As noted in a recent post, letting patients self-schedule appointments online can turn lookers into bookers.
Unfortunately, that still doesn’t guarantee that they’ll show up. According to the Harvard Business Review, such no-shows cost the U.S. healthcare system $150 billion way back in 2006, and it’s a safe bet that the figure has only climbed in the decade since.
Automated appointment reminders can help. As this infographic from TeleVox Solutions suggests, such systems free up staff members’ for other work (increasing efficiency), coordinate with patients’ schedules and lifestyles better (e.g., evening contacts, etc.), and utilize newer technologies (e.g., SMS) to increase the odds that patients will, indeed, show up:
The best appointment-reminder system is the one patients prefer to access
If self-scheduling is about respecting patients’ interest in convenience, automating appointment reminders is about respecting their preferences in communication. According to a Columbia University study, patients’ top preferences (in descending order) were 1) cell phone, 2) home phone, 3) text message, 4) and, direct mail and email (tie). But since every practice is unique, the best approach is to incorporate a “How do you prefer to be contacted?” question in all online-, phone-, and in-person scheduling systems and use the results to ensure your reminders are received.