Saving Money with Automated Appointment Reminders

We were asked by our Valued Partner, iSALUS to write an expert guest blog. The original can be found here. Or, you can check it out below.  

As our clients continue to examine their options for increased efficiency and saving money in 2016, we thought it was important to take a deeper look at appointment reminders.  To find out more we went to our Partners at Inphonite, who are experts in the field of automated appointment reminders to help us truly show how automated messaging can help you. 

Automated appointment reminders are becoming the norm for medical practices to remind patients of scheduled appointments - and for a variety of reasons. They save you time and money, while reducing no-shows and making your office staff and patients happy. You no longer need to wonder if you are going to have all of your patients show up for their appointments, prepared and on time.  You can easily integrate to send calls, texts, or emails and then receive reports back, letting you know who confirmed, wants to reschedule or cancel their appointment.

Having an automated appointment reminder system is a great solution to save money. When automated messaging is used with best practices being followed, studies show that no-shows are reduced by as much as 50%. The financial losses associated with high no-show rates can be measured easily by calculating the average no-show rate for a given time period, and multiplying it by the average cost per visit. For example, if a provider schedules 25 appointments per day, at an average cost of $80 per visit, he or she would generate about $2,000 per day. If this same provider averages 3 no-shows per day, the lost weekly income would be estimated at $1,200, translating into $62,400 annually. This figure, expanded to include multiple providers, quite easily demonstrates the immediately measurable cost associated with missed appointments.

The reduction in no-shows alone offer great benefits, and the costs associated with sending messages is often quite minimal. Consider a practice of only one doctor. That office would need to make around 100 automated calls, to equal the expense of paying one employee for one hour at minimum wage. If employees are spending 1 hour, 260 days a year making calls, they are spending 260 hours per year reminding people of their appointments. Now, multiply that 260 hours by their hourly wage, and that is some serious cost savings. To determine your own savings, simply find out how many hours a day you’re already spending reminding people just to show up and multiply that number by your staff’s hourly wage.

Also, while it can be difficult to determine effectiveness of phone reminders when calls are handled manually, the opposite is true when automating this process. In many offices, telephone appointment reminders are made late in the day, and are not completed before the close of business. Staff are juggling incoming or outgoing patients and appointment reminders at the same time, all while trying to close out business, which can lead to communication or note taking errors. It may be difficult to keep track of calls that are busy or unanswered and to remember to try those people again. Reaching a live person with an appointment reminder call can turn into a long conversation and require additional time and work if the patient has questions, needs directions, or wants to reschedule. This, in turn, could lead to employees needing to work late simply to finish making these calls. In addition, some providers in a facility may be dedicated to making reminder calls while others are not, which makes it difficult to evaluate the overall no-show problem and potential for cost savings for the entire facility. Automating appointment remindersmeans you can easily and often, review the numbers to evaluate a no-show problem for the entire facility as well as the individual providers.

Automated appointment reminders also save time. If you have office staff that are manually calling patients, even if they only take 5-10 minutes on the line with each person, it can take up to one hour for only 6 patients. Remember above, where the automated system would need to make around 100 calls for the same cost as one hour of your employee’s time? And just think, it grows exponentially if you have a bigger practice. With an automated system, you need only about 5 minutes to upload your schedule, and another 5 minutes to review the results.  And, did we mention that your patients love them too? Especially text messages!

In short, the cost benefits of appointment reminders, plus everything they do to simplify things around the office, including making your office staff and patients happy, prove they are the right choice for many reasons.

 To learn more or to get started using automated appointment reminders, call 800-350-7693, now!