10 Things To Avoid When Sending A Medical Appointment Reminder

By Jamie Frew on Jun 16, 2024.

Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

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Impact of patient no shows on healthcare businesses

In every healthcare practice, no-shows are something practitioners are all too familiar with. Patients failing to show up, due to legitimate reasons or otherwise, can result in major business costs, and severely impact patient health. On average, each clinician loses around $200 per unused time slot, which is significant when considering the technological resources and other advancements that could have been invested into. Losing revenue is never a positive, and no-shows can also compromise the quality of care, which results in a reduction in patient satisfaction, as well as staffing imbalances and expenses.  

To provide high-quality continuity of care, it is important that you implement preventative measures to ensure that patients show up on time, and don’t forget about their appointments. A great way to do this is by using healthcare business software to create optimized appointment schedules, that allow you to see as many patients as resources allow. Additionally, you can reduce no shows with automated appointment reminders, which are customizable to your business needs. You can remind patients in advance of their upcoming appointments, at any time period that you choose.

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Avoiding no shows with medical appointment reminders

Medical appointment reminders are the best way to engage patients, and ensure that they turn up to their appointments on time. Using text appointment reminders, you can significantly reduce no-shows, and alleviate financial and temporal strains on your business, with all resources maximized and used efficiently. Considering that text messages are the most preferred communication method in the US, with over 292 million text messaging users, it makes complete sense that this is a highly effective tool to connect with patients. It provides patients with a more managerial role in their healthcare journey, and allows them to respond within their own time. This also requires minimal effort on your behalf, as automation can make appointment reminding super easy! Your patients will come to love and appreciate the care taken with a modern method of healthcare delivery. 

10 things to avoid when sending out medical appointment reminders

To guide you in the process of incorporating medical appointment reminders, we have collated the top 10 things you should avoid. This way, you can ensure that you are providing the highest level of care for your patients, and that you are preventing major costs associated with no-shows. 

  1. Long wait times - No one likes to be kept waiting, and certainly not patients when it comes to their health. Quick service is a good indication of a successful business, and so you need to ensure that medical reminders work towards skipping long phone waits, and make appointment scheduling easy. 
  2. Unanswered questions - You need to make sure that every patient concern or query is addressed, and that when they are scheduling appointments, they have the option to speak to staff members who directly answer their questions. 
  3. Using a non-cloud platform - Whatever the size of your business, it would be a great disservice to not take advantage of the cloud healthcare communication platforms out there. You can easily create optimized appointment booking systems, with free reminders to boost patient engagement. Software for private practices is almost certainly the way to go when it comes to streamlining your appointments. 
  4. Poor voice quality - It is important that you have good audio in the case that you need to consult with patients, as they need to be able to hear everything you say. There’s nothing worse than miscommunication, especially when it comes to making patient appointments!
  5. Poor retainment - When it comes to appointment reminder systems, you need to make sure that you use one that increases retainment rates amongst your patients. You should have an easy follow-up process, with text, voice, and email avenues so you can easily contact patients. 
  6. Ignoring trends - It is important to take note of spikes in no-shows and to analyze historical data concerning your business. You can use these insights to generate business strategies to boost patient engagement, prevent further loss of patients, and reduce no-shows. 
  7. Make assumptions - You shouldn’t ever make assumptions, especially when it comes to scheduling appointment times. Doing so may mean that patients don’t get a long enough appointment time, and critical health details could be missed, which can be detrimental to the patient’s health.  
  8. Be short on appointments - It is important that you have the right number of appointments available for all of your patients, and while we acknowledge that this isn’t always possible, you should aim for it. A waiting list can serve as a backup for patients who still need to be seen. 
  9. Poor timing - Make sure that your appointments are scheduled at optimal times to promote patient responses. 

Dos for scheduling appointments

Now that you know what to avoid, it is best to also know what to incorporate into your services to elevate the quality of care for patients, and ensure that you are making the most of your appointment scheduling services. 

  1. Employ the right software - Make sure that you take care researching cloud communication options to effectively implement appointment reminders. This includes choosing a platform that is HIPAA compliant, and is integrated with features that can streamline business processes.
  2. Schedule reminders - Having automated reminders is the easiest way to remind patients of upcoming appointments without strenuous effort. You can plan specific times and dates to send out reminders to increase the likelihood of patient engagement, a super easy thing to do!
  3. Integrated systems - Your appointment software should be compatible with EMR or PMS systems to ensure that patient information is correct and up-to-date. 
  4. Establish policies - Make sure that you clearly outline appointment scheduling policies and standards for your staff to adhere to, as well as clarify any concerns for patients. Your patients should be able to easily understand what is expected from them when booking an appointment, and the consequences that not showing up will incur.
  5. Be concise - Send short, to-the-point reminders to ensure that patients can easily extract valuable information. We all have busy lives, and no one wants to spend time having to analyze information in order to understand the crux of the matter.  

Take home message

Medical appointment reminders are the easiest way to boost patient engagement, reduce costly no-shows, and enhance the quality, continuation, and coordination of care within your practice. With the right software platform, such as Carepatron, you can easily create optimized schedules that accommodate your resource constraints, and you can also provide free reminders. Patients are far more likely to show up to their appointments when notified in advance, and this way, you can do what you do best; treat those who are in need. 

Try Carepatron to automate your appointment reminders today!

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