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How to Effectively Text Appointment Reminders to Patients

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  1. Text messaging can provide a direct line of communication between patients and providers.
  2. Medical practices that text appointment reminders to patients may be able to decrease no-show appointments and increase appointment bookings overall.
  3. Patient messaging platforms, such as Klara’s conversational patient engagement platform can enable two-way messaging between patients and medical practices to help automate and streamline appointment reminders.
How to Effectively Text Appointment Reminders to Patients

Text messaging is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of communication for people in personal and professional settings, and the healthcare industry is no exception. Studies show that up to 85% of consumers prefer the convenience of texting over phone calls and emails. Texting may not only provide convenient patient communication for medical practices, but it may improve operational efficiency by streamlining and automating steps in the patient journey, including appointment scheduling and reminders.

Why text messaging is preferred by some patients over calls and emails

To put it simply, text messages are fast and direct. Text messaging doesn’t require the patient to answer the phone, or even check their email account. They are also less likely to get lost in a spam or junk folder of an email account or missed by a patient with an overflowing voicemail inbox. 

People almost always have their smartphones handy, and as a result, are likely to see a text message faster than any other type of written or digital communication. On average, 90% of people open a text message within three minutes of receiving it.

In the healthcare industry, practices and doctors are increasingly utilizing text messaging (via SMS) as a convenient way to communicate with patients and customers. Practices and providers are utilizing text messages for various reasons including scheduling patients’ appointments, reminding patients about upcoming appointments, sharing medication or prescription alerts, and sending payment reminders, among other uses. 

Text message appointment reminders can be especially helpful for streamlining the scheduling processes at the practice, reducing patient no-shows, and booking more medical appointments overall.

Automated appointment reminders are easier for practices and better for patients

Text messaging as a form of patient communication can be beneficial for both healthcare practices and providers. Texting patient appointment reminders can increase attendance rate while saving your staff valuable time by eliminating the need to send additional reminders, place reminder calls, or reschedule missed appointments.

Text messaging “also allows for more efficient workflows,” according to Dr. Michael Dattoli, a radiation therapy expert and Founder at the Dattoli Cancer Center & Brachytherapy Research Institute. “Texting in healthcare alleviates the need for manual reminders by providing essential information directly to the patient's phone via automation.” He explains that this contributes to delivering a better patient experience, which can help strengthen your brand as a leading healthcare practice or provider.

Furthermore, according to Managed Healthcare Executive, text messaging is more equitable than many other forms of communication. Low-income patients may struggle with housing insecurity, which makes mail and landline communication challenging, as opposed to mobile phones. Since the early 2000s, mobile numbers are portable, so cell numbers now stay with the same individuals over time, even if they move, relocate, or change their status in any way. In fact, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent shows that most families and individuals who live at or below the poverty line have a mobile phone as their only form of communication.

“Regardless of socioeconomic or housing status, most Americans have a cell phone. Reaching and engaging underserved populations has historically been challenging. Managed care organizations should consider utilizing text messaging as part of comprehensive, multi-channel healthcare communication campaigns,” the article states.

Lastly, text messaging may be a more cost-effective method of communication for medical practices than direct mail which requires a printing and postage budget. Patient appointment text reminders are an economical option for keeping customers on track and on schedule with their upcoming appointments.

Examples of effective patient appointment reminders

Patient appointment text reminders and messages should be personalized and include all of the pertinent details relevant to the customer’s medical visit including:

  • Purpose/type of visit
  • Provider name
  • Date and time of appointment
  • Necessary documents to be completed before the appointment
  • Pre-visit instructions
  • Contact information in the case of any questions
  • Call to action to confirm or reschedule the appointment

Additionally, you’ll want to compose your appointment reminders to be clear and concise so that the text messages are easily understood by patients of all ages and abilities. Below is an example of a text message appointment reminder:

Appointment Reminders

To get started creating an appointment reminder for your medical practice, fill in the blanks in the template below: 

Hi [Patient Name]! We are writing to remind you that you have an appointment with [Provider Name] on [Date] at [Time]. Please remember to bring [Important Document(s)] and arrive 15 minutes early. Please respond by texting “Y” to confirm your appointment. If you need to reschedule, please call our office at [Phone Number] as soon as possible.

Once you have personalized an appointment reminder message for your specific medical practice’s needs, it is important to find a two-way messaging platform that will allow you to send the reminders via text messages to your patients. 

How to create effective appointment reminders with Klara

Klara’s conversational patient engagement platform can help with appointment scheduling and provide a seamless experience for creating and automating appointment reminders to your patients. Additionally, Klara can provide multiple appointment setting and scheduling options including online self-booking, to help fill more appointments and reduce costly cancellations and no-shows.  

More specifically, Klara allows your medical practice to customize the message you want to send to patients for appointment reminders. Reminders can be customized by various factors including appointment type, practice location, provider, and more. 

For example, you may want to set up different appointment reminders for new patient appointments and existing patient appointments. Or you might want to configure a certain arrival time or pre-visit and post-visit instructions based on appointment type. 

No matter how you wish to set up appointment reminders, Klara enables your medical practice to streamline and automate the process. In addition, Klara’s customization and personalization options allow your practice to maintain the human touch your patients deserve, even if the messages are ultimately automated.

Utilizing Klara for your patient communication, including text message appointment reminders, helps save staff time which enables you to maximize your staff’s productivity and allows them to focus on other more important tasks. In addition, text message reminders are a helpful tactic to increase patient engagement.

Klara’s technology is user-friendly and can help your medical practice easily set up and send multi-channel appointment reminders to your patients via text message, email, and/or phone calls. If you’re interested in getting a personalized look into how your medical practice can utilize Klara’s conversational patient engagement platform to automate and customize appointment reminders, click here to book a demo.

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Andrea Clement

Andrea has worked in the healthcare industry since 1998, in sales, recruiting, and consulting, including several years as a patient documentation specialist. Since 2007, she has written about the business of healthcare for a variety of media outlets and healthcare companies including health tech, clinical research, and physician staffing firms. She’s currently a media consultant and freelance writer specializing in healthcare B2B content & PR.

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