One of the primary concerns vexing clinicians and office managers in any healthcare setting is how to get every patient to show up for their appointment. Most patients do show up, but a fairly significant number of people who you put on the schedule still end up canceling or simply not coming at the scheduled time.
The Costs of Missed Appointments
No-shows cost your clinic a lot in lost revenue – you won’t get paid for that patient’s appointment, but you also miss out on the chance to schedule someone in that slot. In fact, one study estimated that no-shows cost U.S. healthcare providers $150 billion a year, an average of $200 per time slot. Since you still have to pay your staff to be there and pay your rent and other costs for equipment, missed appointments definitely impact your bottom line.
Besides the economic impact, there is also a negative consequence for the patient. Missing appointments interrupts continuity of care and makes it harder to monitor things like medication or chronic health conditions. It’s also difficult to discuss important preventive screenings and treat acute conditions when someone doesn’t come for an appointment.
The Best Way to Prevent No-Shows
For decades, clinics interested in reminding patients about an appointment have used phone calls to remind patients. This is certainly better than nothing, but it requires a significant investment of time by your staff members, taking them away from other duties like patient check-in, check-out, and insurance verification. You are likely only going to get time for one phone call reminder prior to an appointment, so you have to time it perfectly, not too soon or too late to avoid cancellations. Plus you have to contend with the high level of spam calls today and the fact that many patients won’t answer their phone. Your staff can leave a message, but it’s impossible to know if that message reaches the person on time.
A better option is to use a combination of automated text messages and emails to remind patients about upcoming appointments. Appointment reminder software allows you to create a series of automated reminders that start about a week in advance of an appointment (via email) and continue until the day before the appointment (via text message).
Text messages are one of the most effective methods of communication. A full 99% of texts are opened, and 90% are opened and read within 3 minutes of sending.
One important consideration before signing up for a patient texting reminder service is to work with a company that has experience and expertise in HIPAA compliance. Sending text messages through a non-secure platform could put your practice at risk for HIPAA violations.
Get Your Effective Appointment Reminder System Today
To learn more about how effective automated text reminders are, contact AdvancedMD today. We offer an industry-leading appointment reminder system that easily integrates with your scheduling system to reduce no-shows with simple workflows that are easy on staff too.