28 May 2020
While the outbreak of COVID-19 has put the healthcare system under tremendous pressure, GPs, small medical practices, and the allied healthcare providers find themselves facing a decline in the number of patients and revenue loss as COVID-19 fears have driven patients to avoid doctors.
A survey on GPs revealed that about half of the respondents had lost more than 30% of their revenue; while patient numbers saw a major drop by more than 50% (source). Not only will this put these medical practices on the brink of collapse, it is also going to affect the overall healthcare system as we rely on these practices to deliver primary healthcare to the general public.
Meanwhile, between 30% to 40% of private and community pathology testings, ranging from cancer screenings, diabetes and asthma check-ups, are not being done due to people not visiting their medical practitioners (source), prompting experts’ concerns of a potential wave of severe non COVID-19 illness down the track.
As the saying goes, the antidote to fear is education. It is important for the primary healthcare providers to reach out to their patients and educate them on the importance of keeping up with their normal check ups. But how to get patients’ attention? We think the various mobile messaging apps are the best shot and our new Omnichannel Chat solution can help.
Why mobile messaging apps?
A 2020 research indicated that 81% of Australian internet users are using mobile messaging apps, an 11% increase from the previous year (source).
During the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers also found that customers have increasingly turned to texting for customer services, with support tickets coming in over WhatsApp spiked over 100%, while chat and text messaging also saw significant gains of 34% and 30% respectively since late February (source). 62% of consumers also admitted that they are responding more quickly to texts since the outbreak began (source).
No wonder from the Australian government WhatsApp channel for COVID-19 to the NSW Health SMS bot, we are seeing a surge on the use of mobile messaging channels for healthcare purposes.
Our new Omnichannel Chat solution provides healthcare providers an easy avenue to tap into these mobile messaging channels.
What are the benefits of Omnichannel Chat?
The biggest advantage of using Studio Chat for small medical practices is probably the fact that it enables your staff to handle multiple two way conversations simultaneously. With a limited number of admin staff, medical practices often face the challenge of overwhelming incoming phone calls, leaving patients either on hold or having to direct them to voicemail.
Instead of only being able to have a conversation with one patient per phone line, Omnichannel Chat enables your staff to send out appointment reminders, take bookings, answer queries with multiple patients all at the same time.
Omnichannel Chat also enables you to have two way communications with your customers on any text-based channels of their choice – whether it is via SMS, WhatsApp or RCS; allowing you to have multiple channels of communications in one conversation. Your customers can use a different channel every time and you will still be able to view all the conversation history and respond to them within a single workspace, giving both your customers and your staff a seamless transition between channels.
Omnichannel Chat supports rich content, meaning that you can send PDFs, images, videos or SMS Landing Pages in the chat sessions. Once you’ve created these templates in the Messaging Studio platform, you’d be able to use them in chat. That means you can send your new policy file in PDF format when answering queries, or send an SMS Landing Page as an appointment reminder to give customers an enriched experience.
What are the use cases for Omnichannel Chat?
There are many ways Studio Chat can help your practices. Here are some examples:
- Delivering healthcare advice
- Managing appointments
- Emergency notifications
- Medication administration reminders
- Health check ups reminders
- Sending out pre-appointment checklists
- Answering queries
- Managing chronic health conditions
- Delivering educational information
- Post appointment follow ups
- Providing mental health support
- Communication with staff members
If you’d like to start using Omnichannel Chat to engage your patients, please get in touch at 1300 764 946 or firstname.lastname@example.org, we’d be happy to help.