Everywhere you look today, automation is taking over our lives. It’s clear the old ways of running your practice are giving way to more computer-based and digital options. While it may be tempting to lament those bygone days, the truth is that to remain competitive, your practice needs to embrace automation. There are so many good things about today’s technology and the ways it is improving health care. Plus, most of these technological upgrades come with several bonuses: they save your practice time, and they can also save you money.
The Cost of No-Shows vs. Patient Reminders:
One of the automation enhancements that benefits practices most is the automated patient reminder system. According to a study done by the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Center for Family and Community Medicine Columbia University School of Nursing, automated patient reminders are successful in reducing no-shows by an average of 34 percent. In addition to the cost on a patient’s health for not following up on necessary treatment, the tangible costs of no-shows can have a severe impact on health care in general, and your bottom line specifically. Estimates to the healthcare system of patients who fail to show for appointments run upwards of $150 billion each year. If the average practice treats 24 patients a day, and an average no-show rate is 18 percent at a cost of $112 per missed appointment, your bottom line could be impacted by as much as $120,000 each year.
Continuum of Care:
Patients who miss appointments not only upset the flow of your practice, but they risk greater health issues because of the lapse in their care. Of course, not all every missed appointment can be avoided: life just happens sometimes. But patient reminders can go a long way toward preventing most missed appointments and keeping patients on track with needed care. Consistent care also saves money for patients and for practices by minimizing the need for additional care due to complications, and keeping your office on schedule.
Ever have one of those days when things are just off? All it takes is one patient who’s running behind to turn a good day on its head. Office efficiency is tied to so many areas of your practice. Automated appointment reminders can help eliminate the “I forgot,” or “What time was that again?” issue. When your office stays on schedule, the stress level is lower. This keeps your staff and patients happier, which builds loyalty in your patients and your staff.
When you hired your staff, you most likely didn’t hire them for the purpose of making phone calls most of the day. It takes time to contact all of your scheduled appointments by phone, and that is most likely time your staff could better spend on more important issues within your practice. Using automated appointment reminders, you can customize your reminders to patients so that your staff are freed from hours spent on the phone. How much more could your front office employees accomplish if they were not spending hours each day making phone calls for patient reminders? What would that increase in efficiency mean to your office?
Automated patient reminders offer cost savings, time savings, and a higher level of efficiency for your office. Patients appreciate the reminder, and the convenience of receiving messages when it’s convenient to them.
For other ways to improve efficiency in your office, check out our free guide.
Oldie but goodie! This post was originally published in Sept 2016 and updated in May 2018 as part of an on-going series highlighting popular past posts.