Most patients do not miss their appointments on purpose. Generally, the scheduled appointment has just slipped their mind. In fact, approximately 35 percent of missed appointments occur because the patient forgot it was scheduled. In a separate study, research found that 23 percent of patients who did not receive an appointment reminder did not show up for their appointment, but that number dropped nearly 6 percent when patients were reminded.
The easy solution to avoid forgotten appointments is for a practice to remind each and every patient of their upcoming visit, however, it can be tricky to make this feasible for your staff. A practice with a high volume of patients, a limited staff, or some combination of the two might find it unrealistic to call every patient. Other tasks are likely to take priority, causing some or all of the reminder calls to get missed. The task then becomes communicating in a way that consistently reaches every patient every time.
Automate the Outreach
This task can be accomplished through two major components. The first of these is to automate the outreach. Taking this task off the staff’s to-do list by making the reminders automated will ensure the communication is happening consistently every day. Every patient will receive a reminder message before every appointment, dramatically reducing the chance of them forgetting they had scheduled it. An added benefit to automating this task is the additional time the office staff now has to spend with patients already in the practice. This time can be used to better the patient experience, and improve the likelihood that the patient will return to the practice in the future.
Offer Multiple Communication Channels
The second key to improving communication is to use multiple channels to deliver the message. When patients are able to choose the way they want to be communicated with, they are more likely to pay attention to the message. Offering automated email, text messages, and phone call reminders are an easy way to ensure the practice is communicating with the patient in the way they want to be reached, and improve the chance of them keeping their scheduled appointment.
Maintaining the patient relationship through effective communication and automated appointment reminders will increase the number of patients who keep their scheduled appointments. Learn more about staying connected with your patients in our guide, No-Shows, No More.