What can be better than an automated schedule reminder. A recent study shows that upto 80% of patients don’t show up to their appointments on the due date as they simply forget it. Appointment reminders are the best place to begin sending text messages to the patients. This can reduce ‘no-shows’ of the patients. Most of the patients sometimes forget about their appointments, and when asked they choose text messaging as a great way to communicate with them. This process is best for the staff as it makes their work easier and convenient.
For the doctors and the receptionist it has become very easy to connect with the patients for or regarding their appointments. Phone calls are no doubt the best way to connect to the customer but texting/SMS is the quicker way to interact and deliver messages prior to a patient’s appointment. With the text messages you can not only have two word interactions but the interaction will be more open including their health history. Also, it is easier for updating appointments, post-appointment follow up texts. This is not just helpful for the patients but also for the committee as it will increase the revenue and numbers of customers. Below are few best practices to enhance your interaction with patients and to reduce disruptions so that the patients are pre-ready and on-time.
Automate the Appointments
Automating the text/SMS reminders are the easiest and fastest way to convey help regarding appointments to your patients. This enables the patient to reschedule, cancel or make further queries. It is very important to remember that in your SMS text message you should always add strong CTA (call to action). After the patients are informed about their schedule, ask them to respond by confirming. Scheduling is done through an automated appointment scheduler. This process will help them to remember their dates.
Sync in Patients Details for Easy Communication
It is very important to connect with the patient party. For that you need to be very precise with how your patients want to be connected, like if they need to be informed or connected through email, text or call. However, text/ SMS reminders are best because of its silent way of reminding. It is necessary, comfortable and responsive for the patients. Updating the details in the data will give a smooth synchronous communication. Synchronous communication is a real time communication where the patient’s data and information are taken virtually. This communication can be through video call, phone call or chat between the doctor and the patient.
Personalize your Messages
Along with reminding your patients about their appointments you can give a customized effect to the texts. This text will include some important details of the meeting. Also, they will be informed about the things they need to bring in the meeting like medical records, prescribed medication or any hospital cards. Like, templates can be used or customized to fit in different appointment types- Dental, Orthopedics, Surgery etc. The most important thing is to use the patient’s name before initiating a SMS.
Time is everything. Every business should know the perfect time to send a SMS to the patient. Make sure that you are sending the SMS during the working hours only, not too early or too late in the evening. There in another case if your patient belongs to a different time zone, make sure your whole system is segmented unlike their standard time. Try to send a reminder 24 hours prior to the appointment as this gives the patient enough time to cancel or reschedule their next appointment. Also, a reminder for a second time an hour before the appointment is also a best practice.
When it is about appointment reminders one must use two way communication. It means that both the customer/patient and you have smooth, precise and complete feedback regarding a reminder. It will help the patient to get a quick reply, reschedule and other things even while staff are off their phones.
Everyone needs post-check up care. The gentle reminder from your place will help the patient to come up with more follow up processes. These follow-up reminders are very effective for the patients to get the information regarding further processes.
Why SMS Appointment Reminders?
Patients Prefer SMS Text
Availability of phones has increased to an extreme level which gives the patients or customer an easy access to everything incoming on phone. Nowadays people are preferring text over any other means. In a recent survey it was found that 75 percent of American Gen Z prefers this more. One of the important things is that patients Prefer SMS over calls and phones and reminding them with what they are comfortable with will increase the rate of your reminder, lessening the no-show rate which improves customer satisfaction.
SMS Makes Service Easier
Apart from being the preferred platform to send reminders, SMS service has been good for the staff also. Work pressure is efficient and scrutinized. Calls caused uneven reminders to the patients which created havoc in the whole process. SMS text enables you to make the patients more accustomed with their own and other details. Understanding those questions you can encourage them to ask those during their in-person visit. Sometimes patients are incompatible to share those, the SMS system helps them with this too.
SMS text messages are cost-efficient. It means that they cost very little in comparison to calls. However, emails are a free service, but a service which gets only 6% response rate which doesn’t complete the work. The text message system after being bought can complete the assigned work at a significant price. Also, the reminder apps can integrate with any existing calendar on your phone, also with few video calling apps like WebEx, zoom, Google meet etc.
A SMS Appointment Reminders are the best way to provide care to the patients. SMS reminders are a necessity in every health care center. This technology will help the patients to avoid no-shows. This cost efficient system is easy to use and handle, as it works with any existing calendar on your mobile.