Although some patient visits are walk-ins, most clinics typically schedule appointments to provide service to their patients. However, they often face the problem of missed appointments or last-minute cancellations due to patients simply forgetting about them. This is why they need a convenient way to gently remind their patients there’s an upcoming appointment scheduled with your clinic. The best way to do this is by sending them appointment reminders.
What is an appointment reminder?
An appointment reminder is a message that clinics (and other businesses) send to their patients and clients to inform them that their scheduled appointment or delivery is coming. These reminders are sent as emails and/or text messages and the clinic decides how much in advance it wants to remind its patients of the appointment. They can be daily, weekly, or monthly.
Benefits of sending appointment reminders
There are several advantages to sending appointment reminders to your patients:
- Fewer no-shows: The average person forgets about four things a day and you don’t want an appointment with your clinic to be one of them. Appointment reminders will help prevent patient no-shows due to forgetting they had one scheduled.
- Fewer cancellations: Appointment cancellations are sometimes unavoidable but many patients cancel at the last minute because they simply forgot all about it and now they can’t make it. Reminding them ahead of time helps them organize their time better.
- More flexibility: When patients are reminded of their upcoming appointment ahead of schedule, it allows them to confirm it or change it if another time or service suits them better. Being provided with this convenience will give you extra points in their book.
- Closer relationships with patients: Appointment reminders will facilitate professional and consistent communication with your patients and keep them coming back to your clinic in the future.
- Improved bottom line: Reducing no-shows and cancellations, providing more flexibility, and nurturing relationships with patients thanks to appointment reminders all contribute to growing your business, ultimately leading to a better bottom line.
Why automate your patient appointment reminders?
Many clinicians use appointment reminder software to help them automate the sending of their appointment reminders. And for some very compelling reasons:
- Improved efficiency: This software allows clinicians to organize patient workload, appointment durations, appointment types, and so on, quickly and seamlessly, enabling them to direct their attention where it is more needed.
- Customized messaging: Appointment reminders are often customizable, letting you send messages that reflect your clinic’s services better and create a closer bond with your patients.
- Patient convenience: Typically, an appointment reminder tool will allow you to add a link to the appointment in the reminder. From this link, the patient can take further action if necessary (confirm, cancel, or change the appointment).
What features to look for in appointment reminder software for your clinic?
Some features in appointment reminder software are necessary for its better utilization. These include:
- HIPAA compliance: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is the United States federal law that has created national standards to protect patient health information from being divulged without the patient’s knowledge or consent. Appointment reminder software for your clinic has to be built with healthcare security in mind and therefore be compliant with HIPAA.
- Customizability and configurability: To facilitate better efficiency and closer relationships with patients, the appointment reminder software of your choice has to be customizable. Specifically, it should allow you to make changes to your automated reminders when necessary and customize their messaging as you see fit.
- Reply option: Often, your patients might have questions about their upcoming appointments, such as if they should bring anything with them or make any other preparations. Providing them with an opportunity to ask you those questions directly as a reply to your appointment reminder might prove invaluable for both of you. A proper tool will allow you to choose whether you want the messages to support the reply option.
- Analytics and reporting: Having as much information about your operations and their success as possible is always a good thing. A capable appointment reminder software offers analytics and customizable reports about details such as confirmations, cancellations, and rescheduling, the no-show patterns, and more. It will also tell you how efficiently your team is utilizing this tool.
Top 5 patient appointment reminder software for 2022
One of the best and most affordable ways to automate sending reminders to your patients is to do it via the vcita appointment reminder software. This platform will get you the cheapest automated appointment reminders and confirmations, post-appointment follow-ups, and thank you messages. You’re also getting a patient portal, fully equipped with all the practical features needed to run a clinic.
Starting at $45/month for one team member, you can manage your patients, schedule appointments, set reminders, and store and share documents. Clinics can also benefit from its billing and invoicing capabilities, telehealth support, and customized reporting. This (and much more) is available from one secure, HIPAA-compliant platform.
To add to the security, vcita requires all of its clients to practice carefully selecting the amount and types of ePHI in parts of their account.
Clinics and other health-oriented businesses can benefit from SimplePractice’s HIPAA-compliant platform if they select its Professional package. However, it’s slightly more expensive than vcita, charging $59/month. Additional clinicians cost $39/month/clinician. SimplePractice also charges 2.95% + $0.30 per transaction.
The software allows users to create customizable appointment reminders, which can be sent right after creating a new appointment or right after rescheduling an existing one. Other features include HIPAA-compliant messaging, document sharing, and appointment request widgets. Telehealth video sessions are available at an additional price.
The platform also offers ICD-10 code autocomplete, CMS1500/HCFA forms, Monarch profile listing, coverage reports at $0.05/report, and electronic claim filing starting at $0.25/claim.
Mindbody’s online booking platform named Booker takes care of several areas of your clinic’s operations. These start with appointment scheduling and customizable appointment reminders sent by a 24/7 AI front desk bot.
Although Booker isn’t HIPAA compliant yet, its offering does have an edge thanks to this technology. The bot also responds to missed calls and answers client questions via SMS and web chat. Booker’s clients also get access to automated marketing tools, customer management, gift card support, and an integrated POS system.
Booker costs more than vcita and SimplePractice, starting at $129/month, which supports sending up to 3,000 text notifications and reminders. Two-way reminders are available in the pricier package that charges $269/month.
Appointment scheduling platform MioSalon offers many of the features included in the above tools, and then some. However, it lacks HIPAA compliance, as it focuses more on salon-based service businesses.
The platform allows you to send automatic appointment reminders to your clients, create lists of multiple reminders, and assign reminders to specific customers, customer groups, or service segments. Additional features include POS billing software, reporting, bookkeeping, automated email/SMS marketing, real-time reviews, and campaign tracking and recommendations.
MioSalon’s pricing is quote-based, available only upon inquiry (according to some online reviews, it starts at $90/month).
Focusing on patient communication, Doctible provides plenty of patient-oriented features and capabilities for all kinds of clinician specialties. These start with automated appointment reminders and confirmations, missed appointment reminders, and customized timeline for confirmation reminders.
Additional features include two-way messaging, online scheduling, payment processing, and reputation management.
Due to its intense focus on the medical field, all of Doctible’s tools are fully HIPAA compliant. Its selling point is the modular pricing structure, allowing every clinic to select only the features it requires.
Because of this, the pricing details are only available upon inquiry. According to some reviews, the prices may range between $100 and $500 for a single location, depending on the selected features. Bulk discounts are available for multiple locations.
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We’re aware that finding a good patient appointment reminder solution is far from easy. There are so many out there that fit the description but not all of them are equally good. If you want only the best for your clinic, then the above list is where you should start your search. We hope that you find the perfect match and that your patients never again forget that they have an upcoming appointment at your clinic.