What is a text message patient reminder?
A text message reminder will send out a text message to the cell phone number (or any phone capable of receiving text messages) that you specify when setting up the text message reminder to remind the patient/client of the appointment that you have scheduled for them in your Therabill calendar. There are two forms of text message reminders, a free version (Standard) and a paid version (Express). In addition to text message reminders, Therabill offers email reminders and phone reminders.
IMPORTANT: Same day text message reminders are sent out approximately 2 hours prior to the start time of the session in Therabill. All other text messages are batched and sent by Therabill at 11:00 AM Central Standard Time. The sessions must be scheduled prior to these timeframes for the reminder to be sent.
Free Version - Standard Text Messages
There is no charge for sending standard text message reminders. However, there are some things to keep in mind about the free standard version.
- You will need to know the phone carrier (i.e. T-Mobile or Verizon) for the cell phone number that you will be sending the text messages to. If you do not enter the correct phone carrier, the message will not be received and there will be no indicator to let you know that the text messages are not being received.
- Some phone carriers will only try to send the message once. If the cell phone is off, the message can't be sent, and they may not receive the text message (depending on the phone carrier).
- Therabill cannot guarantee or check on the delivery of the text message. This free version requires the phone carrier to delivers the text message. There are various reasons why a phone carrier will not be able to deliver the text message. If you are looking for a more robust option, you may want to consider the paid version of text messages which go through an SMS gateway.
Paid Version - Express Text Messages
The paid version goes through an SMS gateway. This delivery method is the same as if you were to send them a text message from your cell phone. As mentioned, Therabill routes these through a third-party SMS gateway. Therabill incurs a charge for each text message sent and this charge is passed on to the Therabill member. For current pricing, follow the instructions below. The pricing is posted on the form that you use to set up text message reminders.
What exactly does the text message say?
When your clients receive a text message reminder, they will see your clinic's name, date, and time of their appointment. Below is an example of the message they will receive.
[Your Clinic Name] would like to remind you of your upcoming appointment on [appointment date] at [appointment time].
How to set up text message reminders for a patient.
Text message patient reminders are set up through the reminders form for the client. Click Clients in the top navigation bar of Therabill. In your client list, find the client that you would like to create a reminder for and click the Client Tools associated with that client. In the menu that appears, click on Reminders.
You will now see the client reminders form for that client. To set up a text message reminder, enter the parameters as described below.
- Enter the number of days prior to a date of service that you would like the text message to be sent out (i.e. enter 2 to make it read Send 2 day(s) before a scheduled session, to have a text message sent two days prior to any date of service for that patient that you have scheduled in Therabill). Enter 0 as the number of days to send out a same day reminder. NOTE: When entering a same day text message reminder, the text message will be sent 2 hours prior to the scheduled time of the appointment.
- Change Delivery Method to either Standard (Free) Text Message or Express (Not Free) Text Message using the drop-down4 menu highlighted by the red arrow in the image to the right. See the first section of this article (What is a text message reminder) for the difference between standard and free.
- If you choose the Standard version (not required for Express version), you must choose the cell phone carrier. This is the phone carrier of the person that you are sending the message to. If you do not enter this correctly, the patient will not receive the text message and there will be no indicator to you that they have not received the text message.
- Enter the phone number that you want Therabill to send the reminder to. This must be a phone number capable of receiving text messages. There is no way for Therabill to know if a phone number is capable of receiving text messages (i.e. a cell phone number).
- Click the Submit button at the bottom of the form to create the reminder.
You can create multiple reminders
You can create as many reminders for a patient as you wish simply by using the Add New Reminder form to create a new reminder. You can mix and match email, text, and phone reminders. For example, you can have Therabill send out an e-mail reminder 7 days prior to a session, send out a phone reminder 2 days prior to a session, and then send out a text message on the same day as the session. Please keep in mind that sending out too many reminders may frustrate patients.
Therabill will not send out reminders for sessions that have already been patient confirmed or patient cancelled. Therefore, if you have multiple reminders set up for the patient. If they confirm or cancel during any of the reminders, then subsequent reminders for that session will be ignored.