Managing Patient Reminders: 6 Best Practices For Giving Patients A Heads-Up

Jun 21, 2024 | Blog, Front Desk, Healthcare

Patient reminders are a vital part of daily healthcare clinic operations. While they seem to have a minor part in clinical communications, by and large, they play a significant role in maintaining the patient experience and even revenue cycle — but only if done correctly.

Here’s everything you need to know to help you learn how to manage patient reminders for maximum effectiveness.

What Is A Patient Reminder?

Patient reminders are pieces of patient communication where a healthcare practice notifies patients about upcoming appointments.

Sending patient reminders is a standard practice that helps reduce no-shows and cancellations. Today, most healthcare practices automate their patient reminders.

88% of healthcare organizations use software to send automated appointment reminders.

(MGMA)

While automation saves significant time and energy, it can fall short due to how formulaic and cold the reminders may sound.

To achieve an effective patient reminder workflow, you must implement efficient, patient-centered protocols that facilitate a positive experience.

6 Best Practices To Consider For Patient Appointment Reminders

1. Assign Patient Reminders To Your Front Desk

Your receptionists are vital in greeting patients, facilitating the check-in process, and other front office responsibilities. You can assign them administrative duties to help providers combat stress and burnout.

Adding the task of sending appointment reminders to their repertoire ensures that they’re sent out correctly. This is especially true since, ideally, patients must be notified regularly about an appointment they scheduled.

2. Utilize Various Ways Of Reaching Out To Patients

64% of customers prefer text as their means of communication for appointment reminders, according to a 2017 study by OpenMarket.

Still, offering multiple ways for patients to receive patient reminders is tremendously beneficial. It gives patients the flexibility to choose how they want to be notified. Plus, they’ll find your clinic accommodating and willing to take the initiative to help them stay on top of their schedules.

Other means of communication can come in the form of:

  • Emails
  • Phone calls
  • Patient portal messages

With your patient’s consent, you can also consider other digital communication channels such as Messenger, Viber, or WhatsApp.

3. Personalize Your Messages

71% of customers expect to receive personalized messages from businesses. 76% become frustrated when they don’t.

(McKinsey & Company)

Email or text templates can significantly streamline your patient reminder workflow. However, if they come off as too generic, you may miss the chance to come off as thoughtful.

Besides the patient’s name and date of appointment, consider switching out other variables like the salutation and closing remark. For more variety, you can also try having up to 5 templates for appointment reminders for every stage (e.g., one week before, three days before, 24 hours before, etc.).

4. Improve The Patient Experience

Patient reminders have a two-way relationship with the patient experience:

  1. Effective patient reminders can have a positive impact on the patient experience.
  2. The state of your patient experience can influence the effectiveness of your patient reminders.

If your patients receive a conducive, welcoming experience at your clinic, they will be more receptive to various forms of communication from your staff, including your patient reminders.

However, the patient experience should generally be your primary concern — the efficacy of your patient reminders will follow.

5. Focus On Patient-Provider Communication

Patient-provider communication not only involves the direct interactions between your patients and providers but also the indirect impact on your patients outside the appointment room.

Effective communication from your providers inspires confidence in your patients around your clinic. As a result, they are more likely to respond favorably to appointment reminders.

Plus, receiving patient reminders also makes your patients feel even more assured about their experience at your clinic.

6. Use Patient Feedback Surveys

Patient surveys give you insights into the perceptions and preferences of your patients.

If you implement patient feedback surveys, consider adding questions about the following aspects:

  • How they receive the patient reminders
  • The way the reminder is formatted
  • The length of the reminder
  • The frequency of the reminders
  • The general date and time for receiving the reminders

Manage Your Patient Reminders Effectively For Practice Success

Patient appointment reminders may be a minor aspect of daily clinical operations. However, you need to focus on every aspect of operations to facilitate an overall positive patient experience. 

When you implement these six best practices, your patients will have another reason to find their experience at your clinic memorable.

An effective patient reminder workflow is one way to launch your practice to long-term success. Another approach is integrating practice management software and patient intake solutions to increase patient satisfaction. WelcomeWare is a live virtual receptionist service and platform that enables your receptionists to work remotely, allowing them to cover multiple locations simultaneously and maintain a consistent patient experience.

Facilitate a holistic patient experience

Use WelcomeWare to provide patients a memorable customer service experience with your front desk

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