If you’re a healthcare professional looking to implement a healthcare text messaging solution at your Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), you may be overwhelmed by your options. And, with strict HIPAA and TCPA compliance regulations, you can’t afford to make the wrong selection.
From security standards and pricing structures to integration and customization capabilities, you need a solution with a proven track record that meets your unique business needs. To help streamline your vendor selection process, the following 12 questions can help determine which healthcare text messaging solution will be the right fit for your FQHC.
General and Security
1. Do you comply with HIPAA regulations?
When selecting a healthcare text messaging solution, privacy and security are especially important. Under HIPAA, healthcare providers and payers are permitted to use email, text message, and voice dialers to provide healthcare information and treatment options with their patients as long as they “apply reasonable safeguards” when doing so. Ensure that the healthcare text messaging solution you select meets the technical and physical safeguard guidelines for guaranteeing security and confidentiality of all data exchanged via the solution.
Providertech’s team receives regular HIPAA training so that our solutions achieve the highest security and privacy in all aspects of HIPAA.
2. How do you ensure TCPA compliance?
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Healthcare Exception allows covered entities to deliver HIPAA-compliant messages related to health and wellness via phone and text, provided covered entities adhere to the seven conditions. The healthcare text messaging vendor you select should be well-versed in TCPA messaging compliance including length, frequency, content, and opt-outs.
3. How has the healthcare text messaging solution demonstrated success for other FQHCs?
Not all healthcare text messaging solutions have proven results. The solution you select should be a comprehensive communication platform that you can tailor for your specific patient population. Effective solutions should have client testimonials and case studies from similar healthcare organizations who have used the tool with success. Look for measurable results, such as cost or time savings, improved efficiencies, and other metrics that apply to your business needs.
Having this information accessible on the vendor’s website is especially helpful. That’s why you can read about a Pennsylvania-based FQHC’s success using Providertech’s healthcare text messaging solution here.
4. What kind of support or training do you provide?
Customer support is also important when selecting a healthcare text messaging solution. Vendors should demonstrate how they help you get off the ground with the healthcare text messaging solutions, including leveraging pilot programs that help your FQHC become familiar and test text messaging capabilities before scaling it across the organization.
In addition, you want to select a vendor that offers quick and convenient remediation and support in case of questions or an emergency, such as unplanned downtime. Ideally, you should select a vendor that offers both email and phone support and will offer timely and helpful resolution to any concerns. Providertech ensures that every client has a dedicated technical account manager so we can work quickly to fix any issues that may arise.
5. What experience do you have in healthcare?
When selecting a healthcare text message solution, we recommend finding a vendor who has experience working in the healthcare industry. That way, you’re working with people who truly understand your challenges and can offer solutions that were created specifically for healthcare. Beyond our technical teams, Providertech offers internal expertise with experience in both clinical and operational roles within healthcare.
6. Does your solution integrate with the EHR and Practice Management System at our FQHC?
No matter how you plan to communicate with your patients, knowing your patients is extremely important because you need to send messages relevant to them. EHR integration is crucial to leveraging the data that already exists about your patients. You want to select a vendor that allows safe and accessible integrations with your EHR so you can automate parts of your communication protocols, including message content.
Effective healthcare text messaging solutions may also integrate with other third-party applications, such as your answering service or scheduling software. This allows comprehensive communication with your patients at all points of connection, including the channels they prefer. And, selecting a vendor with scheduling integration ensures you can take full advantage of the text messaging solution’s ability to send appointment reminders, recalls, and educational materials relevant to your individual patients.
7. Is the software intuitive to use?
The solution you choose should make your life easier, not harder. You may want to consider choosing a vendor that has a simple and clear interface so that it’s intuitive for your staff to use. From implementation and set-up to day-to-day management and monitoring, you want a healthcare text messaging solution that uses familiar features and elements of their existing workflows to increase the likelihood of adoption.
8. How do my patients opt-in to text messages?
Finding out how your patients opt-in to the healthcare text messages is essential to understanding how quickly and easily your patients will engage with your new communication channel. Under the TCPA healthcare exemption, providing a cell phone number constitutes consent to receiving calls or texts for “care, services, or supplies related to the health of an individual”. Landline phones, on the other hand, do not require express consent for healthcare-related messages using IF the caller is not using an automated dialer system. When selecting a third-party vendor to support healthcare text messaging, it is important to ensure they have capabilities to detect the difference between cell phone and landline phone numbers.
In addition, the vendor must provide a clear option for recipients to revoke their consent via opt-outs. Whether it’s a STOP opt-out via text, or an alternative option to express a desire to receive no more messages from the caller, opt-outs must be honored immediately.
9. What is the pricing structure?
From flat fee models to rates priced-per-text, healthcare text messaging solutions are priced a variety of ways. What’s most important is that the vendor is upfront about the cost and how they charge. Make sure you know if you’ll be charged based on the number of users or if there are additional fees for added features.
10. Is your software scalable as the FQHC attracts new patients?
Whether your FQHC expands in patient volume or you add new sites of care, you’ll want to select a healthcare text messaging solution that will grow with you. Working with a vendor that has experience scaling their solutions to large businesses and using a sustainable technical infrastructure will help ensure a long shelf life for your solution.
11. What options does our FQHC have for customization?
When selecting a healthcare text messaging solution, you need to choose one that meets the unique needs of both your FQHC and the patients your FQHC serves. We recommend choosing a vendor that offers a rules engine that is completely customizable so you can tailor messages by appointment type, physician, patient language, insurance class, location, visit status, and other patient details. For example, Providertech is able to craft custom messaging that leverages your data for a solution that’s unique to your practice.
12. How will the healthcare text messaging solution replace outdated communication channels?
Text messaging is a great way to communicate to your patients but not if it’s just another manual task on the endless list of to-do’s for your staff. Look for a healthcare text messaging solution that replaces some of the manual operational workflows, such as the ability to send automated appointment reminders via text rather than calling each of your patients one-by-one. And as an added benefit, solutions like Providertech’s that offer text analysis will parse out data from free text, helping you easily manage and interpret responses from your patients.
Asking these 12 questions will help you in selecting a healthcare text messaging solution that will be the best communication tool for your FQHC—and the people you serve.
To learn more about Providertech’s healthcare text messaging solution, schedule a demo with our experts today.