Why 3 is the magic number when setting Appointment Reminders.
Automated appointment reminders are emails or sms or phone calls send beforehand to remind the Patient of an upcoming appointment. By sending automated appointment reminders for a patient’s upcoming appointments, you are helping to ensure your patient’s health stays at the top of their mind. But there are also other important aspects that these reminders take care of like reducing No Shows and also improving Patient Satisfaction. No one may ever tell this directly but at times your patients’ day is scheduled down to the minute such that they even cannot answer their phone, even if you were to call them to remind of their appointment. Hence sending a friendly reminder via SMS will be much appreciated by the patient who has had no time to stop and answer their phone call. This not only gets the job done of reminding your patient but can save you and your staff’s valuable time can be used to better manage the patients’ waiting in the Clinic.
By now you have understood the importance of automated reminders, but how many reminders should you send to a patient? How do we calculate how many have become too many? According to a recently published article by the “The American Journal Of Managed Care” (you can find the link here: https://tinyurl.com/szgdush), Two automated reminders were more effective than 1 in reducing missed appointments and did not reduce visit satisfaction.
Now that I have shown you how many is not too many, let us also understand at what time these reminders should be sent out. But let us not for
The 2nd Reminder
In an ideal situation, the first reminder should be sent out either 3 or 2 days before the appointment and at the exact time, the appointment is scheduled for. Sending this first reminder a few days in advance gives the patient enough time to reschedule the appointment in case of any unforeseen situation which would have let to the patient missing the scheduled appointment on the day. Also, we as human beings are creatures of habit. If for every appointment that a patient has, if an appointment reminder is sent on the exact time of the appointment, then it develops a habit where it becomes difficult to forget about it.
The 3rd Reminder
Similarly, the second reminder can be sent a day before the appointment. This not only reminds the patient but also allows them to plan out the next day accordingly or reschedule if necessary.
Missed appointments have a negative impact on your clinic. The time wasted in waiting for a No Show could have been used by attending another patient. Since no clinic would want to lose its patients due to a no show, they can always send such patients another friendly reminder that they have missed their appointment.
The benefits of automated appointment reminders that you can take away are
- It helps reduce No Shows – reminding patients of their appointments.
- It keeps your clinic to-of-mind – your clinic name will show up on their phone.
- It makes scheduling and rescheduling a smoother process – Confirmation allow you to better predict your day and rescheduling can be made before an appointment is missed.
Appointment reminders are important to keep your patients in the loop. An intelligent practice management system should have an option for automated appointment reminder that allows you to do it in a way that is efficient, trackable, and user-friendly.
Start sending appointment reminders today!!!!