Appointment Reminders: Let Your Patients Choose

2019 is the year of instant gratification, quick response, and technological tools that make life simpler. While the upcoming generations respond to this kind of interaction, the generations before them might not. Everyone is different, and the way someone is effectively engaged varies depending on the individual. For providers looking for ways to more effectively engage their patients in their medical care, they need to use tools that engage all of their patients, leaving no one behind. This includes tools like the patient portal for patients who better interact in the digital world. For your patients who are not as digitally savvy, paper handouts might be the most effective way to educate them on their health. A great example of a necessary tool that increases patient engagement is the appointment reminder. Appointment reminders are necessary to effectively engage all of your patients and to ensure they are making it into the office. The detail that providers need to pay attention to is the way they send their patients reminders. Leave it up to the patient to decide which method is best for them, but providers must offer these three types of appointment reminders.

3 Types of Appointment Reminders

1) Text Appointment Reminders
Text appointment reminders are the preferred method for many patients. It is quick and appeals to the on-the-go individual who only has a moment to glance at their phone. They are a great alternative for patient’s who do not like to talk on the phone and prefer minimal interaction. It is also nearly impossible this day in age to come across someone who does not at least have access to text messaging via a mobile device. Text reminders should be sent sparingly though, as to not annoy the patient. If a patient is receiving a large amount of text before their appointment, they might be inclined to block the number, defeating the effectiveness of appointment reminders. Providers should send a text when the appointment is made, the day before the appointment, and sparingly in between depending on how far away the visit is.

2) Email Appointment Reminders
While you may not think people frequently use email, many patients opt for this method. Email reminders are perfect for engaging patients while they are at work or patients who do not use their phones as often as others. Many patients choose this method due to the fact it is the least interruptive. A phone call takes up too much time for many patients, and a text still causes them to divert their attention. Patients who choose to be engaged via email are able to see their reminder at the time they normally check their emails. Many patients even opt for both text and email reminders if they know they are especially forgetful. Either way, it should be up to the patient which way to want to receive their appointment reminders so that they are more inclined to see it and pay attention.

3) Phone Call Reminders
The most traditional of these three appointment reminders, phone calls are chosen least often. Older generations or people who enjoy talking on the phone usually opt for the phone call reminder as it gives them the opportunity to carry on a conversation with their long-term physician. This or a verbal reminder helps a patient to better remember their visit. Phone call reminders, while they take up the time of the front office staff, should still be offered if your patients wish to have it. It is important that providers remember to engage their patients as individuals if they want to see higher levels of patient engagement.

At the end of the day, the most important thing for providers is to see an increase in patient engagement that positively impacts their number of visits, positive outcomes, billed services, and practice revenue. Allowing your patient to choose the way they want to receive appointment reminders is an important part of this. To learn more about ways to introduce these types of appointment reminders, click here.