How to Eliminate Patient No-Shows Once and for All

Using SMS appointment reminders, you can ensure your patient doesn’t miss an appointment while eliminating the high costs of no-shows.

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How to Eliminate Patient No-Shows Once and for All

We’ve all been there—a missed dentist or doctor appointment because it slipped our mind to add it to our calendar or we simply forgot to show up. Since doctors are notoriously overbooked, it’s a hassle to reschedule the appointment. For patients, this scenario is a hassle.

But for physicians, no-shows are more than a hassle; they’re an expensive problem. Studies show that patient no-shows can cost a single doctor upwards of $150,000 a year. That’s why many medical practitioners are adopting SMS appointment reminders to prevent missed appointments from happening altogether.

Creating a Better, Automated Way to Remind Patients of their Appointments

Appointment reminders are a necessary function for medical offices to ensure their patients show up. But since patients live busy lives, phone calls and emails can be easily missed. That’s why text messaging is fast becoming a preferred and convenient method to remind patients of upcoming appointments. Many medical professionals are now employing two-way SMS to automatically notify patients of their appointments so they can then confirm, cancel, or reschedule via text.

Physicians who use text messaging to communicate with their patients send a reminder a few days or a few hours in advance of their scheduled appointments. This advance notice helps to reduce the number of no-shows, and enables patients to contact the physician’s office directly if they need to make any changes. With Twilio appointment reminders, the entire experience can be completely automated while providing an excellent, satisfying patient experience.

Dramatically Reducing Missed Appointments and Costs with Twilio

Arkansas Children’s Hospital understood firsthand what happens when patients are a no-show. Not only does a missed appointment cost the hospital time and money, but it can negatively affect a child’s care and recovery.

To solve this problem, Arkansas Children’s Hospital turned to Twilio to reduce its no-show rate. During their first year with Twillo, the hospital reduced costs by $250,000 by eliminating its on-premises call center. With the implementation of Twilio appointment reminders, they also experienced 90% fewer missed appointments. Most importantly, its new Twilio-powered appointment reminder service helped the hospital directly meet the needs of patients so that everyone receives exceptional care. Today when a patient books an appointment with Arkansas Children’s Hospital, they can opt in to SMS or voice reminders. If the patient selects voice reminders, the hospital’s call script will contact patients one day before their appointment, remind them of the day, time, and location of their appointment, and ask them if they will be there. If the response to the call is “Yes,” the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) will confirm the appointment time once again and hang up. If the patient says “No” on the call, the script will remind the patient to reschedule and give them the phone number to call to make a new appointment.

Arkansas Children's Hospital Appointment Reminder

When the hospital decided to implement an appointment reminder service, they knew they would need to create a service in-house so they could have complete control over its customer communications infrastructure. With Twilio, they were able to get to market faster with pay-as-you-go pricing, free support, and the freedom to scale up or down without contract amendments or new service orders getting in the way.

Integrating a Scalable, Flexible, End-to-End Appointment Reminder Solution

Whether your business is a complex communications operation like the hospital or the town’s local doctor’s office, building SMS and voice into your customer communications is easy with SMS APIs like Twilio. APIs allow you to build appointment reminder logic into your own scheduling or CRM software, and provide you with enormous amounts of flexibility to customize the timing of your patient alerts and scheduling.

Twilio’s robust global network and simple-to-use API provides the the scale, flexibility, performance, and reliability to ensure appointment reminders reach patients automatically, every time. And, ultimately, SMS reminders can help stop no-shows so medical professionals can do what they do best: create a healthy patient experience every time.