Question: Why would a medical practice want to implement an automated appointment reminder system?
Medical appointment reminder software is aimed at minimizing doctors’ no show rate and optimizing physician time allocation. When a patient misses her appointment, time that could have been re-allocated to another patient is lost. Well, to be fair, at a busy clinic, doctor always has something to do, but missed appointment time will likely to be dedicated on administrative task. One might say, so what, this saves doc’s admin time that he can later dedicate to seeing another patient. But this is not really how time allocation works. Time fragmentation and task hoping impacts efficiency and hurts practice bottom line.
Doctors have a whole arsenal of tools aimed at improving productivity and minimizing lost time. An automated appointment reminder system should be considered as a single most effective tool that costs a small fraction of benefits it brings.
So, what makes use of an automated appointment reminder system a big game changer in the doctor’s office set up? There are several factors.
Firstly, it minimizes chances for patient not showing for her scheduled appointment. No show has a measurable impact on practice revenue and is easy to assess. Typical outpatient medical office no show rate varies between 7 and 15%. Even best case scenario hurts the practice. 7% no show rate translates to about 500 patients a year. Depending on physician specialty, this could be from $50,000 in Primary Care (Family Medicine, Pediatrics) to $500,000 in procedures, e.g. minor surgeries. If the rate drops by just 1%, practice is making $5,000-$50,000 more a year!
Secondly, if medical office has no automated appointment reminder system in place, an employee should be calling patients with reminders and pre-procedure instructions. This is a cumbersome task that makes one bored in a minute. This is also a task difficult to supervise and control, so quite often an individual responsible for reminding patients does not complete the task 100%, leaving some patients uncovered.
Finally, an employee that is calling patients with appointment reminders gets paid salary and fringe benefits that add up to about $5,000 a year.
Add up One, Two and Three and see if you can afford not to use an automated medical appointment reminder system.