Missed appointments is a real issue in service-led organisations and businesses. Just the other day, North Tees and Hartlepool hospitals reported that it cost them £3.5m last year. A figure which could have been significantly reduced with text messaging.
The North Tees and Hartlepool NHS lost millions of pounds last year through missed appointments. The figures show that 23,263 patients were guilty of this.
Based on the fact that an average appointment costs around £160, a total of £3,489,450 was wasted. That amount would have been enough to employ 159 entry level midwives or nurses for a year.
The South Tees NHS Foundation Trust also revealed that almost £10m was lost last year because of the same reason.
These stats are extremely scary given the fact that these are just two examples across the UK. Other healthcare organisations, corporations and even SMEs are also suffering from the same issue.
One example in particular was an independent optician in Carlisle, Dolores Marshall Opticians. They were fed up of wasting valuable testing time because of ‘no-shows’ and wanted a quick way of reminding patients of their appointment.
Dolores Marshall Opticians signed up to Textlocal.com, which is a free SMS platform for businesses and organisations. They were able to get up and running within minutes using their existing patient data.
A huge benefit is the ability to schedule appointment reminders with very little effort from the practice staff. By sending text messages, Dolores Marshall Opticians were able to prompt customers to rearrange their appointment if they had forgotten or could no longer make it. This allowed the practice to fill any cancellations, saving them money, resource and time.
The owner, Dolores Marshall, explained: “I’ve definitely seen a big benefit for the business since using text messaging. We’re saving time which is the main thing, but we’re also saving on costs and reducing admin.”
She added: “We’ve found that customers of all ages have a mobile phone and respond well to our messages. It has also reduced ‘no-shows’ and allowed us to use our appointment time more efficiently.”
The truth is, text messaging offers an unparalleled opportunity for service-led industries. Its average open rate stands at 98%, and a patient or customer rarely has their smartphone out of their reach. A quick text message can instantly remind someone about an upcoming appointment or event.
It’s also been reported by The George Institute for Global Health in Australia, that sending text messages to their former patients has helped to improve blood pressure, raise physical activity levels and reduce obesity. Not bad for a humble text message.
Open your eyes to text messaging
Don’t let missed appointments impact your organisation or business. Take Dolores Marshall Opticians by example and include text messaging into your means of communication today.