How to Optimize Patient Appointment Reminders

Text message appointment reminders

If you?re the individual who accidentally forgets to go to your doctor?s appointment, it?s probably no big deal. You?ll call, apologize, and be able to reschedule for sometime in the near future. Conversely, when it comes to the actual health care industry, these missed appoints are actually much more serious.

Missed medical appointments cost the U.S. healthcare system roughly $150 billion every year. Because there is so much financial importance placed on these appointments, it’s essential that medical establishments take advantage of appointment reminder services. These medical appointment reminder services will help your patients keep track of where they’re supposed to be and end up saving your healthcare business potentially millions of dollars.

According to a poll by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), wholly 90% of medical practices use reminders to help prevent these costly missed appointments.

Though it’s not as large of a gap that administrative healthcare professionals hoped it would be, patients who received an appointment reminder missed fewer appointments than those who did not receive an alert. In 2010, for example, a study by the American Journal of Medicine showed that the rate of missed medical appointments for patients who received a reminder was only 17.3% (23.1% for those who did not receive a reminder).

It’s up to each medical establishment to take advantage of these reminder services and prevent missed appointments. Here are a few ways that can better optimize your patient reminder services.

  1. Use multiple methods of delivery — Make sure you’re using everything from text message appointment reminders to e-mail, telephone, and any other emerging technology.
  2. Integrate reminder services with doctor schedules — You should have patient data, appointment dates, and procedure information integrated into the hospital’s scheduling software.
  3. Flexible Messaging — Using multiple messages can help improve communication between patients and staff. You can adjust languages on each message and change other parts of the reminder as well.
  4. Talk to your patients — One of the easiest ways to improve the way your hospital handles missed appointments is to consult with patients before and after appointments. Text appointment reminders are great, but really follow up with each patient and find out if those alerts are actually helping them.

It’s time to change the way you communicate with your patients and cut down on the number of missed appointments. Appointment reminder services can help your practice better succeed and save a significant amount of money.

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