Benefits of Using Appointment Reminders to Prevent Patient Cancellations

As healthcare professionals, particularly physical and occupational therapists, we have all been there: You just finished lunch and have prepared for your next patient, only to find out they called and cancelled while you were eating or better yet, your patient just does not show up. Not only are cancellations and no-shows a disservice to the patient, but they also cause a disruption in your whole day.

While cancellations are sometimes necessary (unavoidable), a family emergency occurred or a conflicting event came up that can not be rescheduled, there are many patients who cancel or no-show simply because they forgot about their appointment.

Did you know that approximately 81% of appointments that are missed are due to forgetfulness or miscommunication? Which begs the question, how do we reduce cancellations from happening so frequently? Simple, utilize automated SMS/text reminders, through your EMR system, to communicate appointment times and reminders with your patients!

Providing automated SMS message reminders can have several positive benefits for your patients and also your company, as a whole! Here are 3 of these benefits:

 

1. Improved Patient Outcomes

First and foremost, being in a healthcare field, helping our patients achieve their previous quality of life or improve their overall quality of life is most important. I mean, isn’t that the main reason most physical and occupational therapists go into this field? To help others feel better and get back to doing what they love?

Several studies have shown that through using SMS message reminders, patient outcomes have significantly improved. Why? Because when patients are reminded of their upcoming therapy appointment, they are more likely to show up which means constant continued care without any disruptions!

 

2. Reduced Cancellation and No-Show Rates

While this might seem intuitive, by providing appointment reminders to your patient you are essentially placing their therapy appointment at the forefront of their mind when you send an SMS reminder. By doing this, it not only reminds patients about their appointment time, but also gives them ample time to call the clinic to cancel if an emergency has arisen.

However, studies show that by providing these reminders one to two days prior to a scheduled appointment, the cancellation and no-show rates decreased substantially, as much as 16% in some cases.

 

3. Decreased Outreach Costs

Oftentimes in outpatient physical therapy clinics, the front desk staff become very busy with insurance verifications, patient questions, patient intake forms, checking patients in, calling to remind patients about their upcoming appointments, etc. resulting in those staff members feeling overwhelmed. Or even worse, sometimes they are unable to accomplish all of those tasks each day so calling to remind patients about their upcoming appointments ends up resulting in staff having to work overtime.

Enter automated SMS message reminders! Through setting up automated SMS message reminders, you are essentially relinquishing your front desk staff of that duty resulting in no more overtime and overall decreased costs for your clinic. Did you know HelloNote offers a fully automated SMS appointment reminder system? All you need to do is get the patient’s cell phone number and set up when you want the reminder to be set, click schedule and you’re all set! Easy peasy!

 

Now that we know the benefits of using SMS message reminders, let’s discuss one other important reminder when it comes to sending text messages to a patient’s cell phone. Texting is NOT HIPAA compliant, meaning messages are stored on the cellphone companies’ servers indefinitely and a patient could always lose or have their phone stolen. Unless you are 100% sure that the only person reading those messages is the patient, then do not send any private medical information! Overall SMS message reminders, especially when automated, can lead to improved patient outcomes and satisfaction, a decreased cancellation rate and lowered outreach costs resulting in increased revenue for your clinic!

 

To learn more about how HelloNote can help you, reach out to our team here for your free

walkthrough: https://hellonote.com/#contact

 

References:

https://www.televox.com/downloads/howard_university_cs.pdf

https://www.archives-pmr.org/article/S0003-9993(11)00689-7/pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5771354/

https://simpletexting.com/guide/text-appointment-reminders-for-doctors-and-dental-offices/

https://www.text-em-all.com/blog/healthcare-appointment-reminders-best-practices

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