What to look for in a Patient Appointment Reminder Vendor
You’ve decided to replace manual appointment reminders with automation.
Congrats! That’s exciting! Whether you’re replacing phone calls, postcards, or letters—you’re about to reclaim countless hours and watch your no-show rate take a dramatic dive. Now that you’ve decided to pursue automated appointment reminders, you might be wondering how to get started. It can be overwhelming to sort through your options or know what to look for.
We’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of the most important functions/features to look for in a patient appointment reminder vendor.
Unlimited Messaging / Flat Cost
Cost-per-message pricing adds another thing to manage and discourages following best practices around multi-modality.
Multi-Modality: Voice, Email and Text
Patient Preference Learning
Following the last point, don’t just ask patients for their contact preference. Learn it. If a patient consistently responds to one method over the other, your appointment reminder solution should have the ability to learn those preferences and apply them. Again, this learning comes naturally to most people but for some reason, most vendors don’t think this way.
The most effective vendors ask a patient to confirm their appointment. MGMA member Jeffrey
You should get confirmation from the patient, not just give them a reminder. “If we don’t have contact information for a patient and don’t try to contact them, our no-show rate is more than 10%. If we remind them of the appointment, the no-show rate drops to about 6%,” says Rydburg. “However, if we ask them to confirm the appointment (touchtone, click, etc.), the no-show rate drops to less than 3%. The point is don’t just remind, confirm. It creates a psychological agreement between the patient and the practice.”
One of the top reasons for patient no-shows is that they meant to reschedule and didn’t. All messages should make it easy – really easy – for your patients to reschedule.
Integration with Your PM System
Automated appointment reminders offer the greatest benefit when they integrate with the PM system, reducing data entry burden on practice staff.
Automatic No-Show Outreach
When a patient doesn’t show up, your appointment reminder system should automatically reach out to reschedule so that you and other staff don’t waste time trying to reconnect.
With more and more patient messages being initiated as a result of value-based care, population health, and mobile payments, providers are discovering that they are being held to the same consumer messaging laws as consumer companies. TCPA limits the amount and frequency of messaging to consumers. Most appointment reminder solutions have no insight into what other patient messaging is happening, which can cause uncoordinated messaging and fines. Look for a vendor that can handle all patient outreach and knows the TCPA laws.
Now You’re Set.
You’re ready to set off into the marketplace and explore your options. Ask great questions, look for a vendor who is committed to supporting you after the sale, and make sure they check all the boxes above. Good luck!