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The Magic Word That Unlocks Your Schedule

QueueDr is introducing a new series of blog posts based on our analysis of 24,000 customer cancellations that QueueDr has helped automatically fill in the last couple months. After analyzing these cancellations we learned many things, some very surprising. These posts will provide insight on scheduling, optimization, patient behavior, and the crazy world of healthcare. Enjoy!

One word is all it takes…

When QueueDr texts patients asking them if they want an earlier appointments, patients are asked to reply with one word to claim that slot. We use a rotating (and growing) list of 235 words in our quest to discover the ‘magic’ reply word that will grab the attention of patients and get them to text back, filling your cancellation. We test generic words like “yes” and “okay,” as well as less intuitive, more fun offerings like “Jazz.”

Which words are magical?

Put another way, which magic word relied the highest fill rate? Below are the magic words that patients texted back to fill the highest percentage of appointments:

  1. Booking
  2. Delightful
  3. Approves
  4. Jazz (honorable mention)

As you can see, the words with the highest fill-rate are not noticeably similar. It makes sense that dead-on action-words like “Booking” “Approves” would elicit a high fill-rate. But what to make of “Delightful” and Jazz”? While both words have positive connotations, neither has anything to do with healthcare. Is it the fun factor? We’re not sure if there’s a rabbit in this hat. What’d you think?

Out of curiosity, which words are not so magical?

We’re glad you asked. There are absolutely words that patients do not seem to want to reply with and that we removed from circulation.

  1. Get
  2. Healthy
  3. Commit

Similar to the magical words, these low-fill-rate words don’t have much correlation to one another. One would think that “Get” would benefit from its concision, but it’s actually the word with the lowest fill-rate of all 235! Could it be that “Get,” is being interpreted as the colloquial shorthand for “get away,” a negative sentiment, rather than it’s traditional ‘to acquire’ definition? Is “Healthy” unpopular because it’s unintuitive? – why are you seeing a doctor if you’re “healthy?” And “Commit”, it’s so ominous!

What’s in a word?

The word a patient texts back seems like a small part of filling a cancellation, however, these “magic” words give us keen insight into the psychology of patients looking to see their providers sooner. Our data suggests that positivity has more influence than negativity or blandness. Might this be a lesson for offices trying to prevent no-shows via appointment reminders? Instead of confirming with a patient with a bland “Your appointment is tomorrow at 1 am”, how about a “We are so excited to see you tomorrow at 1 am!”. We are still further investigating this phenomenon, testing new words weekly to find out just how long this handkerchief is! We’ll keep you posted on our findings.


Founder of QueueDr