Discover how you can instantly cut the guessing out of appointment ‘no-shows’, fit in more patients and significantly reduce costs.

I often come across many hospital trusts and local GP surgeries across the country who say they are already using text messaging to send out reminders the day before an appointment.

Which isn’t surprising when over 50% of patients stated that they like to be contacted via SMS and 64% of them find appointment reminders the most useful form of communication.

Yet despite the positive uptake on text messaging, it still begs the question: how do you know whether a patient will actually turn up?

Répondez, s’il vous plait

I recently turned 21 *cough cough*, so I decided to throw a little soiree to celebrate. As a nod to my youth, I designed and printed some invitations to send to my guests.

By including R.S.V.P (or répondez, s’il vous plait for our French readers), my guests instantly knew they were respectfully required to reply. Sure, I could have set up a Facebook group, but the chances are they’d simply forget to reply or would give me a tentative answer.

As a result of sending out the invitations, 100% of my guests responded and my party was a roaring success. And it’s the same principle with text messaging in the health sector.

When it comes to sending out an appointment reminder, it’s essential to find out whether your patient is going to attend. Especially when you consider the fact that every appointment ‘no-show’ costs the NHS around £160.

Improving the patient experience with SMS

After sending out a SMS appointment reminder, you can take the patient experience to the next level.

Using simple automation makes your communications focussed to drive further commitment or get another booking in the diary. Using ‘inboxes’ on our platform will allow you to receive a message indicating a patient’s acceptance or not.

For the patients that respond with ‘yes’, this is your chance to increase commitment by sending a ‘thank you’ and an attachment of a map of the destination.

The ‘not coming’ respondents should be directed to rebook by speaking to the department again or by automated means.

Each day, you can run an automated report and find out how many patients are coming and how many are not – the latter are the ones that need more SMS communication.

When it comes to sending the SMS alert, it’s worth including the cost of a missed appointment in your SMS. For example: “Every missed visit costs the NHS £160, please help us conserve our funds by letting us know you are coming”. This kind of content has previously helped improve attendance rates.

The automated way is great for reducing interaction where the user can manage their own booking. Access to an online appointment system will also reduce the time spent on the telephone and allow you to focus on the patients that struggle using mobile phones.

It’s simple: add more elements to your automated SMS campaigns and see the difference.

Go the extra mile today

Here at Textlocal, we see our platform as an ‘enabler’ to your outcomes and can configure the system to deliver for you. Before rolling this out to your patients, we will give you 500 free credits to test the ‘cash conservation’ scheme. So, if you want to reduce losses and cut the guessing out of patient attendance, set up an automated SMS process with our award-winning platform today.

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