Patient appointment reminders have become a preferred strategy for most practices to minimize no-shows. And, with a study stating that appointment reminders via SMS have reduced no-show rates by 38%, there’s no reason why practices wouldn’t want to cash it in.
However, merely setting up appointment reminders doesn’t get the job done. Take a look at this sample patient reminder:
“Hi, you have an upcoming appointment. Please arrive at the facility.”
This example doesn’t provide sufficient appointment details. When is the appointment? Should the patient arrive at the facility today? What if they want to reschedule the appointment?
Such ill-structured reminders confuse your patients and even irk them. You need to ensure that your appointment reminders push your patient show-up rates and build better patient engagement.
Here are three strategies you can adopt to set up effective, engaging patient appointment reminders:
1. Automation is the only option
Imagine your staff having to manage a busy front office and call an endless list of patients to confirm appointments, all at the same time – sounds exhausting, right?
When your staff is burdened, there are high chances of creating negative experiences for your patients and employees. On the one hand, your patients feel disconnected due to the lack of communication, and with the staff’s attention divided, they are left frustrated in a crowded front office. On the other hand, your staff is quickly burned out doing such repetitive tasks. And so, manually sending patient appointment reminders isn’t a practical option anymore.
When you automate appointment reminders, you take away the heavy lifting from your staff. You also have better opportunities to improve the patient experience by sending consistent reminders via their preferred channel – be it email, SMS, or IVR.
2. Send actionable reminders
No one likes a one-sided conversation, do we? Let’s look at this example,
“Hi, you have an appointment on 14/04/2021, at 11 AM.”
This appointment reminder gives no room for the patient to interact, hurting patient engagement. Say your patient wants to reschedule right when you send the first reminder, but with such one-way communication, they have no idea how to reschedule. Even after sending three reminders, this particular appointment will lead to a no-show. It defeats the whole purpose of sending appointment reminders, doesn’t it?
Actionable appointment reminders open up the communication channel and allow your patients to confirm, cancel or reschedule their appointment. It can be a simple ‘Text Yes to Confirm’ messaging or a more detailed instruction. Practices can customize a clear, actionable message to make appointment reminders actually count.
One of CheckinAsyst’s customers, a leading orthopedic clinic, adopted automated reminders to inform patients about their appointments. Once the patient confirmed, rescheduled, or canceled the appointment, the staff received an alert on their dashboard. Using the information, the clinic intelligently filled up empty spots and managed daily schedules to avoid potential revenue loss.
3. Make the most of appointment reminders
Sending appointment details is the basics of a patient appointment reminder. But, this communication medium is also a great jumping-off point to send crucial information.
For instance, due to the COVID-19 situation, both the patients and practices have to follow multiple safety protocols. You can leverage reminders to send such appointment instructions. Apart from including the practice location, you can also add the facility block number or the specific area to avail their health service. This is an effective way of ensuring patients know exactly where to go rather than crowding in the front office.
Patient appointment reminders have time and again proved to be an effective strategy for minimizing no-shows. But, to take the maximum advantage, appointment reminders need to be interactive and focus on building patient engagement. Contact us to know how your practice can leverage CheckinAsyst and its automated patient appointment reminders to maintain the steady flow of patients and revenue.