3 Easy Ways to Use Text Reminders that will Reduce your No-Show Rates
Struggling to deal with a ridiculous 5% to 55% no-show rate? There are many reasons why patients miss their appointments. Some lead a very busy life, some get confused, or some find unpaid time-off simply discouraging. Whatever their reason may be, you know it is part of your legal duty as a doctor to make sure your patients are in their best state of health possible.
Some patients are courteous enough to reschedule their appointment with you, but what about those who don’t at all?
To reduce no-show rates and missed appointments, doctors and dentists alike must put a system in place for reminding their patients to show up at the clinic. Based on studies, implementing a multi-method approach has been proven to lower no-show rates from 33% to 17.7%. And text reminders are one of the few ways to do it.
How can you use text reminders for your business?
Follow up on patients ahead of time
Blood tests, CT scans and other physical examinations that are important to diagnosing a patient’s medical case may require a lot of visits. It will be extremely helpful to remind your patients 3 days before their scheduled visit via a text message.
To encourage them to take action, use a command phrase:
“Reminder: You have an upcoming blood test on 02/04/2018. Reply YES to confirm attendance. Reply NO to reschedule appointment.”
Send text reminders to patients with urgent issues
If the medical visits are for checkups, it is not advisable to routinely call or text your patients. However, reach out more frequently to those who have serious issues that must be discussed as soon as possible.
If some of your patients have been out of reach because they have moved somewhere else, know that you did everything you could. Though it’s always a good idea to give them some medical advice on what they could do there while they can’t visit your clinic.
Additionally, make sure to have all conversations documented in order to avoid lawsuits related to missed appointments.
Allow patients to reschedule their visit via SMS
It’s not a big deal if your patients can’t show up today. But if you want them to be able to reschedule their visit in the most convenient way possible, simply allow them to do it via SMS.
“Sorry to hear you couldn’t make it today. Re-schedule your visit by typing in your NAME, DATE OF VISIT and TIME and send to ****. Ex. Jack Dobelli, 02/20/2018, 10AM.”
Bonus tip: Give extra attention to patients with a long history of frequent absences. You can offer up a double-booking process – one for the morning session and another one for the afternoon session.
“Alert: Missed your appointment? Book a morning session and an afternoon session on your preferred date. Call ****** for more info.”
So again, if you’re looking to reduce the overall no show rates of your clinic to a significant level, making your booking systems more accessible to your patients is the way to go. Text reminders are cheap, convenient and easy to manage. As long as your patients have agreed to receive alerts from your clinic, you will be able to keep them within your reach.