No shows are a serious problem. One estimate puts the cost of no shows in the United States alone at 150 billion dollars per year based on a loss of $200 per unused time slot on average. That’s an astronomical amount of money being lost due to missed appointments, and it’s a problem that shouldn’t be nearly as common as it is. Between 23% and 34% of patient, appointments are missed annually, and while telephone reminders are the most popular method of reminding patients of upcoming appointments, the numbers show that traditional reminders simply aren’t effective enough.В
That’s where text messaging comes in.В
Text messaging is the preferred method of communication for a huge percentage of your patients. Pew Research found that 97% of all smartphone users regularly text. Gallup found that text messaging is by far the most frequently used communication method among Americans under 50. Put simply, your patients love text messages and are highly engaged by them. And the younger they are, the more likely it is your practice will have far more success communicating with them by text than over the phone or through email.В
Patient Text Message Scheduling Software
One technology designed to tap into the power of text messaging, also known as SMS messaging, is the text messaging scheduling software available in some customer resource management platforms, like MedicalCRM.В
Patient text message scheduling software allows your clinic to automatically schedule reminder texts to go out to patients in predetermined intervals prior to appointments or any other important dates or events. While a patient might fail to pick up their phone or forget to check their voicemail, text messages almost never get ignored. In fact, open rates for SMS messages have been estimated to be anywhere from 82% to as high as 98%!
Those open rates demonstrate the level of engagement that text messaging enjoys with users – including your patients – and represents a major step towards more effective appointment reminders. Many smartphones even allow users to set alarms or calendar reminders right from within a text, further increasing the chances of a patient showing up on time.В
В Go Beyond Reminders and Empower Patients
One of the beauties of the SMS capabilities featured in platforms like MedicalCRM is that they work both ways. In addition to prescheduling outgoing SMS messages, your clinic can also receive incoming text messages from your patients right through the software. That enables patients to quickly and easily send cancellation or rescheduling requests to your staff right from their smartphones, further reducing the number of unexpected no-shows your practice has to deal with.В
The entire system works directly with your office’s main number, so that every time your system sends out a text, your patients will recognize the sender, and whenever they need to text you back, they’ll be able to message you directly at your mainline, as if it were a mobile number.В
The reach, engagement, and overall power of SMS messaging is well known in marketing circles the world over, and tapping into that power is one of the most effective ways medical clinics can reduce no shows. For patients 50 and under – and especially for millennials – texting is the preferred method of communication, and if your clinic isn’t reaching out to your patients through their preferred medium, you stand to gain a lot from adjusting your strategy.
Luckily, MedicalCRM makes it easier than ever for your practice to start communicating with your patients through text today. Sign up for a free one-on-one demo to see the SMS messaging feature in action and to find out more about all the ways MedicalCRM can help make your practice more productive and more profitable.В