Reach patients with a holiday out-of-office message

December 5, 2019 - by Pamela Ellgen

 

The holiday season brings everything from sleigh bells and snow storms to holiday parades and homemade tamales.

It also brings an increase in illnesses and accidents — moments when patients need medical care but have a harder time accessing it. During the holiday season, medical practices often close for a day or two or sometimes a whole week. And that’s a good thing. Providers and administrators deserve a break as much as anyone.

When patients reach out to your office during the holidays, make sure they know you care — and can access the care they need — with WELL’s Holiday Out-of-Office Message. It’s a friendly, automated response to inbound patient messages.

And for patients who already have appointments on the books, ensure they receive their appointment reminders before or after the holidays. Here’s how it works:

Choose who sends the Holiday Out-of-Office Message

First, decide whether the Holiday Out-of-Office Message will be sent from your entire health system or be unique to each practice location.

A generic message from your health system retains central control over the language so that all patients receive the same message. But it is less personal.

Allowing each location to design their own message allows for greater flexibility and control at the local level. It also enables more friendly, personal patient communication.

Both options let your patients know that you hear them and take their communication seriously.

Write the Holiday Out-of-Office Message

Write a message that conveys warmth and concern for patient well-being. Include the holiday hours and directions for accessing alternative care during those hours.

For example: 

Hello, thanks for reaching out! Dr. Byron’s office is closed from December 23-25 and will re-open December 26. If you need immediate assistance, connect with our on-call nurse at 805-234-9355 or visit our emergency department at 1000 Main Street. Have a happy and healthy holiday season! 

Now, when a patient messages your practice during the holiday hours you defined, they will receive the pre-written Holiday Out-of-Office Message.

Keep the holidays text free

Many patients have appointments scheduled on or near actual holidays. In this case, WELL can send their automated appointment reminder messages to arrive on a different day. Existing automations will be pushed to before or after the holiday, depending on the settings.

For example, a patient has an appointment on December 28 and normally you would have sent an appointment reminder three days prior to the event. However, in this case, that would send the reminder on Christmas Day. With WELL Holiday Management in place, the reminder will be sent out a day earlier. This way, the patient gets their reminder and enjoys the holiday text free!

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