Missed appointments = missed revenues.
Fact: Medical practices average a 15% percent no-show rate. But this number goes down drastically with the introduction of appointment reminders.
Fact: An industry survey of 2,931 practices compared no-show rates of patients who received appointment reminders with those who didn’t: Almost half the practices who didn’t use reminders had a no-show rate above 10%, but only a quarter of the practices that did use reminders had a no-show rate above 10%.
Fact: A majority of patients – a whopping 85% – want to receive digital communication from their providers.
Your medical or dental practice isn’t just a place for healing, it’s also a place of business. That’s why the familiar scourge of no-shows or missed appointments has always been a bitter pill to swallow. And it’s not just a minor inconvenience, as you know. Every no-show means lost revenue for that reserved time slot. It also means disrupted schedules, overhead costs that cannot be recouped (like staffing, rent, utilities, insurance, etc.), and of course, patient dissatisfaction. Add to that the cost of scheduling, rescheduling, and managing paperwork – and you’ve got a big direct hit to your bottom line.
Traditional Solutions: Are They Just Band-Aids?
Now, some practices are applying traditional solutions to address the problem. While these may seem to be workable solutions, are they really the way to go?
Downside of Double or Overbooking – Sure, you can book more than one patient into certain time slots to try to cover your bases. But what if all your patients actually show up, wreaking havoc on the practice? Patients will have to wait longer for their appointments, and your staff will be put under even greater pressure. The providers’ time with their patients will have to be limited, and operating expenses will rise if there is overtime to be paid. It seems more like compounding an error than solving a problem!
Drawback of Charging a No-Show Fee – Definitely justifiable in a perfect world, but practically, it’s easier said than done. Yes, charging no-show fees communicates to patients once and for all, that a medical/dental practice is just as much a business as it is a healthcare provider. And that the provider’s time and services cost money. But, how will such a fee policy make your patients feel? Would they complain publicly about your policies? Will it drive them to ditch you for the competition? And is the fee, which is probably just a fraction of your lost revenue, worth the trouble and expense of collecting it?
Disadvantage of Manual Reminders – Endless research has indicated that appointment reminders – whether by phone, postcard, email, or text message – reduce the number of no-shows by as much as 50%! The result is more efficient and profitable operations, increased patient satisfaction (a valuable benefit by any measure), and of course, a greater likelihood that they will show up. On the other hand, these manual reminders are laborious, time-consuming and expensive. Just try to add up all the time and effort expended in making phone calls, mailing postcards, sending individual emails. More important, imagine the salaries paid to your staff for all those hours!
Automated Patient Communication Tools
Your Patients Win, Your Practice Wins!
If reminders are the most effective way of dealing with no-shows, imagine a tool that will send out all of these reminders automatically. Your patients win because they get timely communications – including confirmations and reminders, promotions, and special messages – using an approach that fits their busy, perpetually-on-the-go, 21st century lifestyle. Your practice wins not only because patients who get reminders are more likely to show up for their scheduled appointments. More importantly, you establish stronger connections with your patients – all without the burdensome, expensive, and time-consuming manual methods. With an automated system, you can just set it, and forget it!
Fully Customizable: Automated Confirmations and Reminders – Send out reminders or other messages via phone, text, or email (whichever the patient prefers). Set them to the relevant provider, procedure, exam room, and all at the times and intervals of your choice. Time is money – and THIS is a time-saving wonder.
Instant Communication: True 2-Way Texting – Your patients will love you – they no longer have to wait for hours to get an answer to a quick question. Your staff will love you – the days of fielding 10 phone calls all at once are over. Moreover, both patient and provider can initiate the text conversation – it’s just like texting with family and friends. Greater productivity, here we come!
Easy-Shmeezy Scheduling: Online Scheduler – Let patients schedule appointments (or wait-list themselves for preferred dates) online, 24/7. Of course, you control all the parameters – including which providers, procedures, and exam rooms can be scheduled online. You also determine the length of various procedures based on specific providers (which only you can see, not your patients). Yes, the system is THAT customizable.
A Click Away to the Next Level of Patient Care: Patient Communication Center – Want to communicate last-minute schedule changes, emergency closures, or other pertinent data? Need a speedy way for patients to contact you with questions and concerns – and for you to reply fast? This feature lets both of you quickly text or e-mail each other. Because time is of the essence to patient and provider, important info is just a click away!
Relationship Builder: Automated Patient Messaging – It takes more than appointment reminders to show patients you care. How about welcome messages to new patients? Or pre- or post-op instructions? Or healthcare updates? You can do it all via automated text, phone, or email. You no longer have to lift a finger to lift your patient’s spirits!
Find out what our Appointment Reminder software can do for your practice – risk-free!
Contact us for a 30-day FREE TRIAL.
Patient Communicator is a state-of-the-art software especially designed for medical and dental practitioners. A win-win system for both your patients and your practice, its sophisticated features make no-shows a thing of the past. At the same time, they make it easier for patients to book appointments online, and for providers to build stronger relationships with their patients, increase revenues, and grow their practice.
About the author: Meir is the founder and CEO of Patient Communicator, a simple but feature rich platform that helps medical and dental practices of all kinds to better communicate with their patients. Meir is passionate about helping practices grow by enhancing the patient experience and improving practice efficiency. Learn more about Meir and Patient Communicator here.