Patient appointment reminders have become the most preferred strategies for most practices to minimize no-shows from the patients. And, with a research stating that appointment reminders via SMS have reduced no-show rates by 39%, there is no reason why practices wouldn’t want to cash it in.
However, merely setting up the appointment reminders doesn’t work!
Below is an example of the sample patient reminder:
(“Hi, you have an upcoming appointment. Please arrive at the facility.”)
The above model doesn’t provide sufficient appointment details. When is the appointment? What if they planned to reschedule the appointment? Do the patient arrive at the facility today?
Reminders of such kind confuse your patients and even irk them. Hence, it is important, you need to ensure that your appointment reminders push your patient show-up rates and build better patient engagement. How? Here are few strategies that might help you.
The 3 strategies you can adopt to set up effective, engaging patient appointment reminders are here:
1. Automation is the only option
Your staff might be busy calling an endless list of patients to confirm about their appointments, all at the same time. This could be exhausting for them and when your staff is overloaded, there is high chance of creating negative experiences for your patients.
Besides that, your patients feel disconnected due to the lack of communication, and with the staff’s attention divided, they are left stressed in a crowded front office. On the other hand, your staff could quickly get burned out doing such repetitive tasks. Hence, manually sending patient appointment reminders isn’t a practical option anymore.
When automated appointment reminders are the choice, then you take away the heavy load from your staff. You also have better options to engance the patient experience by sending consistent reminders through their preferred channel like email, SMS, etc.
2. Send action needed reminders
No one likes a one-sided conversation, Right? Let’s look at this example,
Below is an example:
“Hello, you have an appointment on 14/04/2021, at 10 AM.”
This appointment reminder gives no chance for the patient to respond or interact, compromising on the patient engagement, with one-way communication, they have no idea how to reschedule the appointment. Even after sending 2 to 3 reminders, this particular appointment will lead to a no-show from them. It spoils the whole purpose of sending appointment reminders.
Actionable appointment reminders open up the communication channel and allow the patients to confirm, cancel or reschedule their appointment as per their choices. It can be a small ‘Text Yes to Confirm’ messaging or a more detailed text message. Practices can be specific to a clear, actionable message to make appointment reminders actually worthy.
3. You can make the most of appointment reminders
Mainly, sending scheduled appointment details is the basics of a patient appointment reminder. However, this communication is also a great jumping-off point to send crucial information.
For example, due to the COVID-19, both the patients and practices have to follow multiple safety protocols unfortunately. You can leverage patient reminders to send such appointment instructions. Apart from including the only the practice location, you can also add the facility block area or the specific block to avail their health service. This is on of the effective way of ensuring patients know exactly where to go.
Patient appointment reminders have again proved to be the most effective strategy for minimizing no-shows from the patients. But, to make the most out of it, appointment reminders need to be interesting, interactive and focus on building patient engagement ultimately.