Hopefully by now, you’ve figured out that appointment reminders are the most effective way to reduce the number of no-shows in your practice. And with a great patient communication software, automating these reminders means that without any phone time for your staff, every patient is reminded of every appointment. That’s pretty great, right?
But how many times have you had a patient come to an appointment unprepared? Maybe they needed to fast for 24 hours so you could perform some tests. Maybe they needed to bring their retainer so you could check the fit, or they needed to wear their glasses instead of contacts. It’s great that the patient remembered the appointment and showed up on time, but it can be a waste of time for both you and your patient if they aren’t prepared for their appointment.
One way to combat this is to assign a member of your staff to call every patient who has to follow special instructions before their appointment. That way patients are reminded to fast or bring necessary accessories before their appointment. But that takes a lot of time, and since most people don’t actually answer incoming phone calls, there is a high chance your staff will be leaving voice mail messages that won’t be heard in time to do any good. The point of automating reminder messages is so you don’t have to spend hours on the phone, so making these calls defeats the purpose.
Instead of going back to the old-school process of phone calls, choose a patient communication software that allows you to insert dynamic messages into appointment reminders. With dynamic messaging, you can include specific instructions in the automated reminder the patient is already receiving. Based on the CPT or CDT codes used in your existing practice management system, additional information can be automatically added to the reminder.
These dynamic appointment reminders can contain a variety of instructions patients need to follow prior to their appointment, such as:
- Fasting for a certain length of time
- Completing lab work
- Bringing medication, retainers, eye glasses, or any other accessories
- Arriving early to complete paperwork
- Bringing insurance cards or other paperwork
Some of these things may seem obvious. It might even feel unnecessary to remind patients, especially after your practice staff has already given them all these instructions when the appointment was scheduled. But life gets busy, and providing this additional reminder increases the likelihood your patients will be prepared for their appointment.
Without any extra time for your office staff, you can add instructions to appointment reminders based on the type of appointment scheduled. Instead of hoping patients remember the instructions they were given at the time of scheduling or trying to reach each patient manually, you can set these reminders to be automatically included in appointment reminders. Not only will this decrease the amount of phone-time in your practice, but it will also decrease the number of appointments that must be rescheduled because patients weren’t prepared.
For more information on the ways automated appointment reminders can help your practice, download our white paper ‘No-Shows No More.’