Hospitals suffer hugely when patients miss their appointments. In the United Kingdom, 6.9 million missed appointments per year cost the National Health Service $1.2 billion a year (Rojas, 2012). The amount of lost revenue and additional patient wait time is so massive that one U.K. government official suggested charging patients who missed appointments.
No-shows aren’t unique to healthcare. Just about any service-oriented organization is affected, including automotive service and repair shops, financial institutions, mortgage brokers, and more. Most missed appointments aren’t intentional. It’s often a simple matter of forgetfulness, due to their being made weeks or months in advance. This makes them unlikely to be at top of patients’ or customers’ minds when the appointment finally arrives.
Helping Customers and Patients Remember
Using multichannel automation solutions, organizations can automatically send reminders, alerts, and other notices to their patients and customers. For example, a medical center could send appointment reminders via email, SMS/text message, voice mail, etc., depending on what channel the patient prefers.
Adding business intelligence to the mix enables organizations to send notifications and reminders based on policies. These outbound campaigns not only can send reminders but also can allow recipients to confirm, cancel, or reschedule appointments (provided that their identities have been verified). Customers and patients who cancel without rescheduling can be identified and contacted later. Customers can also request to speak with a live agent to assist them with more complex queries or reschedule the appointment for a more convenient time.
The Business Value of Automatic Reminders
Automated reminder solutions help medical facilities and service-oriented organizations to:
Proactively identify patients or customers who need to reschedule their appointments.
Allow others to fill newly vacant appointment slots.
Recover lost revenue.
Improve resource utilization.
Reduce wait times.
Improve patient or customer satisfaction.
Reduce management costs and operational expenses.
All of these benefits can be achieved without manually calling patients or customers.