Today’s healthcare organizations realize just how valuable missed appointments truly are to a practice’s bottom line. The higher the number of missed appointments, the more money will be lost. When there is a high number of missed appointments, it indicates an organization is not running as efficiently as it should. This directly impacts the resources of the organization, whether that be a healthcare company, business corporation, law firm and many other types of business offices where time is factor. The main reason clients, patients, customers, and others miss appointments is just because they forget about it. This practice can be dangerous especially in health care services where a patient may not get the required medical care. Doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel also lose valuable time. To combat the negative effects missed appointments can have, businesses are increasingly adopting appointment reminder systems.
Appointment Reminder Systems
The solution to missed appointments and the problems it creates is to use an effective appointment reminder system. These may come in many different forms.
One simple solution is sending text messages in the form of appointment reminders. A survey reveals that the text message open / read rate is 98%, so this will lessen the probability that an appointment reminder will be missed. Another study reveals that 97% of the population uses text messaging every day, so text messaging will work for most people. Also text messages are opened quickly and read, unlike emails. A text message can be sent using an automated reminder system to all your patients within minutes. Responding to text messages is much simpler and convenient for your patients, and many prefer this method above all others.
Appointment reminders through a recorded voice message are the tried-and-true method of reaching all your patients. Everyone can receive and listen to a voice call. This is especially if your patient population tends to be older and not as inclined to use text messages. In these cases, a voice call is still the sure way to send a reminder. Unless your patients come to appointments 2 or 3 times every week, calling 2 working days ahead of an appointment is typically the best time to do it – close enough to the appointment so the patient does not forget, but with a working day in the middle, so you can keep your schedules filled if the patient calls to cancel their appointment the next morning. The only drawback with voice messages is some clients or patients may be annoyed with a phone call interruption and feel like it’s a waste of their time.
A final solution for appointment reminders is to send an email message. Appointment reminders are sent to patients’ email addresses to remind them of their appointments. The benefit of this solution is another one that works well because it is non-intrusive. However, this can also be a drawback, if the email reminder gets buried in the patient’s inbox and never read. Emails allows clients to check their emails whenever it is a convenient time for them and where there are no distractions. Email can be particularly useful for those who do not own a mobile phone or have a limited plan and don’t want to pay extra for text messaging. In instances like this, emails are a great way to communicate appointment reminders.
Combination of Types of Appointment Reminders
A growing number of practices use a combination of text messages, emails, or voice messages. Most appointment reminder services allow practices to send a variety of reminders. The overall goal when using appointment reminders is to avoid “no-shows,” while balancing the need to now overwhelm or upset the patient with too many reminders. When a practice sends reminders either in form of text, email, or voice message, they will minimize missed appointments. Patients will be alerted to both the time and location of their appointments. All the above solutions can drastically improve the “no-show” rate for your office, reduce administration time, improve efficiency, improve patient satisfaction, maximize revenue and save money.