In the past, we have discussed a number of advanced ways to utilize SMS messaging through Dolphin’s SMS service (more details HERE). Dolphin’s SMS service allows you to send appointment reminders, financial reminders, birthday messages, payment reminders, treatment reminders, or just about anything else you would like to communicate to patients, billing parties, or referrals. All of this functionality is built into Dolphin Management and can be automated through the Dolphin Job Manager (set it and forget it).
Some people have asked me if there is a way to do the “same thing” for free with Dolphin. The answer is YES! In fact, you could use the methodology below with any Orthodontic software, including Dolphin Management, or basic e-mail program.
Just like anything, there are some things to consider before moving to SMS through e-mail.
- Can use any e-mail system
- You can send/reply directly from your e-mail
- You have to add the “strings” below, based on the carrier, to the patient/billing party/referral’s e-mail
- If the person changes carriers, the SMS will not go through
- The SMS comes through as an e-mail address (not a phone number)
- If you chat (reply to a message) with the patient/billing party/referral, the SMS message adds a lot of information (similar to an e-mail)
- Your functionality may be limited based on the program you are using
- With Dolphin, you can communicate virtually anything you wish via e-mail (in this case via SMS)
To send a text message via email, you must use a “SMS to email gateway”. All you need to do is substitute a 10-digit cell number for ‘number’ for each carrier below:
- AT&T: email@example.com
- T-Mobile: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Verizon: email@example.com (text-only), number@vzwpix (text + photo)
- Sprint: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- Virgin Mobile: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tracfone: email@example.com
- Metro PCS: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Boost Mobile: email@example.com
- Cricket: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ptel: email@example.com
- Republic Wireless: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Google Fi (Project Fi): email@example.com
- Suncom: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ting: email@example.com
- U.S. Cellular: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Consumer Cellular: email@example.com
- C-Spire: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Page Plus: email@example.com
For example, if my patient used Verizon and had the phone number (262) 555-1212 the record would look like this:
I would then create a short e-mail template (not HTML) for appointment reminders with text only. When I queue them up and send them out they will be received by the patient as an SMS from my office e-mail (or the e-mail used to send the messages).
If you give this a try, please share your experience. What did you like? What did you dislike?