Which Medical Appointment Reminder Suits your Practice; the Email Reminder or Telephone Reminder?

July 14th, 2009


When you decided to become a private practitioner you probably started out with a handful of patients. Appointments were easy to keep track of and you probably thought that your medical receptionist was the most efficient front desk receptionist available. You knew each patient down to their dog’s name and so did everyone in the practice.

Your practice has probably grown since then and keeping track of your patients and their appointments is becoming more of a challenge for both your patients and especially for your medical receptionist. You can help ease the burden on your front desk receptionist and the rest of your medical staff by investing in an email reminder or telephone reminder. A telephone or email reminder will remind patients of their appointment either online or via a telephone call according to your preference.

The success of your reminder service will directly affect the success of your practice. Deciding on which type of appointment reminder service will suit you best will be influenced by your practice and your patients. Check your patients’ personal records for their contact information. If most of them have email addresses then an email reminder would be suitable. If most of your patients do not have email addresses then a telephone reminder would be more logical.

You ought to consider the type of practice you are running and the type of people you receive as patients. If majority of your patients are elderly or from poor neighborhoods, an email reminder may not reach as many of your patients as you would like. Even if these patients had email addresses they would not spend much time surfing as they either cannot afford to or do not know how to. An email reminder would be suitable in a practice where the patients have access to the Internet and check their emails regularly.

Doctors should also consider the preference of their patients. Some patients will be irritated by receiving telephone calls reminding them of appointments at regular intervals. Such patients would much rather have an email reminder sent to their email addresses. Others would prefer to be alerted via telephone as they are probably prone to forgetting about their appointments easily. This is especially true for elderly patients.

Both a telephone and email reminder are only 90% effective. No doctor can be assured 100% of the successful delivery of all reminders on either service. A telephone reminder may not be delivered as the patient may not answer the telephone. An email reminder may not be read as the patient may fail to check his or her email in good time.

It is therefore advisable for a doctor to invest in both a telephone and email reminder. It may seem expensive in the beginning but the returns will be well worth it. Both services are inexpensive to maintain and working together will guarantee you a more successful delivery. Your patients can even choose the reminder service they prefer.

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