Keep in Touch with Members During a Health Crisis

6 Text Messages to Send Your Members to Guide Them Through COVID-19

One of the most effective ways to support your members during the COVID-19 pandemic is to communicate with them proactively and directly. They are looking for answers, and you want to make sure they get them from a knowledgeable source invested in their health and safety–YOU.

Text messaging is one of the simplest ways to achieve this. If your platform integrates with your demographic data, medical records, and compliance standards then you’re all set to automate relevant, personalized, and interactive text messages based on set criteria.

95% of American adults have a cell phone and 77% have smartphones. And one study found that response rates for text messages sent from an organization were 209% higher than phone calls. During a healthcare crisis like coronavirus (COVID-19), these numbers are likely to increase as Americans depend on their phones to get urgent news and updates, keep in touch with family and friends, complete their jobs from home, and perform any necessary functions they can without having to be in-person.

Below are six text messages you can send to your members during this time to make sure they have the information they need to make informed decisions about their healthcare.

1. Opt-in to text messaging

Example text: “Hello, [First name], [Name of the health plan] will be sending you text messages to help you better manage your care. Reply HELP for help or STOP to opt-out at any time. Msg & data rates may apply.”

The very first text your members receive from you should set expectations. Explain why you’re texting them and what they can expect from you, in this case to help them manage their health through the coronavirus health crisis. Your first message should also provide an automated way for them to opt-out.

2. Account creation

Example text: “Hi, [First name]. You can manage your care anytime, anywhere through your online member portal Click HERE to create your account.”

Automated text messages allow you to remind both new and existing members that the best way to manage their care is online. And now, more than ever, this is something that members value.

3. Mobile app promotion

Example text: “Hi, [First name]. Welcome to [Name of health plan]. As a valued member, you can use our mobile app to request an ID card, make telemedicine appointments, and more. Download the app here. [Link to app store].”

As members are using their phones to keep in touch and proactively safeguard their health, your app is likely to become one of the most useful resources that you can offer to them.

Your app provides a mobile-first experience and extends text messaging by sending members push notifications even when it’s closed. This is an important way to send supplementary materials and reiterate important messaging.

4. Appointment reminders

Example text: “Hi, [First name]. You have an appointment with [Provider] on Friday, March 22 at 4:00 PM. Please arrive 15 minutes early.”

As the COVID-19 situation continues, providers are prioritizing their time so they can care for the sick and chronically ill and protect population health. It’s more important than ever that members keep appointments or know how to communicate with their provider if they can’t.

5. Promoting Telemedicine

Example text: “Hi, [First name]. [Name of health plan] offers telemedicine as part of your insurance plan. Would you like to learn more about that service?”

Telemedicine is a timely alternative for pre-screening individuals for coronavirus and will play a key role in easing the growing burden on our healthcare system while helping minimize its spread. This is especially true for members who are increasingly concerned about attending in-person appointments, especially those who have chronic conditions that require monitoring but put them at increased risk of contracting COVID-19. While telemedicine services have never been more valuable, some members may not even know that you offer it—that’s where a text reminder comes in.

6. Emergency room utilization

Example text: “Hi, [First name]. We can help you avoid unnecessary emergency room visits. Would you like to learn more about your options?”

Unnecessary ER visits are both inefficient and expensive. They put undue strain on the healthcare system and its resources—especially during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Texts offer a simple way to educate your members about their options with important documents and FAQs, as well as information about telemedicine, PCPS, and urgent care facilities.

Texts are crucial to keeping in touch with members during a crisis

Members are looking to you to communicate vital healthcare information with them during this crisis. Texts allow you to do just that via focused messages that address their general concerns and individual needs.

If you already have text messaging implemented through your platform but would like help optimizing its capabilities please contact your Healthx Customer Experience Analyst. If you would like to add this functionality to your platform click here.

For more ways to support members during a healthcare crisis check out our blog Supporting Your Members When They Need it Most.

We also welcome you to join the conversation with us on Twitter @Healthx #bewell where we will post data and information as it becomes available.