No one needs to tell you that time is money and nothing undermines your practice productivity more than missed appointments. The good news here is that technology, when properly implemented, can reduce your practice no-shows substantially. E-reminders, that is reminders sent via email and/or text message, are much more effective and less costly than postcards and phone calls. Furthermore, most patients actually prefer electronic reminder to phone calls.
How does an e-reminder system work?
There are a multitude of solutions providers to help your practice implement e-reminders, but here is a typical process with recall appointments.
- When your patient checks out for their current cleaning appointment and schedules their 6 month recall, they will receive a “Save the Date” email immediately. This email increases the probability of the patient adding the appointment to their personal calendar.
- A week before the appointment, the patient will get an automatic email reminder and/or text message reminder.
- The day before the appointment, the patient will get an automatic email reminder and/or text message reminder.
- The day of the appointment, the patient will get a final text message reminder.
Naturally, most systems allow you to customize the time-frame parameters and frequency of e-reminders as well as default to a phone call system when you do not have the patient’s email address or a phone number that accepts text messages. The biggest advantage of most of these systems is they are implemented automatically by your service provider. That means that your staff will not need to spend time running reports, making phone calls or printing reminder cards and can focus on tasks that require their personal touch. Not only are e-reminder systems more effective than phone calls, they are much less costly.