From a patient's perspective, missing a doctor's appointment is at most an annoying inconvenience. After all, they can always reschedule. From a doctor's perspective, though, it's like watching money go down the drain.
One study found that the average hospital in the U.S. experiences 62 no-shows per day, adding up to a whopping $3 million in lost revenue annually. For smaller practices, the numbers are equally grim—the average no-show rate for primary care and specialty medical appointments is 20 percent annually.
If your patients consistently fail to show up to scheduled appointments, costing your practice valuable time and money, there's a solution that can keep your staff from having to make calls all day long: appointment reminder software.
In this Buyer's Guide, we'll go over everything you need to know about appointment reminder software to aid you in your research and help you make a more informed purchase decision.
Here's what we'll cover:
What Is Appointment Reminder Software?
Common Appointment Reminder Software Features
Benefits of Appointment Reminder Software
How Is Appointment Reminder Software Priced?
Other Appointment Reminder Software Considerations
Appointment reminder software is designed to help medical practices by alleviating the burden of manually reminding patients about upcoming appointments. It accomplishes this with features such as scheduling integration, automated notifications and patient self-service.
Once it's set up, appointment reminder software automatically sends reminders to your patients via phone call, text or email at predetermined times before their appointment—increasing the likelihood that they show up on time.
Reminder email builder in AdvancedMD
Appointment reminder software functionality will vary from system to system depending on how advanced it is, your practice size and whether it includes additional billing or EMR capabilities.
In general, though, most appointment reminder software systems will have the following five features in common:
|Appointment message builder||Create a custom appointment reminder message that automatically fills in important details for each individual patient.|
|Appointment reminders||Automatically send reminder messages to patients at preset times before an appointment via email, phone call or text.|
|Patient self-service||Patients can reply to messages to ask questions or confirm and reschedule appointments.|
|Scheduling integration||Any confirmations or changes to appointments are automatically reflected in your scheduling system.|
|Reporting||Generate reports showing trends in response rates, appointment no-shows and more.|
Being able to automate patient reminders with software allows your staff to redirect their time toward more impactful tasks that will improve your practice. That's a major benefit of appointment reminder software, but it's not the only one. Here are a few more:
Appointment reminder software pricing can vary considerably based on a variety of factors, the most significant of which is whether the software is sold with a perpetual or subscription license.
With a perpetual license, you pay a lump sum upfront—typically starting at a couple thousand dollars—to own the software indefinitely. This fee can depend on your practice size or even which channels you'll be using for patient reminders. Voicent, for example, has one cost for phone-only appointment reminders and another for phone, email and text.
With a subscription license, on the other hand, you pay a smaller monthly or annual fee for as long as you want to use the software. This is usually a flat fee and is often tied to usage or based on how many licensed health care providers will be using the system. Drchrono, for example, charges between $199 and $499 per provider per month.
Outside of the license cost, buyers may see significantly different pricing options for stand-alone appointment reminder software compared to appointment reminder functionality that's wrapped up in larger practice management or EMR systems. There may be other fees as well for things such as implementation, training, support and EMR integration.
Be sure to ask vendors about all of these options to get a clear picture of the total cost.
Just as important as deciding which appointment reminder software system to purchase is how you implement that system in your practice. Here are some final things to keep in mind when researching, purchasing and setting up appointment reminder software:
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