a new provider. While a hunt for better rates to help manage costs was the original driver, in Bandwidth they found a partner that completely changed how they looked at messaging.
Bridging the information gap
While Solutionreach initially connected with Bandwidth in search of better rates than their previous provider was giving them, conversations with our team quickly revealed two big information gaps for them: understanding of the kind of message delivery rates they were seeing, and how the CTIA guidelines and carrier rules were impacting their messaging strategy.
Solutionreach’s previous solution was a black box—there was no transparency into whether messages were being delivered, the rates at which they were being delivered, and what Solutionreach (and their users) could be doing to improve those delivery rates. They, and their users, were spending money on messaging without insights into whether they were getting a return on that investment.
On top of that, Solutionreach was lacking education about the changing guidelines from the CTIA and how the carriers were separately implementing them. This was leading to blocked messages, of particular importance to Solutionreach given the often time-sensitive nature of the messages, they were sending, such as COVID-19 results.
“As time went on, we started to feel discomfort like ‘Oh, there’s a problem, a carrier is blocking something. What does that even mean? We started to realize really quickly that we didn’t have a lot of depth there,” added Mary Jane.
These dual problems were costing Solutionreach and their customers money since you pay for every message you send, not every message that’s delivered, but they posed an additional future problem for Solutionreach: lower customer retention resulting in lower revenue. They needed a partner to provide them with insights and education to give their users a better messaging experience and to help them retain those customers.
Getting up to speed on current messaging guidelines and gaining insights
While Solutionreach’s initial RFP was about lowering their costs as they looked to ramp their messaging output, it was Bandwidth’s team that caused them to start questioning what they knew, and what they didn’t know, about the messaging landscape.
“Your team comes out, and I remember sitting in those meetings thinking ‘I understand what we’re doing, I understand the technology, I understand the integration’,” Mary Jane Isaacs said. “And then there was talk about carriers and markets and I was like ‘I don’t know how much of this I should be worried about.”
It took time, but over the course of migrating and integrating Solutionreach into Bandwidth, we continued to push and have conversations around deliverability, content, and messages.
“I remember turning to Bandwidth and saying ‘C’mon guys, our previous provider lets us use public URL shorteners. Why are you blocking them?’ And it was the perfect example of learning where it’s not Bandwidth that doesn’t like them, but the carriers, and they [Bandwidth] know that if they take in these links they’re not going to get good delivery rates for us. And I realized that we never even had that conversation with our previous provider, and now, because of these conversations, we’re understanding how we need to change our messages,” explained Mary Jane.
These conversations, and the education that followed, didn’t just benefit Solutionreach. It also gave them the ability to educate their users, empowering them to address and solve their problems faster. This helped build up their users’ confidence in them and the solution they were providing.
Deeper insights + better deliverability = evolving healthcare communications
Before coming to Bandwidth, Solutionreach didn’t know what their message deliverability rates were with their previous provider, and because of that, they didn’t know the steps to take to improve their delivery.
“With our previous provider, we had no insight into message deliverability. Since coming to Bandwidth, we understand that the decisions we make about messages have an impact on their delivery,” said Mary Jane. “You address any issues we raise about message delivery quickly, working with carriers in the event of false blocks.”
Ultimately, message deliverability is what’s key to Solutionreach. While they didn’t know what rates they were getting before Solutionreach knew that deliverability varied amongst their customers, but didn’t know which customers had low rates. In the year since working with Bandwidth, they’ve seen regular delivery rates of 95%+ across all carriers and have a better understanding of what’s within their reach.
Said Mary Jane “At first, when we were getting up to speed, I was like ‘let’s get to high 90%.’ There are always going to be messages that can’t be delivered, but I thought that would be good. Now I feel like we can get to 98%, but I know that if we can hit 95% consistently across the carriers that’s phenomenal, especially with 10DLC, and with toll-free, I think we can get even higher.”
While education for Solutionreach and their users has had a big impact on their delivery rates, Bandwidth’s team of dedicated experts has also had an impact. Our ability to provide insights for Solutionreach and their customers enables us to look at numbers and provide real-time feedback on delivery rates.
“I’ll reach out to our Account Manager and say ‘please look into an issue we’re having with these numbers and I don’t know what they do, but they’re like ‘Roger, roger Mary Jane’ and then the deliverability goes up,” Mary Jane joked.
The volatility in the messaging market has impacted how Solutionreach does business and their plans for the future. As businesses increasingly turn to text messaging as a way to connect with their customers, the carriers are using their positions as the gatekeepers to this channel as a way to monetize something that we all take for granted. Over the last several years the carriers have rolled out new rules and fees around application-to-person (A2P) messaging, causing businesses like Solutionreach to see their bills skyrocket because of these fees.
Between Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, the pass-through carrier fees on toll-free and local messaging fully 65% of Solutionreach’s monthly spend goes to cover these costs. That means lower margins and a need to increase the rates they’re charging their customers to account for these increasing costs.
“This is incredibly important for us,” said Mary Jane about these fees and their impact on Solutionreach’s business. “As things become more expensive we’re going to have to enrich our products, add more value, make people feel like they’re getting more. We can’t just say ‘Oh, the same thing you’re getting costs more now.’”
Still, even with these new hurdles from the carriers, Solutionreach is optimistic about the future and their partnership with Bandwidth.
“Don’t stop over-communicating,” said Mary Jane when asked about the future and what she would like to see more of from Bandwidth. “Retention [of customers] is big and will continue to be an area of focus since our market has become so commoditized. Proactively sending information, and keeping us educated about changes to messaging gives us an advantage over the competition. I always visit your website for the latest news and updates, and I love that your team is always sending us updates directly. Don’t stop doing that.”
As Solutionreach looks to move into new markets, such as telehealth and care management, the insights that Bandwidth can provide into their messaging are crucial to their decision-making.
“One of the biggest differentiators we have with Solutionreach going into medical is our ability to plug into all of your complex systems and send messages at the right time. And we have to ask ‘how many systems do you have? How many different ways do we need to integrate? How do we not cross wires?’,” Mary Jane added. “That is our future. That’s what we’re excited about.”