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Automated Appointment Reminders: Why You Should be Using Them

woman holding phone - calendar text reminders for appointments

Automated Appointment Reminders: 7 Reasons Why You Should be Using Them

Across the United States, between 5 and 30 percent of patients don’t show up for appointments. And every year, these appointments cost providers approximately $150 billion.

Adults are forgetful. And the older we get, the more things it seems there are to remember. Between work, bills, family, and the many other facts of life, it’s hard to keep track of everything.

Studies show that the average adult forgets 3 things a day. Whether it’s an event or a chore, we’re all guilty of forgetting. Every adult could benefit from an automated appointment reminder.

There are many benefits to using automated appointment software at your office.

Why Do Patients Miss Appointments?

Before we delve into the many ways in which automated appointment reminders will benefit your business, let’s take a look at why patients miss their appointments.

It is common in busy health systems to require patients to book weeks ahead to get an appointment. Unfortunately, booking that far ahead can cause a patient to miss their appointment because by the time it rolls around, they’ve already forgotten. Automated appointment reminders will ensure that they don’t miss their appointments and that they don’t have to bear the weight of remembering them in the first place. 

Some patients can’t afford to take work off when an appointment rolls around. And some simply don’t have the funds or the copay amount to spare when it’s time to go to an appointment. It can be embarrassing for someone to face the fact that they can’t afford a $50 copay, but a text reminder is an easy way to encourage them to cancel without having to make that call.

Some people don’t have the means to get to an appointment. Cars break down, and some people live far away from their healthcare providers. When the day comes to go to an appointment, patients aren’t always able to take the time away from work to take the public transportation required to make it to an appointment.

Many things come up, and patients don’t always feel comfortable calling or remember to call to cancel. But an appointment reminder with a text reply option is much more inviting than the burden of having to call and cancel over the phone. Our recommendation is three reminders. one the day the appointment is booked, one five days before the appointment and one the day before the appointment. Each reminder show gives the patient the opportunity to cancel or reschedule  if they cannot make their appointment. 

Some Patients Don’t Care

Some patients don’t make any effort to make a note of or remember to go to an appointment. They rely entirely on the doctor’s office to remind them and inform them of when an appointment is coming up.

They don’t keep track of their appointments, and as a result, if they aren’t reminded, they don’t show up. It’s not that they don’t care about the office or their appointment. They just expect the office to take the responsibility of reminding them, both days before and the day of, to go to an appointment.

Patients either have to pay a co-pay or at the very least, pay hundreds of dollars a month for health insurance. The least they can expect of their doctor’s offices is to be reminded of their appointments.

Encouraging patients to cancel is a good thing. That way, patients won’t feel so bad about canceling that they’d rather avoid and not show up. If they feel comfortable communicating and canceling, it’s better for business.

Why Automate Appointment Reminders?

1. It’s The Most Efficient Way to Communicate

The average adult spends almost 4 hours a day on their phone. So it makes sense to use their most popular means of communication to send reminders about appointments.

Hardly anyone carries around a calendar or a planner anymore. While a patient might believe they’ll remember an appointment when they make one, they don’t always do it. And even if you hand out appointment cards, some appointments are so far out that by the time it rolls around, that card is long gone.

Why not save your office time and money by using that accessible means of communication to remind your patients of their upcoming appointments?

2. You Can Better Communicate with No-Shows

While it can be frustrating when patients don’t show up, life does happen. And the last thing you’d want is for that to be your last form of communication.

With automated appointment reminders, you can set up follow-up notifications as well. That way, if a patient misses an appointment and completely forgot, you can notify them that they were absent and encourage them to reschedule.

RELATED: The Definitive Guide to No-Shows

This will reduce your overall no-show rate, save you money, and show your patients that you care about their well-being.

3. Your Staff Will Be Happier

With appointment reminder apps, your staff will get a break. Think about how much time they spend calling people to remind them of appointments, inform them that they missed appointments, or that they owe on a bill?

Automated appointment reminders can be programmed to answer questions, and they can be sent all at once. They can also be used to reschedule appointments and measure overall satisfaction. 

Using software to perform all of these tasks will free up your staff significantly, so they can focus on higher value tasks. They’ll be happier and less stressed as it will, without a doubt, make their jobs easier.

4. You’ll Improve Patient Satisfaction

While you may think that your patients don’t want to be harassed, reminding them of upcoming appointments is nothing of the sort. Your patients want to feel valued even when they’re not there and communicating in a way that’s easiest for them is the best way to do so.

Productive interactions will only improve patient satisfaction and increase the likelihood of them coming back to you. Plus, you can use automated software to get feedback on the quality of your service, without making patients feel pressured to provide feedback when they’re at the office.

5. You’ll Save Time and Money

We said it before, and we’ll say it again. No-shows account for lost revenue. When your patients receive up-to-date regular messages reminding them of their appointments or any bills they need to pay, they’ll be much less likely to skip or forget an appointment.

Plus, your front desk staff won’t spend hours a week calling house phones and other numbers, only to leave messages that are never returned. 

6. No Technical Expertise or Maintenance Required

With automated software, there are apps and tools available that are ready to use. Many of them are hosted online and work with any type of telephone. 

Once your staff gets used to the change, they won’t ever want to look back to the days of manually making call after call.

No regular maintenance is required, and the systems are easy to use.

7. Your Patients Will Be Healthier

Many Americans use their phones all day every day for both work and personal reasons. Opting to use that same source to communicate with your patients will encourage them to take responsibility for their health and their appointments. 

The more efficiently you communicate, the more seriously your patients will take you as a provider, and themselves as patients.

With reminders, patients are more likely to attend their appointments, which means that they’ll be healthier and better cared for in the long run. They’ll appreciate your dedication to the importance of every appointment for their well-being, and they’ll want to make sure they put in the same effort for your office and for themselves.

Automated Appointment Reminder Software Will Only Make Things Easier

Has your front desk staff ever voiced their frustrations toward having to make call after call to remind patients of their appointments?

Have you ever heard a patient apologize profusely because they simply forgot an appointment? And have you ever felt like a patient wanted to provide feedback but didn’t feel comfortable doing so in person?

Automated appointment reminder software can help with all of those issues. Not only will you save time and money by implementing this software into the inner workings of your medical organization, but your patients and your staff will appreciate the change as well. Do you want to learn more about an award-winning OnDemand Schedule Management Software that will save your healthcare system  time and money? Learn more by scheduling a demo!