How to Reduce Appointment No-Shows with Patient Reminders

When you’re a healthcare provider, your priority is taking care of your patients. But there’s another aspect to keeping them and your practice healthy: reminding them about their appointments.

If you’re a healthcare provider, or even if you manage the front desk at a dental office, one thing is clear: missed appointments cost the practice valuable time, money, and resources. On average, one patient miss-out costs a private medical practice about $200. The average practice sees about 30 patients a day, and with the average national no-show rate being 18%, that’s about 5 patients a day that are not showing up for their appointments. In a year, the time, resources, and money spent on missed appointments is far too much to overlook.

how to reduce no shows with appointment reminders

What are patient reminders?

A patient reminder is a call or text message to your patients reminding them of their scheduled appointments. Practices can communicate with their patients through several different channels, such as email, text, and phone calls.


Are patient reminders HIPAA compliant?

If you’re a physician, one thing you may be wondering about communicating with your patient through phone text or email is, “Is it HIPAA compliant?” The answer is yes, appointment reminders are tied to patient treatment, therefore you are permitted to contact patients to remind them of upcoming appointments without authorization.


How do you send patients reminders?

Typically, sending a patient an appointment reminder requires an additional service that allows you to do so securely and easily. Ideally, you would want a service that works with your current EHR system so all those hard-earned details about each patient are automatically included in their reminder email.


How do you make reminders effective?

Generally, you want to make sure your communication to your patients is clear and effective. As for timing, ideally, you would want to confirm your patients’ appointment two weeks prior to their visit. It is recommended you begin reminding your patients of their upcoming appointments three days ahead via an email or text, and a final phone call the day before appointment. This gives them enough time to make sure that they can make any necessary arrangements such as finding a babysitter, asking for time off work, or figuring out a mode of transportation.


How do patients feel about reminders?

Patients don’t schedule appointments just to miss them. Appointment reminders are well-received by patients. Oftentimes physicians can be booked for months in advance, and it’s easy to forget about a date that isn’t urgent.


What are the benefits of reminders?

Sending reminders to patients can not only reduce no-show rates, it can also let you know when your patients can’t make it and need to reschedule. After all, it’s much better to have a patient reschedule with you than not show up at all.

Patient reminders are simple to implement and improve your practice’s efficiency, patient engagement, and satisfaction. Sending patient appointment reminders is a key part of keeping your practice running smoothly. Whether you run a busy practice, or your schedule is never full, a well-crafted and well-timed appointment reminder can help ensure you don’t lose clients and make sure that your no-show rates stay at a minimum.