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How Automated Reminders Have Changed the Game for Doctors

People are busy with work, kids, extracurricular activities, and other life obligations. It’s hard to keep track of everything, especially appointments. Patients often schedule follow-ups and check-ups months in advance and the dates are never consistent. Missing an appointment is a headache for both the patient and the provider, but automated reminders can prevent missed appointments from happening. Whether you are a pediatrician in Monroe or a gynecologist in Maple Shade, here are a few ways automated reminders can help your practice, from saving on the price of labor to reducing re-scheduled exams.  

Reducing Missed and Rescheduled Appointments 

Before automation was there to take care of this simple task for us, it was the front desk’s responsibility to call up and remind each patient of their appointments the next day. Even though it is a tedious task, it is worth it as a huge percentage of people often miss their appointments because they forgot. It is the main reason why people miss appointments. 

Today, an appointment reminder can come as a phone call, email, or text. In some cases, an appointment might automatically populate on a Google calendar if a patient’s email is linked at the time of scheduling. Other than an automatic update in a calendar, a text message may be the most appropriate communication method as a phone call may not be necessary. Patients often become familiar with the consistency of a reminder, since it appears in so many other aspects of life. In fact, many people come to expect a reminder and are upset when they do not receive one. 

Making sure patients show up to their appointments not only keeps your day-to-day operations running smoothly, but it maintains patient health, so they are not going too long in-between appointments. Additionally, making sure a patient keeps their appointment saves your staff from having to reschedule it down the road. They won’t have to worry about filling an empty slot last-minute or cramming someone in during a busy week. The more patients stick to their originally scheduled timeslot, the easier it is for everyone in the future. 

Reminds Patients to Schedule Their Checkups

There are certain checkups such as eye exams, teeth cleanings, and women’s well visits that occur on a yearly or recurring basis. It is easy for patients to forget when their last cleaning or visit to the optometrist was since they typically occur at irregular times. Automated services can easily send reminders to patients to let them know they are due to come in. Similarly, recurring reminders can send your patients a happy birthday message, thus increasing patient satisfaction. You can also remind patients to pay their bill or when they are past due. 

Tailor Your Messaging

While it may seem intuitive to send a message in a certain format, not everyone prefers the same style of communication. Many automated alert systems allow the patient to select what type of message they prefer—email, text, or phone call. For simple appointment or prescription pick up reminders, a text message usually does the job. Phone calls are often elderly people’s preferred method since many do not communicate by text. Emails are a great way to send general information, to stay on your patients’ mind so they schedule a new appointment without having to be nudged later on.

Save Time on Labor Costs

If you have an especially busy practice, appointment reminders can be a full-time job, one that would quickly cause burnout due to the monotony and tediousness. A particularly talkative patient can keep a receptionist on the phone with small talk and chit chat, eating up precious time during their workday. An automated service will save your practice time and money by allowing front-desk employees to focus on more important tasks. 

Also, misdials are no longer an issue with automated systems. And providers never have to worry about patients not receiving a reminder as automated messaging systems are extremely accurate. 

Personalized Messaging

Many automated reminders are completely customizable. Generic robot voices are improved by more human-like AI. Written messages can be sent with a friendly tone. While some may argue there is nothing that can replace the human voice, in the case of an easy reminder, it’s just not necessary. Many patients appreciate a simpler reminder that takes less time because they are busy, too. 

No matter if you are a pediatrician in Fort Collins or an oncologist in Las Vegas, patients can always use a reminder of their upcoming appointments. In the end, an automated alert system means your patients will be healthier. There are many things humans have to keep up with to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Going to the gym, eating right, and continuing their checkups can all benefit a longer, healthier life. Sometimes we just need a little reminder.  

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