The healthcare industry is at the forefront of everyone’s mind lately, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The variant keeps on evolving and so do we, especially with patient reminders. While telemedicine has become increasingly popular, there will always be a need for patients to see healthcare providers in person. Whether your practice is currently offering telehealth options or you’re still seeing patients face-to-face. One thing that the healthcare industry can benefit from is using an automated patient reminder service. Let’s talk a bit about the benefits, best practices, and how you can use our patient appointment reminder system to your advantage. Appointment Reminders will be a game-changer in your health practice.
What is a patient reminder?
A patient reminder is an automated text, email, or phone notification that informs patients of upcoming appointments request confirmation for these appointments. Patient reminders may also ask patients to confirm appointments they’ve previously scheduled. These reminders are increasingly popular substitutes for having your front-office staff call patients to confirm their attendance as appointments approach. Good patient reminders are brief, clear, and personalized, and you should only send them in certain amounts and at certain times of the day.
Why You Should Be Using Appointment Patient Reminders
According to a 2021 survey, about 41% of healthcare patients miss or skip their appointments. While health systems may not be able to do very much about the patients who skip out on their appointments on purpose, you can reduce the no-show rate by investing in our patient appointment reminder system. When a patient misses an appointment, it’s more than just frustrating for a healthcare practice. You’ve experienced it: idle physicians, waiting for patients, and last-minute vacancies—no-shows put patients behind in their care and negatively impact downstream processes.
5 Benefits of Patient Reminders
1. They reduce strain on front-office staff.
A key goal of your front-office staff is to provide a positive experience to patients at your practice. This goal is much harder to achieve when your receptionists lose hours per day calling patients to confirm their appointments. Automated patient reminders take over this task, freeing your front-office staff to interact with the people in their vicinity.
2. They free up resources.
When your front-office staff isn’t busy calling customers to confirm appointments, your phone lines are open for incoming patient calls. That’s important since 88% of medical appointments are made over the phone. It also means your front-office staff won’t have to wait for co-workers to finish reminder calls with patients before making calls of their own.
3. They increase patient satisfaction and loyalty.
Patient reminder calls can be as inconvenient for staff as for patients. Imagine being in the middle of a pressing task, only to have a phone call interrupt it. Including patient text & email reminders helps solve that issue. With adding texts & emails, your patients aren’t as disturbed as they go about their days, and they can respond at their convenience. The result is more satisfied patients who become more loyal to your practice.
4. They minimize your no-show rate.
As a healthcare provider, you know how busy life can be. Your patients might be just as busy as you are, making them likely to accidentally forget about their appointments. Automated patient reminders can refresh your patients’ memory at just the right time, increasing the likelihood that they’ll show up.
5. They help clear your waitlist.
When someone misses an appointment, what does that mean for the patients who could’ve had that appointment? When you identify appointments that won’t happen, you give someone from your waitlist a chance to get scheduled. In the process, your bottom line remains intact, and you make another patient much happier with your practice.
Patient reminders will benefit your front-office staff while reducing no-shows. It will increase your patient satisfaction and loyalty among your patients.
Appointment cancellations pose a challenge for most practices, and no-shows are the bane of every practitioner’s existence. But what if you could minimize both? Enter patient reminders. These automated texts, emails, and phone calls remind your patients of appointments they might otherwise miss, thereby encouraging attendance or, if necessary, postponements. They also save your front-office staff precious time.
- Patient no-shows cost the healthcare industry $150 billion annually
- For a primary care physician, each missed appointment equals roughly $150-$400 in lost revenue. For surgeons, this is closer to $500+.
- Patients who fail to show up for their appointments often require more expensive emergency care later. These higher costs factor into healthcare costs for everyone else
- Missed opportunity for new patients
- Decrease in patient satisfaction
Top 5 best practices for patient reminders call, text, and emails?
The power of patient reminders call, text and is clear, but there are a few ways you might accidentally limit that power. Follow these 5 best practices for patient reminders to ensure your call, text, and email reminders are effective:
1. Keep it brief.
There’s no need to go deep on appointment details or share private medical information. The patient reminder call, text and email should be no longer than a tweet. Simply state your practice name or the doctor the patient is seeing, the appointment date and time, and how the patient can cancel or reschedule. Ensure that this information is straightforward and unambiguous.
2. Include a response request.
It’s one thing to say, “Hi, your appointment is this date and time; see you then.” It’s another to request that the patient send a one-word response to confirm, reschedule or cancel their appointment. This approach engages the patient, encourages postponements instead of no-shows or cancellations, and makes rescheduling convenient.
3. Personalize your messages.
Patient reminder call , text and emails are more effective when they start with the recipient’s name and include their doctor’s name too. “Hi, Rick, your appointment with Dr. FeelGood is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 19, 2022, at 1 p.m.” is more effective than, “Hi, you have an upcoming appointment.” The former text immediately shows why the patient should care and makes them feel catered to, whereas the latter is unlikely to inspire interest or action.
4. Know how many messages to send.
Don’t overload your patients with messages – that’s a fast route to annoying them enough to cancel. A confirmation request one week before the appointment and a simple reminder 24 to 72 hours beforehand should do the trick. A third message isn’t a bad idea either like an hour before, but two is enough, and four is too much.
5. Best Time to send messages.
Patient reminders fare best when sent at 4 p.m. Other high-response times are 9 a.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m. Patient reminders sent during lunch break experience the lowest response times. This statistic, of course, excludes times during which nobody wants to receive phone calls or texts. Don’t message patients at 4 a.m. or on weekends – satisfying patients means respecting their schedules. In turn, they’ll respect yours.
Our Patient Reminders are HIPAA Compliant
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has declared all phone, email, and text patient reminders must be as HIPAA-compliant as medical records. That said, it’s still best practice to exclude private patient information from reminders. We specialize in HIPAA Compliant Appointment Reminders for patients. Data security and privacy are at the forefront of technology, especially where medical records and information are concerned.
We take extra steps to ensure that any data you share with us is secure, private, and confidential.
- Follow the HIPAA guidelines of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
- NEVER share your company data or your patient’s data
- Only store the minimal data required to send your HIPAA compliant appointment reminders
- Encrypt your data when in transit and at rest
- Delete your data when no longer needed
- Follow all additional HIPAA guidelines
- Sign a BAA(Business Associate Agreement) with you. Our BAA can be downloaded here. We can typically sign yours as well if you have your own BAA that you prefer to use.
Most medical professionals who use our services experience a huge reduction in no-shows. In fact, a HIPAA-compliant reminder system is usually worth it financially even if you only prevent ONE no-show. Of course, another real benefit is that you won’t have to spend all day at work waiting for patients who don’t show up.
No Contracts and No Risk!
There are No Hidden Fees, setup charges, cancellation charges, or contracts.
All appointment reminder account tiers come with a 30 Day Trial – no credit card needed