Mass Text your patients with Broadcast Messaging

Broadcast Messaging is a feature of BloomText Patient Messaging that allows you to send HIPAA-compliant bulk SMS text messages to a group of individuals at the same time. Broadcast Messaging is a great way to securely and effectively communicate with your patients.

In the sections below, we’ll walk you through how to launch your very first broadcast campaign. Alternatively, we’ve also provided a video that you can watch here.

Sections in this article


What is Broadcast Message?

Our customers use Broadcast Messaging every day to accomplish a variety of goals, including:

  • Appointment scheduling
  • Collecting co-payments
  • Feedback surveys
  • Clinical updates

Broadcast Messaging includes the following capabilities:

  • Sending HIPAA-compliant SMS messages or emails
  • Include file attachments, images and/or emojis
  • Message delivery success reports
  • Allow patients to respond via private conversations
  • Import/Update patients with a CSV file

Subscription Requirements

Broadcast Messaging requires a BloomText Patient Messaging subscription. To enable this feature for you organization, please contact us at (415) 930-1200 or send us an email at support@bloomtext.com.

How to launch your first broadcast campaign

There are five steps to launching your broadcast campaign:

  1. Prepare a CSV file
  2. Import your CSV
  3. Configure your broadcast settings
  4. Launch your broadcast
  5. Analyze the results

We will now walk through each step in the sections below.

Step 1: Prepare a CSV File

The first step is to prepare a CSV file containing the contact information of the individuals you wish to message. At a minimum, this file should include the cell phone number of each individual. Additionally, you may include fields such as first name, last name, and more. The table below contains the fields you may use when importing your list of patients:

Column Name Description Format Required
phone Phone Number (###) ### #### Yes
first_name First name text No
last_name Last Name text No
dob Date of Birth yyyy-mm-dd No
email Email Address email No

When preparing your CSV file, we recommend using a tool such as Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel. Both of these tools allow you to modify or create CSV files that you can then import into BloomText.

Make sure that you name your columns exactly as they are listed in the table above. For example, for a the first name column, you need to use “first_name”.

For reference, we have created an empty CSV template with proper headers that you can download here.

BloomText recognizes most phone number formats. If your phone number values are in a different format than listed above, they should still be processed correctly.

What if some of my patients are already in BloomText?

You should add all the patients that you want included in the broadcast to your CSV file. If the patient already exists in BloomText, the system is smart enough not to create duplicate patients, using the phone number field to first search for an existing patient.

If you do not include optional properties in the CSV file for existing patients, the system will keep the existing properties of the patient as they are currently in BloomText. If, however, you do add optional properties in your csv file, the existing patients will be updated.

Step 2: Import your CSV

Now that you have prepared your CSV file, you are ready to create your first broadcast campaign. To do this, login to via BloomText either the web or desktop application, click the purple plus button, and select the Broadcast tab.

Once you are here, select the phone number that you want the messages to be from. By default, your organization’s primary phone number will already be selected.

Next, upload your CSV file to BloomText, selecting the file you prepared in Step 1. Depending on the size of your CSV file, you may need to wait a few moments for the import to complete

Once the system has finished processing, BloomText will confirm that it has successfully imported your patients, and you are ready to move on to the next step.

What happens if my import fails?

Your import may fail for a number of reasons. The most common is at least one of the phone numbers you included in your CSV file is missing or in an invalid format. If this occurs. simply re-open the file in your CSV editor and double check that all the phone numbers are correct and your columns are propery labeled. Then, re-export your file and try importing it again.

At this point, if you are still receiving an error, you can send us an email at support@bloomtext.com and we will be happy to assist you!

Step 3: Configure the Broadcast Settings

If you made it this far, congratulations! Now, you may finish configuring the settings for your braodcast message.

Add a chat title

Next, you need to give you broadcast a title. This title will not be visible to your contacts, and is simply a way for you to keep track of the name of your broadcast.

Type in a message

After that, it’s time to type a message. This is the message that will be sent to each individual in your CSV file. Keep in mind that your message must not exceed 5000 characters.

Select Secure vs SMS

Next, you’ll need to select whether you want your broadcast to be sent via “plain text” or via a “secure link”. Use the “secure link” option if your message contains Protected Health Inforamtion (PHI). If your message doesn’t contain PHI, you may choose to send your broadcast via “plain text” instead.

Sending messages over time

The next field will ask you if you want the broadcast to send your messages over a period of time. By default, this messages will be sent as soon as possible. Alternatively, you can enter a number such as “0.5” or “1,” corresponding to the number of hours that you want messages to be sent over.

Add attachments

The final step allows you to include an attachment, such as a PDF or image. This is an optional field that you can leave blank. If, however, you do want to include an attachemnt, you must keep your message blank. In the future, we will support including an attachment with your message, but that is not currently supported.

Step 4: Launch your brodcast

Now, double-check that all your settings are correct, and select the “Send Campaign” button when you are ready!

Where are the messages going?

After initiating the campaign, BloomText will begin sending out your messages. Depending on how many individuals you included in your CSV file, it may take some time before all messages are sent.

To see the messasges as they are being sent in real-time, navigate to your inbox and swtich to the phone number that you sent the messages from. Then, select the archived tab.

What happens if a patient responds?

By default, BloomText auto-archives messages being sent via a broadcast so they do not flood your inbox. If a patient responds, the message will automatically be un-archived and will appear in your inbox alongside your other conversations. Patient responses are always treated as private conversations. This means that if you need to send a follow-up message to a patient, no other patients will view or receive your message.

Who else can view these messages and initiate campaigns?

In BloomText, phone numbers are assigned to “teams.” To control which members have access to sending braodcast campaigns and responding to patients, admins may add and remove users from the team associated with the phone number.

Step 5: Analyze the results

If there is an issue sending a message to a particular number, BloomText will notify you with the name of the patient and number that experienced the issue.

We are also working on developing a message deliverability reporting system. If you want access to these reports today, send us a message at support@bloomtext.com.

Conclusion

You should now know how to successfully initiate broadcast campaigns with BloomText. If you have any additional questions or suggestions, you can reach us at support@bloomtext.com.