Improve internal communication with instant messaging for med spas

23 April 2024

Effective team communication improves practice efficiency, patient satisfaction, and even clinical outcomes. 

That’s because it saves time and reduces bottlenecks that can lead to poor patient experience and medical errors.

As your med spa team grows, it’s important to think through the best way to keep everyone in the loop throughout the day, especially when working hours and locations don’t overlap. 

While face-to-face communication is best for time-sensitive situations, you’ll need ways to share less pressing information without interrupting your aestheticians or front desk staff when they’re with a patient.

One of the best channels for communicating non-urgent information internally is instant messaging. 

Research shows that adopting an internal instant messaging system improves workflows and patient care in clinical settings.

Read on for instant messaging best practices that will keep your team on the same page and your med spa running smoothly.

Choose the right platform

If your practice is already using instant messaging and you’re just interested in using it more effectively, you can skip this section. 

If not, you’ll need to choose a tool or activate instant messaging on a platform you’re already using, like your EMR.

Since you’ll likely want to share patient information via instant messaging, you’ll also need to consider whether the tool you pick meets your practice’s privacy requirements, like HIPAA.

While your friends in tech are always talking about slack, it’s not as common in healthcare. Here are a few popular instant messaging tools for clinical settings:

  • Epic Secure Chat: Part of Epic’s EMR. Allows you to connect messages to patient charts.

  • Jabber/Webex: A Cisco product with a modern, intuitive interface. Has a free limited-feature version available and can be billed monthly.

  • Microsoft Teams: Included as part of Microsoft 365. It offers a free trial, can be billed monthly, and integrates with a large number of other applications.

  • TigerConnect: Specifically designed for clinical settings. Has a modern, intuitive interface and also offers a patient engagement platform.

  • Trillian: Specifically designed for clinical settings, also offers a patient engagement platform and can be billed monthly.

There are tons of great platforms out there. You can always search software comparison sites like Capterra or G2 to find other options.

Write clear, specific messages

The key to effective instant messaging is to use clear, precise language that leaves no room for misinterpretation. 

When needed, include timelines, deadlines, or next steps. Let your teammate know whether or not you need a quick response.

Make your message easy to follow by using proper spacing and grammar and avoiding run-on sentences.

For example, imagine you are sending a message to your front desk about a patient you want to upsell on a package. 

Instead of writing, “Hi Susan Chen said she wants a tox package so please remind her thank you,” write, “Hi Bre, Susan Chen will be checking out in the next 30 minutes. She’s interested in a tox package. Can you remind her about it when she’s checking out? Thank you!”

As tempting as it is to type quickly without much forethought, you should think through what you want the recipient to gather from your message. 

Expect reasonable response times

Since you are using instant messaging to communicate non-urgent information, it’s important to be realistic about response times.

Asking a question about patient notes or an upcoming team meeting via instant message should never interfere with patient interactions. Encourage your team to review and reply to messages when they have a moment and aren’t in the middle of a treatment or scheduling a patient. 

It can be helpful to set clear expectations, like responding within a certain number of hours or by the end of the day. Having these standards relieves pressure to reply right away and encourages patience when waiting for a response.

Send and respond in order of priority

In a fast-paced environment, and especially on your busiest days, it's easy to lose urgent messages among the noise. 

As a rule of thumb, send out and respond to messages in order of priority rather than in order of receipt. 

Since you aren’t expected to respond right away, it’s ok to take a few hours or even a whole day to write back to something that doesn’t require immediate attention.

For example, respond to a message about a patient coming in that afternoon before a message about a call with a laser rep slated for next week, regardless of when you received them. 

Many instant messaging tools also have features that allow you flag important messages or tag the recipient so they get an extra notification.

These features can help with prioritization or remembering to respond to messages at a later time. 

The recommendations above are a great starting point for developing internal instant messaging guidelines for your med spa team.

Encourage your team to provide feedback about what is and isn’t working. That way, you can come up with a system that works for everyone and evolves over time with your team and business.

About the Author

Author

Sarah Eberle

RepeatMD Med Spa Marketing Expert

Sarah Eberle is a healthcare marketing expert with specialized knowledge in aesthetics, wellness, neuroscience, and cardiology.