What is an Appointment Reminder Text?
Are you tired of no-shows and missed appointments in your practice? Are you looking for an effective and efficient way to improve patient satisfaction and reduce costs?
An appointment reminder is a notification that reminds someone of an upcoming appointment or meeting they have scheduled. Typically, appointment reminders contain information about the time, date, and location of the appointment.
Traditionally, reminder messages have been communicated with a phone call. However, appointment reminder text messages sent by SMS as text messages not only reduce no show, they also provide a cost efficient way for providers to reach patients in an effective and timely manner. They are received by the patients like any other text message on their personal device like phone and improve patient satisfaction as well as communication between patients and providers.
Enhance Productivity & Reduce No Shows by Up to 60% With Text Messages for Reminders
Following up with patients just got easier. PrognoCIS EHR enables you to directly send automated reminders from the software. That’s right, not only can you take advantage of texting, which is much faster and much easier than phone call reminders, it also involves significantly less effort.
Benefits of using text reminders for appointments include:
Reducing no-shows: Text reminders can help reduce the number of missed appointments by reminding patients or clients of their upcoming appointments.
Increased efficiency: Text reminders can be automated, which can save time for healthcare providers and other professionals who schedule appointments.
Improved patient satisfaction: Patients appreciate the convenience of receiving a text reminder, which can improve their overall satisfaction with the provider.
Cost-effective: Text reminders are a cost-effective way to improve appointment attendance and reduce the need for follow-up appointments.
Improved communication: Text reminders can help improve communication between patients and healthcare providers or other professionals.
PrognoCIS EHR provides an optional text message based appointment reminder system – this convenient, time and money saving feature enables office staff to communicate easily with the patients while at the same time avoiding the phone tag between the patient and practice staff.
How does the Appointment Reminder Service work?
Once you submit the agreement to sign up for the appointment reminder service, it will be enabled within PrognoCIS EHR to give you access. Setup can take 3-5 business days and includes complete training on how to use this feature.
- Confirming appointments is made simple with text reminders. Simply send the appointment reminder via text message and ask for the patient to respond with “Y” for yes and “N” for no
- After patients reply, their appointment status automatically changes within PrognoCIS to “Scheduled” or “Cancelled by Patient” based on their response
Appointment Reminder Texts Optionally Available with PrognoCIS EHR
How to ensure that Appointment Reminder Texts are HIPAA compliant?
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is a set of rules and regulations that protects the privacy and security of personal health information (PHI). To ensure that text message appointment reminders are HIPAA-compliant, healthcare providers and covered entities must adhere to the following rules:
Obtain Patient Consent
Prior to sending any text messages containing PHI, healthcare providers must obtain written consent from patients. This consent should include a description of the types of messages that will be sent, and how often they will be sent.
Use Secure Messaging Systems
Healthcare providers should use secure messaging systems that meet HIPAA standards to send text message reminders. This means that messages must be encrypted in transit and at rest, and only authorized users should have access to the system.
Avoid Including PHI in Message Content
While sending appointment reminders, healthcare providers should not include any PHI in the message content. Instead, messages should be limited to basic information such as the date and time of the appointment, the location, and the name of the healthcare provider.
Provide Opt-Out Options
Healthcare providers must provide patients with the option to opt-out of receiving text message reminders at any time. This can be done by including an opt-out link or phone number in the message.
Keep Records of Communication
Covered entities should keep a record of all text messages sent to patients, including the date and time of the message, the content of the message, and the patient's response (if applicable). This record should be kept in a secure location and only accessible to authorized personnel.
What is the Issue With Current Phone-based Appointment Reminders?
Appointment reminders, particularly reminders delivered over the phone, can take a lot of time and also be frustrating and stressful for staff to perform.
In addition, practices that strictly use phone reminders may have a higher no show rate than practices that also use text reminders.
A recent study conducted by MGMA found that:
a. Over 50% of patients miss appointments because they forgot to attend or cancel;
b. More than 27% miss because they wrote down the wrong time; and
c. Around 23% miss because of work, traffic or another conflict.
The truth is that reminders delivered over the phone often go unanswered, which leads to them being sent to voicemail. A patient may then not play the voicemail for an extended period, which could lead to them forgetting and missing an appointment, or they may delete the voicemail without listening to it fully.
What Are the Benefits of Appointment Reminders?
A big benefit of sending appointment reminders is fewer no-shows, which can be a financial and time drain on practices.
- Including text messaging in your reminder system can reduce no-shows even more – by as much as 50% according to MGMA. While it is easy for a person to ignore a phone call or a voicemail, most people read text messages right away.
- Automated appointment reminder text messages enhance productivity for the medical practice as well as for the patients and ultimately lead to reduced cancellations and decreased no-shows
In fact, TextRequest.com says that Americans check their phones approximately 150 times a day and that 79% of the activity is specifically checking text messages.
A short, informative text can allow you to remind a patient about the time of their visit and deliver any extra instructions that are required for the appointment.