For providers, patient no-shows are a constant, costly source of frustration and something that could be avoided with a strong patient engagement strategy. According to a Wallace & Hughes study, about 3.6 million people in the U.S. miss or delay medical care each year. Your average practice has a 5%-7% no-show rate, according to MGMA. Time is money for physicians and a missed appointment is a lost revenue opportunity.
The reasons for no-shows are varied. New patients tend to be the biggest no-show offenders. But, established patients that simply forget about an appointment or don’t call to cancel can also be the culprits. You may also have a demographic that will struggle with transportation to your offices – perhaps low-income patients that don’t have access to cars, or elderly patients no longer capable of driving. Regardless of why the patient doesn’t show up, your practice is taking the hit.
During the COVID pandemic, no-show rates have climbed even further for practices as “COVID Phobia” is keeping patients away. Patients are understandably nervous about exposure so they are easing their concerns by not coming in for appointments that are vital to their overall health.
So, how do you help patients commit to and keep their appointments?
Appointment reminder automation is easy with the right technology. You can deliver phone, email, and text message appointment reminders for patients to make sure each one of them is reminded of their scheduled visit. Automated appointment reminders use patient-specific elements and two-way interaction (confirm/cancel appointment) to maximize response rates from your patients. In fact, surveys indicate that patients prefer an automated appointment reminder to a live call from your staff.
By using automated appointment reminders you will:
- Decrease reminder expenses — Automated appointment confirmations are delivered faster and for a fraction of the cost.
- Have advanced notice of cancellations — Giving patients the option to cancel through an automated message prevents a potential hole in the schedule and allows you to fill that opening with another patient who needs to be seen.
- Reduce no-shows — Appointment reminder notifications have been proven to lower no-show rates by up to 25% making sure you retain your planned appointment revenue!
Reminder tools can also be used to deliver critical updates to your patients – like keeping your patients informed on safety protocols your practice is taking to keep them safe. eMDs believes this is more important than ever as practices focus on ramping up patient volume. It is up to you to convince and “sell” your patients on the value of maintaining their health even during uncertain times. Patient reminder tools can aid in getting those messages delivered.