Why Email and Text reminders are more effective than phone reminders?
Since patient no-shows can be a huge drain on both time and revenue, it is pretty much “business 101” that practices must do their best to keep no-shows to a minimum. Lots of strategies and solutions have been employed over the years, but to remain effective, practices must keep up with changing patient behaviors.
Take for example, Automated Phone reminders/confirmations vs. Automated Email/Text reminders/confirmations. Here are several reasons why changing times dictate that the later option is a lot more effective than the former:
- Smartphone penetration: Smartphones have gone from barely existing in 2005 to 68% of adults owning a smartphone in 2015 I). What do all smartphones come with? Email and SMS. Voice based communication was the only option at one point but not anymore.
- Non-intrusive: Receiving an Email or Text reminder or confirmation request does not interrupt what the patient might be doing during the course of their busy day. Phone calls on the other hand are disruptive and can be annoying. This risks Phone calls getting cut off or going to voice message.
- Easy retrieval: Patients can easily retrieve Text messages and Emails while not interrupting an ongoing meeting or conversation. Admit it, you have done it too! This simply cannot be done when retrieving voice messages.
- Actionable at any time: From the Email or Text, patients can easily perform a “call to action”, for example, clicking on a confirmation button, and this can be done at anytime after the message is received. With an Automated Phone confirmation request, this can be done at the time the call is received.
- Multiple types: Practices typically would like to send multiple reminders (ex: Save the date, Fill your forms, Pre-visit instructions, Request to confirm, Same day reminder). Patients won’t mind receiving these via Email or Text since they do improve patient convenience. But imagine how annoyed a patient would get if they received all of these reminders via Phone.
- Convey more: It is possible to send a link with directions in an Email or Text. A lot of information is conveyed in such an instance. This helps the patient plan their visit better and check in on-time. There is no reasonable way to convey similar amount of information via Phone.
So there you have it, Automated reminder systems need Email/Text capability as a bare minimum to be effective in reducing no-show rates. In addition, they need to be extremely configurable while being easy to use.II)
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