Data Analysis Uncovers Optimal Patient Reminder Timing

Posted on Mar 06, 2019 by Solutionreach

Three is the magic number: Ideal frequency and timing of appointment reminders increases confirmation an average of 156 percent

Solutionreach, the leader in patient relationship management (PRM) solutions, today released a study that identifies best practices for patient reminder frequency and timing for healthcare organizations.

3 magic num imageThe company used advanced analytics to gain insights gathered from 20 million confirmation messages. The data proved the additive nature of reminder messages as well as which messages are not beneficial. Analysis found that in comparison to upcoming appointments without an automated reminder message:

  • A weekly message, sent less than one month but more than seven days ahead of the appointment, increases confirmations by 126 percent
  • A daily message sent less than seven days but more than 24 hours ahead, increases confirmations by another 26 percent
  • An hourly message sent the same day, increased confirmations further by four percent

The combined improvement in confirmations with three messages sent weekly, daily, and hourly was 156 percent. The study also found the use of an at-scheduling message, or one sent right after an appointment is scheduled, had no impact on confirmations when the appointment is more than a month away.

The timing of reminder messages was also evaluated, and it turns out there is an ideal cadence before the appointment:

  • Three weeks ahead resulted in 79 percent of patients confirming appointments
  • Three to five days ahead resulted in 79 percent of patients confirming appointments

The data also show that different specialties have differing confirmation rates overall, regardless of the cadence of reminders. Dental practices have higher confirmation rates than medical practices. Specialties with lower overall confirmation rates may benefit even more from changing to an optimized cadence of reminders. In addition, the analysis showed that patient demographics - such as age - didn’t change the recommended optimal frequency and timing of reminders.

The financial impact of using an optimized reminder strategy can be significant. A practice that doesn’t use reminders can have a no-show rate as high as 30 percent. By optimizing the reminder strategy, that can be cut in half or better, saving the average provider over $170,000 a year according to the Solutionreach No-Show Calculator.

“Patient no-shows continue to be a challenge for healthcare providers with no-show rates ranging from 10 to 30 percent,” says Jim Higgins, Founder and CEO of Solutionreach. “We know that using automated reminders based on patient delivery preferences like text or email is effective at reducing no-shows, but now we know what frequency and timing has the best results as well.”

For more information, read the full study, https://www.solutionreach.com/guide/three-is-magic-number.

About Solutionreach
Solutionreach is 100 percent focused on providing the technology, and the expertise on how to effectively use it, to deliver better care and build a more profitable practice. We show practices how to improve patient experience and connect with patients in the way they want to connect. The result? More patients schedule more appointments and actually show up for them. More patients leave glowing reviews of their providers for others to see, and then they book appointments. And all patients get regular communications that keep them connected to the practice and coming back. To learn more, schedule a consultation now at www.solutionreach.com.