How to Avoid Patient No-Shows

April 13th, 2010

According to a survey presented at a conference that was organized by the Royal College of Surgeons, as much as 15% of patients who make appointments do not show up for their appointments. 76% of these patients do not even let their doctors know that they would not go for the scheduled appointments. 15% of them said that they forgot about their appointments while 26% said that they got no notification. From this study, you can see the importance of patient appointment reminder service.

Making appointments is certainly very important. However, if you leave it at that, you will still be losing out. You need an effective way of keeping in touch with the patients to ensure that they do not forget to come for the scheduled appointments.

You have already set up an appointment scheduler. Why should you spend on a patient appointment reminder service? Look at it this way. How many patients fail to show up to your medical practice each month? If 15% of patients do not show up because you do not remind them, how much will you be losing? Yet if you save just one patient no-show within a month, you will have paid for the reminder service.

Now that you have seen the importance of a patient appointment reminder program, what should you look for to ensure that you get the best service?

Avoid large up-front costs:

Just because you have read a good review about a given service should not make you commit to a program that requires a large upfront payment that will tie you up for a long time. You should preferably look for an appointment reminder service that you pay for on a monthly basis.

Different ways of contacting patients:

People have different interests and lead different lifestyles. This means that relying on a service that uses just one method of contacting the patients will not serve you well. Here are some of the ways through which you should be able to contact your patients.


Very many people use telephone, both young and old. However, you will miss the patients who are not at home during the call and do not have an answering system.


The advancement in Information Technology has made the use of email very popular nowadays. Email offers a fast way of getting in touch with people easily.

However, if your patient reminder service uses email only, you will not cater for those who who do use email, particularly the elderly. In addition, increasing misuse of email has has made email programs enhance their spam filters, and your reminders may not reach the patients at times.

Text message reminder

Text message gives a convenient way of keeping in touch with the patients wherever they may be. The greatest drawback, however, is the fact that the patients will pay for the text messages.

The automated patient reminder service you use should use a combination of all these methods.

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