Using the Text Button on the Patient Queue Screen
Technical Level: Easy
Upon confirmation of an online registration, a text button will appear to the far right of the patient line. This text button is not a text field; rather, it is a button which will display a modal showing the SMS text history between the clinic and the patient. As the visit draws near, the history grows to show reminder messages, requests from the patient for status updates or registration cancellation, and, if necessary, late warnings and even removal notifications. This can sometimes be useful if a late patient claims he/she did not receive the reminders or warnings, but, presented with the SMS trail, their memory usually returns.
The text modal also allows for the sending of SMS texts from the staff to the patient. Although two-way communication IS possible, and a reply from a patient will display a red exclamation point next to the text button, care should be given in setting the expectation that staff can/will see the reply notification and respond in some timely fashion. Urgent care staffs are extremely busy, and it is best to think of the text messenger as 'one-way'... staff-to-patient.
There are two patient responses which are pre-programmed to be recognized by the system and auto-generate a response to the patient: an 'S' from the patient will generate a status update showing the current time of the patient's appointment; an 'R' from the patient will serve to cancel the appointment and remove the patient from the queue. It must be one of these two responses. Emojis, and/or creative messages from the patient will be ignored.
It is also possible for walk-in patients to be enabled to receive SMS text mesages. The clinic may elect to use the leave-and-come-back option which collects a walk-in patient's cellphone number, a value in number of minutes which the patient would like a reminder before the appointment time, and then notifies the patient when it's time to head back to the clinic for his/her appointment.
The leave-and-come-back choice may be configured to be presented to the patient via the check-in kiosk, or a staff member may click on the patient name in the patient queue screen and enter the patient's phone number and number of reminder minutes, then click Send Texts. This will create both the text button in the patient line and populate it with an initial message showing the patient's appointment time and number of reminder minutes.