5 ways healthcare providers can use WhatsApp Business Platform

Topic: Healthcare, WhatsApp

Did you know that WhatsApp Business Platform can majorly contribute to offering digitalised telehealth communication strategies?

Healthcare providers are constantly under pressure to offer the best quality of care to their patients despite shrinking resources. Over the years, technology like chatbots and digital patient portals have helped the healthcare industry improve patient experience. 

Rather than wait until their local doctor’s practice or hospital opens or sit in a queue/on hold, they can manage their appointments virtually. This is just one of the ways healthcare providers can use WhatsApp Business Platform. Here are some other ways.

How to use WhatsApp for healthcare

  1. Appointment reminders
  2. Appointment management
  3. Medical advice
  4. Patient engagement
  5. Feedback and surveys

1. Appointment reminders

Missed appointments cost the NHS nearly £300 million between April 2020 and February 2021. It’s clear that the more traditional appointment reminder methods, such as letters and perhaps even SMS reminders, may no longer be as effective as they used to be. Or maybe patients are struggling to get through to their practices when they need to rebook their appointments.

With WhatsApp Business Platform, you can use the platform’s rich features to send appointment reminders that your patients will remember. Here are some of the functionalities that can be deployed:

  • Quick replies – suggested/quick replies make it easier and faster for patients to respond. For example, if your reminder asks them to say whether they will attend the appointment, a quick reply button which reads ‘Yes, I will attend’ allows them to respond with that instantly.
  • Interactive buttons – in addition to quick reply buttons, you can send patients to web pages where they discover more relevant information.
  • Google Maps locations – patients can find the premises more easily, which in turn reduces the chance of a missed appointment.
  • Appointments added to the patient’s in-device calendar – calendars will often send a push notification which will reduce the chances of appointments being missed.
  • Documents attached to messages – easily send patients further information related to their appointment, such as what will happen at their appointment, health advice and more.

2. Appointment management

Many healthcare providers are still relying on phone-based appointment systems. So when patients ring up to book or amend an appointment, they often have to wait in phone queues due to an influx of calls at the same time. This can quickly lead to frustration, especially if someone urgently needs to see a medical professional. 

It may even lead to patients not turning up to their appointments because the cancellation process was too laborious for their liking.

It’s times like these where WhatsApp Business Platform can help. Integrate this platform with your practice’s booking system and patients can use WhatsApp to manage their appointments. No need to ring reception anymore. Plus, WhatsApp is accessible round-the-clock so patients can self service at any time of the day.

3. Medical advice

Sometimes, patients need medical advice but don’t necessarily need to (or want to) ring up their doctor’s practice and book an appointment. One of their first instincts may be to Google their symptoms but this can lead to a plethora of unreliable advice. 

When you have WhatsApp Business Platform, you can set up automated messages or a chatbot that can handle commonly asked questions/cases. The bot can direct your patients to approved resources, whether that’s by sending them links to official websites or attaching documents.

WhatsApp Healthcare

4. Patient engagement

WhatsApp Business Platform is a great tool for business promotion – or in this case, hospital/healthcare provider. When you have a reliable database of patients who have opted in to receive WhatsApp communications from you, you can share critical updates quickly and easily. 

Thanks to features like the ability to send rich messages, brand your profile and the opportunity to become an Official WhatsApp Business Account (verified tick), you can ensure your messages are remembered, trusted and engaged with.

5. Feedback and surveys

Did you know that 40% of consumers are more likely to fill in a feedback form or survey if they were asked via WhatsApp as opposed to email? That’s what we found in our global survey of more than 3,000 consumers.

Use WhatsApp Business Platform to distribute patient feedback forms and surveys. Not only can you take advantage of the channel’s high open rate (up to 99%), but you can boost engagement and survey completion rate using WhatsApp Business Platform’s rich features. 

Appointment reminder example on WhatsApp, showcasing the richness of the experience and the ability to have two way conversations

Enhancing patient experience and satisfaction with WhatsApp Business Platform

Delivering exceptional healthcare has always been and will always be important. When you use WhatsApp Business Platform alongside your more ‘traditional’ communication channels (e.g. letters, emails and SMS), you can reduce administrative strain and improve internal efficiency. 

For starters, a mobile-focused appointment reminder strategy can help reduce the number of appointment no-shows. In fact, one NHS trust reported a 25% decrease in missed appointments. If the same could be done for every other NHS trust, this would mean a 400,000 reduction in missed hospital appointments every year.

Take advantage of the platform’s rich features to create rich, positive experiences that your patients will remember.

Ready to try out WhatsApp Business Platform? We’re offering a free trial for our new and existing customers. As well as access to the platform’s intuitive features, you’ll also get 1,000 free user-initiated conversations, 75 free business-initiated conversations, 250 contacts, our feature-rich platform to centrally manage your comms and more – all for free!

Learn more about our free trial and start your journey to better conversations with patients by clicking the button below.

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