One of the challenges your practice likely faces is the amount of missed appointments you see each week. You know most of your patients don’t necessarily mean to miss their appointments, but a lot of times they simply forget about them. The most obvious solution is to send your patients reminders about their upcoming appointments. But are your reminder messages really effective? It’s pointless to spend the time sending reminders if your patients won’t see them or if they don’t give enough information to be helpful. Here are three elements to include in your appointment reminders to make sure they have the desired effect.
- Use different channels
- Include the details
- Ask for confirmation
Use Different Appointment Reminder Channels
Every patient is different, so every patient’s communication preferences are going to be different too. Some patients will want to be reminded about their appointments through an email or a text message. A few patients might love getting that phone call from your office before every appointment. If you ask how your patients want to be contacted—and then contact them that way—they are more likely to see the reminder and show up to their appointment. Don’t spend time calling the patients who would rather get a text or email reminder.
Include the Details
The point of the reminder is to help your patients remember the details of their appointment. So don’t leave any of them out! Including the date and time of the appointment is great, but it’s not enough. Your patients are busy, and probably have a lot of appointments scheduled. List the name of the doctor they will be seeing, and your office location in your reminder. That way they will have all of the information about their appointment in one place.
Ask for an Appointment Confirmation
Whether you send the reminders through email, text message, or phone call, always give your patients the opportunity to respond. Automated phone calls through PRM software ask your patients to press a certain key to confirm, and the response is recorded. Email and text messages can also ask your patients to confirm their appointment with a response, and those are stored in the platform as well. A confirmation lets your staff know the patient has seen the reminder, and it also gives the patient a sense of commitment to the appointment. Your staff can also easily see which patients haven’t confirmed, and reach out to them to make sure they saw the reminder.
Effective appointment reminders can make a huge impact in the number of missed appointments in your practice. Click here to learn more tips to create better reminders.