Batch Messaging is one of the most effective ways of communicating with large numbers of patients at once. However, it also has the potential to be a large source of fragments, and therefore a large contributor to SMS costs.
Here's how you can be more sustainable with fragments in Batch Messaging! For more context on SMS costs and fragments, take a look at this article.
Make sure you are sending the right information to the right people
There are two mains drivers for high fragments in Batch Messaging. These are:
Large numbers of recipients.
Very long messages.
Ensuring that your Batch Messages are conveying the message in as few characters as possible and are also relevant to the target cohort will ensure that they are as fragment efficient as possible.
Templates are a great way to ensure a consistent message is delivered to patients in the most fragment-efficient way. Here's some more information on how to set up and edit your Batch Messaging Templates!
Use Batch Self-Book to fill your clinics
Sending all eligible patients a message to call and book in for a clinic can cause strain on your phone lines, and patients to receive the same message over and over again.
Sending a Batch Self-Book message allows you to fill your clinics up to 6 weeks in advance, with patients booking directly into slots in your EMIS/SystmOne appointment book. This means less admin time for your team, fewer SMS invitations to patients, and potentially thousands of fragments saved!
Here's some more information about how to get started with Batch Self-Book.
Use the Decline option in Self-Book to reduce the size of your cohort
You can also allow patients to decline an appointment in Batch Self-Book, which will automatically add a corresponding 'Decline' SNOMED code to their record.
This means that the next time you run your reports for Batch Self-Book, you can eliminate patients who have declined and reduce your patient list size, therefore saving a considerable amount in fragment costs.
Here's some more information on how to use the Decline function in Batch Self-Book.
Consider communicating with patients another way
SMS messages aren't always the most efficient way to communicate generic or non-urgent information to your patients.
Every practice works differently, but it's worth considering other channels to let patients know this information. This could be via your website, recorded phone message, or even social media. For example 👇
Make sure patient contact information is correct and up to date
Even if a message fails to deliver to a patient's phone, the messaging provider still handles the message and attempts to send. This therefore incurs a fragment cost.
There are a number of reasons why a message might fail to deliver, including:
The phone is switched off.
The phone is out of signal.
The phone number is no longer active.
Maintaining up to date patient mobile numbers is a really effective way to reduce these unnecessary fragments in Batch Messaging.
You can download a report to identify if there are patients that are consistently failing to deliver by clicking 'See details' to the right of your Batch Message, then clicking on the blue, underlined number below 'Failed to deliver'.
This will download a spreadsheet of all of the patients that this message failed to reach 👇