In my 15 years as an Appointment Coordinator, I’ve learned that one of the most important services we can offer a patient is a simple appointment reminder. I’ve also learned that unless you know what you’re doing, a successful appointment reminder strategy isn’t quite as easy as it sounds.
Well, consider this my attempt to make it simple. Here are the four things that I’ve found to be essential to your appointment communications.
- Put together a plan to automate the process. I start with this one because some practices still don’t have any kind of automated routine around their reminders. My practice sometimes sees up to 100 patients per day, and I don’t know where we’d be if our team had to pick up the phone and call each of our patients. Or if we had to spend all that money and time getting postcards in the mail. It’s just not practical for today’s thriving practice.
- Send multiple reminders. I’ve said it to my colleagues again and again – the more we can remind our patients the better. People are busy and forgetful, and I’m no exception! I know I appreciate getting multiple reminders from my providers, so that’s a great guiding principle for how we communicate with our patients. Put yourself in their shoes and use that to drive your appointment communication strategy.
- Embrace technology. In this day and age, it’s all about technology. It’s given us more options in how we can connect with our patients, and in this case, that’s definitely a good thing. One of the greatest examples is how we remind them about upcoming appointments bupropion xl. You can toss the postcards and deliver reminders via automated phone calls, emails and texts. Patients can respond within those messages without even having to speak with the staff (unless of course they want to). I’m telling you – it’s a beautiful thing.
- Offer opportunities to cancel or reschedule. Sometimes the patient DOES need to speak with us to cancel or reschedule an appointment, and we see it as a positive thing. When they respond in that manner to an automated reminder message, that gives us the opportunity to better serve one of our other patients. We can get another patient in for an appointment in that same time slot. That “wait list” patient is happy about their earlier appointment 100% of the time. Can’t beat that service!
You may have additional things that you consider to be “essential”, and I’d love to hear them. But this straightforward approach is what works for us, and I’m proud to say we’ve kept our no-show rates below industry averages throughout my 15 years. Perfecting our appointment reminder strategy has been a key to that success!
Holly McDaniel serves as Appointment Coordinator for Bauer Hite Orthodontic Specialists in Glen Carbon, IL. Holly loves to travel and enjoys cycling in both the pedal and motor formats (especially on the back of her husband’s Harley). Visit Holly’s practice online at www.bauerhiteortho.com