How many no-show appointments do you experience in your schedule each month? If you’re like most practices, you probably get several. Whether patients simply forget and don’t show up, have challenges like transportation that prevent them from coming, or want to reschedule and aren’t able to reach your office by phone before the appointment, there are a number of reasons people miss appointments.
When a patient doesn’t show up for an appointment, you lose revenue and lose the opportunity to schedule another patient in that slot, which leads to longer wait times for everyone to get into your clinic. The key to reducing no-shows is using effective reminders.
Text Appointment Reminders
It probably won’t surprise you to know that 97% of people in the U.S. send or receive text messages at least once in a day, and 92% of the population owns a smartphone that has SMS texting capabilities. Around 9 in 10 text messages are read within 3 minutes of receipt, which makes it an effective means of communication with just about everyone. Clinics that use text message appointment reminders find that they can significantly reduce the total number of no-show appointments. Those who need to reschedule can easily do so, allowing the clinic to slot a different patient into the appointment time.
When you do get a cancellation with short notice, the right texting platform can also allow you to send a quick message to patients who have an appointment several days or weeks in the future to ask if they would like to reschedule. Since most people read and respond to texts immediately, this can help you fill slots on short notice.
Email Reminders & Patient Check-In
In addition to your reminder text, sending patients a reminder by email is another way to keep the appointment top of mind. You can send it two to four days before the appointment and include a link for the patient to fill out intake forms and check in prior to arriving. This can streamline patient check-in procedures and provide another touch point to remind someone about an appointment.
Rescheduling as Needed
When you use these reminders, one of the most important things that you should be doing is including an easy way for patients to let you know if they can’t make it and need to reschedule. That could be a specific reply in a text message, or a link to contact you from an email reminder. When you offer patients this easy method for rescheduling, they’re more likely to let you know well in advance, giving you enough time to schedule someone else in that spot.
We can help you get an effective text and email reminder system set up if you don’t have one. Call us to learn more about the platforms and services we offer.