Using Appointuit Engage! and Engage! SMS is a cost and time effective way to engage your patients in their care.
Appointuit Engage! and Engage! SMS are included in our standard suite of products (not included in Appointuit Lite).
RACGP standard 1.3.1 requires practices to engage patents in health promotion and preventative care.
As a patient relationship management system (PRM) Engage! allows you to send general reminders, preventative care information and health promotions to patients, as well as inform them of things that are happening at the practice (e.g. new doctors, doctors going on leave, new services, arrival of flu vaccines etc. etc.).
Traditional methods of engaging with patients include posters and brochures in the practice and mail outs. Posters will only reach those patients who are coming to your practice anyway.
Postage is time-consuming and expensive. With the cost of postage now $1.00, and no way of ever knowing who ever got the letter, it is no longer an effective method of communication.
Patients use email and SMS for almost everything these days, banking, travel bookings, shopping etc. We live in an age where the majority of Australians own a computer and a mobile device, and they want and expect the convenience of being able to get information at their fingertips.
One way practices are embracing communicating with their patients is in conjunction with National health campaigns- such as July - Diabetes month, October- breast cancer awareness month, November- mens health month.
Appointuit Engage! makes this easy by providing pre-made templates (which can be customised to your taste).
Practices are also using Appointuit Engage! more and more for routine proactive health reminders such pap smear reminders, immunisation reminders and other non specific reminders and recalls.
NB: While some patients may request getting results and other clinical details in this way, we do not recommend that you use Appointuit Engage! to contact patients about specific sensitive clinical issues unless they have requested / consented to this and are aware that once sent the confidentiality of the content, like any email or SMS from any source, cannot be guaranteed. If this is the case, a signed consent should be sought and kept on the patient's file.You may consider using secure SMS for this if you are opting to do this.
Is emailing my patients or sending an SMS a breach of privacy?
If a patient has provided you with their email as a form of contact, there is an implied consent that you will use it to contact the patient. Standard 1.3.1 states:
Patients must be notified if the practice participates in state or national registers, such as ACIR or the Cervical Screening register, or that the patient be made aware they may opt out of such registers. Notification and options for participation may be collected on a “new patient form”.
A lot of practices however clarify this with the patients via the new patient registration form by adding a statement something like this:
This practice uses registers, email and SMS to contact you for proactive health reminders and notifications. We will not use email or SMS to convey sensitive or clinical information such as results or health records.
RACGP standard 4.2.1 Confidentiality and Privacy of Health Information states:
Explicit consent is not required for participation in practice-level registers for the purpose of prevention or management activities, however patients should be informed that the practice uses a recall and reminder system (via the practice information sheet or by a sign in the waiting room).
This would include reminders , and registers such as ACIR and the PSR.
The Privacy Act requires that people can opt out of communications they no longer wish to receive. Each email has an 'unsubscribe' option included in the footer.
For existing patients, you may choose to send an initial Appointuit Engage! campaign informing patients that this will be a preferred method of communication going forward and that they can opt out at anytime (include instructions on how to do this).
For a list of patients who have unsubscribed, either because they do not wish to receive them, or because they no longer attend your practice, go to Settings > Patient Admin > show unsubscribed from emails.
If a patient does unsubscribe - then practices need to organise an alternative method of communication in line with the requirements of RACGP standard 1.3.1:
Reminder systems need to operate in such a way as to protect the privacy and confidentiality of patient health information. Practices also need to consider their responsibility to their patients if the practice ceases using a reminder system.
How many times should I remind patients about proactive reminder items like pap smears etc.?
See our link: Recall and reminder policies
Will my patients ever receive emails, messages or advertising from Appointuit?
No Never! As practice owners and managers ourselves we appreciate and respect the privacy of your patients. We do not instigate the emails or SMS to the patients - at all times they come from your practice and are instigated by you. The only exceptions to this are the confirmation and reminders when the patient books online, the 'welcome email" which informs them you now have online bookings available, and if the patient directly contacts us via our support desk- we will reply to the patient in specific relation to the question they have asked us only.
Want to get started?
For details on how to use Appointuit Engage! and Engage! SMS- watch the instructional video, or organise a group training session with your team. Written instructions are also attached below.
**Important- for Best Practice Software users - to be able to get the full features the following presets in best practice need to be made to enable the note to be written back to the patients file:
Want to know more? Please book a training session by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org