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Helping improve patient satisfaction and practice efficiency with appointment reminders

Patient no-shows are common and can affect independent physician practices in many ways. A study published in BMC Health Services Research found that patients do not show up to their scheduled appointments 18.8% of the time.1 Some estimates have missed appointments costing a single physician as much as $150,000 in lost revenue and additional labor costs; and multi-physician office an excess of $1 million.2 Have you calculated your loss of time and staffing due to no-shows?

There are many reasons for no shows, some can be controlled, and others cannot. Some of the most common reasons to miss an appointment could be financial reasons, lack of transportation, feeling the appointment is not needed, being unorganized, stuck in traffic, white coat syndrome, etc. No matter what the reason, there are ways to help the patient and the physician’s office both help meet their goals.

With the growing consumerization of healthcare, there has been a transition to short message service (SMS) text and phone reminders as an effective method to remind patients of their appointments. Since the average person spends 90 minutes a day on their phone, it’s no surprise that text messages have a 98% open rate and a 45% response rate.3,4 Text appointment reminders can help with engagement, productivity, and communication.5

Text messages may even help increase patient satisfaction and retention. One application of text messages is helping a practice see high-risk patients more often since their medication history is so complex and takes additional time.1 “Research has shown that medication adherence is often poor for people with chronic diseases, affecting 50% to 60% of patients. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Internal Medicine found that texting doubles the odds of medication adherence in patients with chronic diseases. This poor medication adherence costs patients about $2,000 a year for extra visits to the doctor, and causes a $100 billion increase in healthcare costs in North America every year.”3

Saving staff time by streamlining the appointment reminder workflow may help create an opportunity for better patient engagement and increased clinician worktime efficiency from fewer no-shows. It is important to keep up with the shifts in technology that help empower practices to be able to do more with limited resources.

To learn more about Practice Fusion’s new appointment reminder capabilities, join us at our upcoming webinar here