Patient engagement using text messages

Boost Patient Engage With Medical Appointment Reminders

With so many factors vying for their attention, it can be difficult to keep patients active in their own care. Subpar patient engagement can lead to missed appointments, lost revenue, and patient dissatisfaction. Long hold times, maze-like websites, and unclear communication channels can all exacerbate this problem.

One way to make healthcare more accessible and interactive is using patient appointment reminders. With automatic appointment reminders, you can reduce no shows, streamline communications, and improve patient satisfaction. Below, you can learn more about the benefits of automated patient appointment reminders. We'll also share a few strategies for making your email, phone, and automated sms messages more engaging.

Why Do Patients Miss Appointments?

Understanding why patients appointments might result in no-shows or last-minute cancellations can help improve patient engagement. A 2019 study pointed to several factors--forgetfulness, difficulty getting to the clinic, conflicting obligations, and long wait times ranked among the top reasons that patients missed their appointments.

With work, family, and other life obligations, it's easy for patients to forget they have an appointment in the hubbub of daily life. Appointment reminders are a simple way to cut through other distractions and help patients remember that they have an upcoming appointment.

With enough advance notice, an appointment reminder can also help patients ensure they have transportation arranged in preparation, so they won't be stuck trying to find a ride the day of. They'll be able to show up on time and less stressed.

Of course, even a robust patient reminder system can't eliminate all missed appointments. Last minute work and family obligations still happen, as well as financial difficulties and unexpected weather events. However, reminders can help your patients manage their schedule more effectively, and your clients will have a direct line of contact to confirm or reschedule services. Here's just a few of the benefits of patient reminders.

Why Use Patient Reminders?

Limit No Shows

It's not uncommon for patients to schedule follow-up appointments months in advance. Even if your practice has an online portal where patients can view an online calendar, it's easy for them to forget. The hassle of rescheduling and the chagrin of paying a cancellation fee can create a negative patient experience.

Timely reminders can be the nudge patients need to show up on-time with the proper documentation. If your practice is located in a hospital or healthcare complex, you can also provide directions to make sure patients don't wind up lost and frustrated.

Simplify Communication

If your practice is part of a larger network or has multiple providers, patients may find it difficult to figure out who they need to call. Automated patient reminders provide a direct channel for patient communication. By providing a callback number or offering the option to respond to a text directly, you make it easy for patients to confirm or reschedule their appointment. They'll also know who to contact with any questions.

Provide Essential Information

Missing insurance cards, incomplete paperwork, or inadequate documentation can complicate a patient visit or require rescheduling altogether. With an appointment reminder, you can let clients know what they should bring to their scheduled appointment. You can also provide a link to digital forms and details on your location. With all these details squared away before the appointment, you'll have no trouble day-of, which creates a better patient experience.

Empower Patients to Take Charge of Their Care

A patient that feels well-informed and in control of their healthcare is a happy patient. Appointment reminders help patients ask questions and show up confident in their choices. These communication tools can provide valuable info at every stage of the patient journey. You can also use phone calls, emails, and text messages as gentle reminders when it's time for patients to schedule a follow-up, update information, view test results, and more.

Help Your Practice Run More Smoothly

From consent forms to insurance details to payment processing info--managing documentation for a medical practice is no small feat. A thorough paper trail helps providers with patient communications. Proper document management is also vital to remain hipaa compliant. Automated patient reminders make a major part of daily administration easier, and free up time during your business hours to serve more patients.

How to Make Appointment Reminders Engaging

A recent survey of the Veteran's Health Administration found that more than 12% of scheduled appointments were no-shows, resulting in lost revenue of more than 500 million dollars. The professionals conducting this study recommend several best practices for making appointment reminders as effective as possible. Try these strategies to cut down on no shows and make your reminders convenient for patients.

Keep Appointment Reminders Simple

Your appointment reminders are competing with dozens of other pieces of information--texts from friends, marketing messages, work emails, and more. To maximize the likelihood that patients get the information they need, prioritize the important pieces of information. At a glance, patients should be able to see their appointment location, date, provider name, and details on cancelling or rescheduling.

Include Key Details

Simplicity shouldn't leave patients confused or under-informed. Come the day of the appointment, you don't want patients running behind, stuck wandering hospital halls, or missing key documents. These frustrations can turn into no shows and missed appointments. When patients receive their email, phone call, or text message reminder, it should include key information for their visit.

For example, you may want to include a link to a map of your location within a healthcare complex. You should also provide a direct phone line so patients can contact your office if they're lost or running late. Consent forms and insurance paperwork can be provided ahead of time to minimize the time patients spend waiting in your office.

Communicate Through Multiple Channels

Utilizing multiple forms of communication makes it more likely that your patients will remember their scheduled appointments. An email a week before the appointment followed by text messages in the lead-up and a phone call the day before make it more likely that patients will see at least one of your attempts to reach them.

Don't Send Too Many Appointment Reminders

Communicating through multiple channels shouldn't mean flooding your patients with too much info. Repeated attempts to reach a patient may lead to them tuning out your messaging or event blocking them as spam.

Make Information Actionable

Give your patients the option to receive appointment reminders in the way that suits them best. Some might prefer the directness of phone calls, while others will prefer the simplicity of text messaging. Whatever channel you're communicating through, clients should have the choice to opt-in or out, and the ability to respond to the information they're receiving by confirming their appointment or contacting your office with any questions.

Personalize Your Messaging

Last but not least, patients like to feel like they're an individual, not just another number in your system. Reminders should feel like a polite request, not a demand. You can also use patient and provider names to provide a more personable touch to your communications. Your patients will feel like they're a person meeting with another person, not a faceless entity in a big system.

Give Reminderly a Try

Running your practice efficiently and improving patient engagement is easy with the tools that Reminderly puts at your fingertips. With support for email, text, and phone calls as well as multiple languages, it's an easy to way to cut down on no shows and improve revenue.

With the ability to set automated reminders for different service and appointment types, you can customize your messaging to add a personalized tone to your patient appointment reminders. You can use it at every stage of the patient journey--from patient reminders to post-service surveys.

To get started with automated patient reminders or see if you could improve your current appointment reminder system, try Reminderly with a no-risk 14 day trial. Create your free account, no credit card required, and see how automated reminders can boost patient engagement.

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