TCPA Guidelines for Patient Communications – Reminders & Broadcast Messaging

Valant’s Patient Communication features offer your practice an efficient means to engage with patients about upcoming appointments, send requests to reschedule visits, and offer reminders to update vital information. Instead of struggling with high no-show rates or needing staff to pick up the phone and call patients, our built-in features help you increase your appointment show rate and free up your staff to focus on other valuable work. 

While Valant provides secure tools for you to facilitate these communications, there are some basic guidelines you need to follow when crafting your messages.  Before sending automated reminders and broadcast messages, make sure to familiarize your practice with TCPA guidelines regarding healthcare messaging consent and frequency.  

What is TCPA?

TCPA stands for the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which regulates businesses using automated dialing and text messaging systems. Businesses must receive proper consent from intended recipients, ranging from express consent to express written consent, prior to sending automated calls or texts. As a behavioral health practice, you are eligible for the healthcare exemption which reduces the level of consent needed when sending healthcare messages. 

Reminders and Messaging Consent Guidelines

When sending healthcare messages, you are recommended to collect prior express consent. Prior express consent is achieved when a patient provides you with their phone number, simply by calling or filling out a form with their number in it. A step further is asking for their verbal consent to receive communications from your practice. With this level of consent, your practice should:  

  • Send up to one message per day and up to three messages to a patient per week 
  • Allow patients to easily opt out of future messages (Valant offers this feature) 
  • Ensure the message is related to patient care, e.g. appointment reminders or follow ups 
  • Not charge the patient for the message 
  • Comply with HIPAA law (Keep PHI out of automated phone calls, texts, and emails)

The absolute best practice is to collect express written consent, which ensures your practice has a written record of patient consent. This can be achieved during the intake process, at the time of your patients’ next appointments, or by sending a one-off request for e-signature. 

If you want to send more than one message per day or three per week, or if you plan to use our reminders and broadcast messaging features to communicate non-healthcare messages, such as marketing messages about your practice offerings, it is recommended that you collect express written consent from patients.

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