Should I Send Text or Voice Reminders To My Patients?

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Should I Send Text or Voice Reminders To My Patients?

Sending appointment reminders to your patients is essential in an ever-changing world. According to research, patient no-show rates can go as high as 80% in various healthcare settings. One of the reasons why no-show rates are increasing is because people simply forget their appointments. To fight forgetfulness, you can send timely reminders with all of the information your patients need to show up on time and prepare for their appointment.

But, what’s the best method to use to send an appointment reminder — via text or by phone? Before we look at the difference in the effectiveness of text reminders versus voice call reminders, let’s consider the two pointers below.

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When Should Providers Send the First Reminder to Their Patients After Booking an Appointment?

Many patients spend valuable time booking an appointment with a provider, while others can schedule an appointment quickly. But, how long should you wait after they book an appointment with you before sending an appointment reminder to patients?

Your system must have the capability to notify your patients far enough in advance of their appointment. If you wait too long, a patient may forget about their appointment because of their busy schedule.

If your practice is busy and patients find it hard to secure appointments, you should send the first appointment reminder at least three to five days before a patient’s appointment. Acknowledging this concern helps you identify patients who need to reschedule or cancel their appointments. It also makes it possible for your staff to fill any openings and maintain a full schedule.

Reminders Can Reduce Schedule Gaps Caused by Missed Appointments.

It is almost certain that patients are more likely to cancel or reschedule when there is a huge time margin between their appointment booking and the date of service.

Send a reminder far enough in advance to allow for easy rescheduling. Not only does strategic timing make patient scheduling easier on your staff, but at the very least, you’re giving the patient a fair reminder to clear their schedule so they can attend the appointment.

It’s not uncommon for healthcare providers to send the first appointment reminder a week or two before the appointment, but it is still advisable to notify them earlier with important information relating to their next appointment.

Do Patients Respond More Often to Text Messages or Phone Calls From Healthcare Providers?

According to data reported by 99firms, text message response rates are 295% higher than responses from phone calls. The data suggests that text reminders are a highly more effective method to use to send an appointment reminder.

Text Reminders Are More Effective Than Phone Calls.

According to a survey from Deloitte, Americans check their cellphones, on average, 52 times a day. But not everyone merely uses their cellphone during personal time. Eighty-four percent of working adults use their personal cellphone during working hours. Because of that, many businesses, including healthcare, are turning to SMS text reminders to get the best confirmation rate on appointment reminders.

Additionally, research shows that text message open rates are 98%, and 90% of SMS messages are read within three seconds of delivery. The instant attention that text messages receive keeps your services ahead of your competitors and reduces patients not receiving an appointment reminder. If you rely on phone calls and voicemails, there is a greater chance that your message won’t be received. Many people don’t answer calls from unknown numbers or listen to voicemails.

When Sending Text Message Appointment Reminders to Patients, There Are Vital Components to Remember.

A very important aspect of text messaging patients is message length — remember to make your messages clear and concise. The point of sending an SMS is to offer as much information with as few words as possible. Make your patient appointment reminders easy to read and understand. Your message should be something that can be read in just a few seconds.

Text reminders can be set aside until it’s convenient to address. That means you may get a response, but not immediately. That’s much better than phone calls that need to be made over repeatedly until that patient responds. By giving the patient the power to engage when they’re ready, you’re improving their satisfaction with your service by merely introducing appointment reminder texts.

While text messages are brief, they can be timely and effective. SMS easily allows you to deliver reminders during business hours so that your staff can quickly respond to any questions from patients or the need to reschedule an appointment.

How to Send SMS Appointment reminders with Curogram?

Writing an effective appointment reminder SMS template means including the right information. Knowing how important text messages are for reducing no-shows means that it’s worth taking a bit of time to refine your templates to improve their effectiveness.

With Curogram, you can easily send automated appointment reminders straight from your calendar. Curogram is an easy-to-use HIPAA-compliant patient messaging platform that offers 2-way text messaging for easy and seamless appointment reminders for patients.

If you need help creating a successful appointment reminder strategy using text messaging over phone calls, contact Curogram to learn more about text-based appointment reminders.