Using HIPAA Compliant Text Messaging to Ease Patient Preparation

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Giving a patient a lengthy list of all of the things that they can and cannot do weeks before an upcoming surgery or operation is overwhelming. Begin to Ease Patient Preparation with text messaging.

In the time leading up to a surgery, patients are likely becoming increasingly anxious and preoccupied by stress about the procedure, concerns about how they will complete day to day tasks afterward, and a myriad of other issues that they will have to work through prior to their procedure or surgery. Going against every known strategy and procedure designed to help Ease Patient Preparation.

These pre-op instructions may not seem complex to office staff who are familiar with medical terminology, but to patients, these instructions are novel and can raise many concerns as the procedure approaches. The list of things that patients must be cognizant of prior to a surgery can be long and intimidating. However, sending HIPAA compliant text reminders to patients including tips and instructions can reduce anxieties, helping patients to properly prepare for their procedure. And, not all information needs to be shared at once, reducing the “overwhelmed” feeling for patients. 


Ease Patient Preparation by Helping Patients Remember Medications

Many patients have trouble keeping track of their medications without the added complexity of altering their normal regimen prior to a surgery. The hard-to-pronounce names that many medications have, and the number of medications that many people take makes creating an accurate list of these medications a challenge. 

Prepare-Key-Job-Interview.pngTo make this easier, sending patients a reminder prior to their visit asking them to bring in their medications, take pictures of the labels on the bottles, or create a detailed list of their medications can expedite the patient intake process and help to ensure that all medications are accounted for. Because reminders like this are often forgotten about during scheduling or appointment confirmation calls, it’s useful to have another way of reminding patients – such as sending them a text message the night before.

Send Fasting Instructions and Guidelines At the Right Time

This is perhaps one of the most difficult things to convey to patients prior to a procedure. Many often don’t understand why they have to fast, alter their diet, or make other preparations. Because of this, it’s important to explain why a practice is in place, how to adhere to the instructions that the patient received, and the repercussions that disregarding them can have.

In the example of fasting prior to a procedure, phrases like “clear liquids” or “light meals only” can be interpreted differently by different patients. Providing patients with a detailed list of things that they can and cannot consume prior to treatment will be extremely helpful and can prevent confusion. To ensure that this list doesn’t get misplaced, providers using text-first communications channels can text patient's web links to information and instructions. Reminders can even be scheduled or automated beforehand to reduce administrative tasks, sending patients a text a few hours before they have to begin fasting.

Text Messaging: A Patient Preferred Platform Especially When Trying to Ease Patient Preparation

Texting patients increases the likelihood that your message will be received and read in a timely manner. The majority of texts are read within minutes, but voicemails and phone calls, which were long seen as the standard way of reaching patients, are often overlooked because they don’t offer the same level of convenience and accessibility that texting does. As a result, voice calls and voicemails are not likely to be the best way to contact patients, particularly when relaying vital care instructions. Most adults keep their phone within an arm’s reach throughout the day, so sending them a quick text is an actionable way to reach out to them for patient reminders and care tips.   


Preparing for appointments, surgeries, and procedures is challenging for patients, but by texting them instructions, providers can ease many of their concerns. Reaching out to patients using platforms that they are familiar with and relaying care instructions in terms that they understand are both effective ways of staying in contact with patients and providing them with additional care instructions 

Utilizing a HIPAA compliant text messaging system to schedule updates, patient reminders, and appointments can greatly improve patients’ adherence to care instructions. These reminders can reduce the risk of adherence-related complications, the need to reschedule procedures, and allow patients to quickly ask any questions that they may have about their procedure and care. See how CareWire can improve your patients’ preoperative experience.

I’m Ken Saitow, President and CEO of CareWire. I have been helping healthcare organizations improve performance for over two decades, and I would love 15-minutes of your time to showcase the power of CareWire to engage and activate patients.

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