The aspiration of every dental practice is to provide great oral health care. You care about your patients. You care about their wellbeing. We know this is your top priority.
However, there is always a business side to dentistry.
In order to deliver those great oral health outcomes, your practice needs to be profitable. You need to develop strategies to keep patients coming back. One of the best ways to increase practice profitability is through appointment reminders. Appointment reminders significantly decrease the number of no-shows and cancellations.
However, appointment reminders are also an important way to keep patients engaged. You can communicate a lot about the tone of your business in an appointment reminder.
Let’s discuss the context that makes appointment reminders such a powerful tool for your dental practice!
Increasing Patient Retention with Appointment Reminders
In today’s world, dental patients have high standards for their consumer experience. In addition to delivering great dental care, your practice has to meet these expectations. 42% of dental patients say they would be more engaged if they were contacted between visits. This is where patient communication software comes in. At Intiveo, we know something about that! The ability to customize your messaging to your patients is essential. Communication software allows you to not only customize, but also engage with your patients with immediacy. We all lead busy lives. With patient communication software, you can fit the right message into your patient’s busy life at the right time.
An essential part of this engagement is the appointment reminder. Preparedness is key for a dental appointment! Your patient will come to a cleaning appointment very differently prepared than they would for a bone graft. Customize your messaging so that it is appointment-specific. Appointment reminders prevent both cancellations and no-shows for appointments. This is integral to the business side of your dental practice. Punctual, engaged patients allow you to maintain and optimize revenue for your practice.
At Intiveo, we pride ourselves on being present at every step of the patient’s journey. We’re with you and your patients all the way, from when they book an appointment to when they write you a review. One step on this journey is the appointment reminder. We believe in making this experience user-friendly with:
- a scheduler that updates in close to real time
- choosing from text, email, or voice to update clients
- 2-way chat between staff and patients
- an HIPAA compliant program that protects their information
- and more
Growing your dental practice as a business involves making sure your patients are prepared for every appointment. Get started with an Intiveo free trial!
Keeping Your Patients Engaged
But what’s so important about keeping your patients engaged? Why bother with software that allows for instant communication?
Since dental practices must meet consumer expectations, in addition to providing great dental care, you have to send a clear message. Both literally and figuratively! This instant messaging conveys something important: your patient matters to you. How they feel about their experience at your office matters. You show that you want to provide them with excellent service. Of course, it’s not enough to just make your patients feel good. Including the right content in this messaging is essential. Appointment reminders are where you want to include key instructions so that patients come prepared.
In addition, it’s important to remember how much your communication tools matter!
For many years, all appointment reminders took place over the phone. Now, text and email are the go-to form of appointment reminder. It’s important to clarify with your patients what their preferred form of communication is. Younger patients, in particular, will be keen to get appointment reminders by text. If they select text or email, you have an opportunity to provide them with links that open up a whole online experience.
At Intiveo, we have had the opportunity to see a number of case studies of dental practices that switched to automatic appointment reminders. For example, Altoona Centre for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery noted that their appointment cancellations went down by 90%. Central Valley Dental Implant & Oral Surgery Institute found that the number of patients who followed pre-op instructions went up by 28%.
In our incredibly fast-paced world, it’s important to keep your patient’s attention. Automated appointment reminders are a user-friendly way to keep your patient prepared for their next appointments. Join the many dental practices that have made the switch to appointment reminder software!
Bringing Your Patients Back After Covid
Covid-19 has been hard on dentistry as a profession. Dentists have been seeing fewer patients and delaying many procedures. This means it’s important to stay connected to your patient! Take this opportunity to remind your patient that, eventually, it will be important to come back for those routine check-ups. This is a great way to show your patients how much they matter to you.
While we’re still in the pandemic, however, it’s great to include a pre-appointment screening in your patient’s appointment reminder. This screening asks the key questions about Covid-19 symptoms, which helps keep both your patients and your staff safe.
Improving the Patient Experience Through Appointment Reminders
Let’s explore how appointment reminders can improve the patient experience! But before we do, it’s important to contextualize this. As we’ve already noted, patients now expect dental care to meet their consumer expectations. Patients expect dental practices to offer options like the following:
- location-sensitive mobile services
- immediate connectivity
- remote consultations
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic began, it was clear that a great deal of information was shared over mobile devices. A year into the pandemic, we can only guess how much that has increased. What this tells us, in part, is how important it is to have a secure, fully HIPAA compliant software to protect your patients’ information. But this also indicates how key it is to have immediate connectivity with your patients. That is now what we’re all used to.
Which can be very good news for your dental practice, because it opens up many options! You can connect with your patients through such innovations as:
- virtual appointments
- remote monitoring solutions
- and more!
This is the broader context that shows us the importance of appointment reminders for improving the patient experience. They are a step on a journey. This journey of connectivity with your patients is what will keep them coming back to your dental practice. When you improve the patient experience, you create loyal patients. In some ways, appointment reminders are the most important step on this journey. It’s the reminder to the patient to come into your practice, to experience the service that you want to provide for them.
Help Your Patients Stay Prepared
The thing about providing your patients with a good consumer experience is this:
Dentistry isn’t just any other consumer experience.
You are providing a medical service to your patients. It’s essential to communicate meaningfully. Improve your patients’ experience of your practice with a high level of communication. This is part of why appointment reminders are so important. You don’t just set patients’ expectations. You also meet those expectations. A meaningful appointment reminder allows you to:
- give your patients the right instructions for their appointment
- remind them of both the date and time
- foster an engaged patient-dentist relationship
- and more!
But what does this meaningful communication look like in action? For example, at Intiveo, for example, we try to give you as many opportunities to customize your messaging as possible. This is a great way to improve the patient experience! Through customization, you can create individualized messaging based on:
- the type of appointment
- how the patient wants to communicate – email, SMS, or voice
- special instructions associated with the appointment
- and more
Part of improving the patient experience at Intiveo is our take on the virtual waiting room. The 2-way chat allows you to update your patients in almost real time.
Of course, appointment reminders are just one step. A comprehensive understanding of this cycle is part of improving the patient experience. Above all, it’s important to remember that engagement at all the steps keeps your patient invested in their oral health. For instance, this can happen not just at the booking, but also at the post-op instructions, recall, request for review. Appointment reminders are an important touchpoint in this cycle. They bring patients into your practice. They keep them prepared for their appointment.
Show your patients how much you value them! Get started with appointment reminders today.
Appointment Reminders in the Field
But don’t take our word for it! At Intiveo, we have had the opportunity to get feedback from a number of dental practices. The use of appointment reminder software greatly improved their patients’ experience.
For example, Central Valley Dental Implant and Oral Surgery Institute saw a 50% increase in confirmation rates. Note only that, but they also saw a 70% increase in patients’ completing paperwork before they came to the appointment. Over at Altoona Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, they saw a 75% increase in confirmations – as well as a 90% decrease in cancelled appointments. To complement these numbers, Altoona also saw a 95% increase in patients giving a review. For these two OMS practices, this increased patient engagement meant for more positive appointment outcomes. We saw similar outcomes at Contestoga Oral Surgery, a multi-location practice. Every location sees consistency in patient communication, as well as use of the 2-way chat.
These numbers also indicate something essential: patients are engaged. Engaged users are satisfied users. Appointment reminder software has improved their experience.
As we can see, an improved patient experience keeps your patients coming back to your practice!
Best Practices for Appointment Reminders
So what are the best practices for appointment reminders?
How do we make appointment reminder messaging meaningful?
And what can appointment reminders mean for safety in the age of Covid-19?
These are all important questions to consider when customizing your appointment reminders. The key element of best practice is preparedness. Give your patients the right information. This way, they come prepared for the appointment. Every dental practice’s staff knows the frustration of cancelling an appointment for an unprepared patient. Maybe the patient forgot to fast. Maybe they forgot to take certain medications. Maybe they forgot to bring forms. The canceled appointment results in loss of income for your practice. This is particularly frustrating for OMS practices. A patient coming unprepared for an appointment might result in a $1000+ loss for that practice.
In terms of best practice, it is always good to include all the necessary information in the appointment reminder. Important pieces of information can include:
- instructions about fasting
- requests for x-rays or paperwork
- date and time of the appointment
- and more
Including key instructions is important for both general dentistry and OMS practices. Supporting your patients in being prepared! This is a great way to build patient loyalty. Providing this information shows that you really care about your patients. You want them to come into your practice, ready for their appointments. You want to support them in caring about their oral health. Returning patients are an important part of maximizing profitability. Creating a returning client base allows your practice to flourish.
Personalization, Customization, and the Patient’s Individualized Experience
The best way to facilitate this personalized messaging is through customization. Give your patients the option of phone, email, or text. In particular, our younger patients will appreciate the option of communicating by text. At Intiveo, we have developed appointment reminder software that prioritizes customization. We offer a wide variety of templates. This way, you can choose the best way to communicate the essentials.
For example, what if you wanted to remind your patient about a general consultation appointment? You can choose a simple text message that might include the date, time, your patient’s name, and a quick greeting. An email might include more details, such as:
- a button prompting your patient to confirm the appointment
- linking the patient to patient registration and health history forms
- a link to a wellness screening form
- reminders about any materials that are necessary for the appointment
- your practice’s address
- your cancellation policy
This is different from what an OMS practice might include. Say, for example, that your practice needs to send a reminder for a wisdom tooth extraction. Of course, you will want to include information that is useful in any reminder, such as your address, cancellation policy, and a reminder of the date and time of the appointment. But customization allows you to include details that are specific to OMS practice, such as:
- pre-operation instructions, like reminding your patient to fast or arrange for a designated driver
- information about the extraction – often, a video can be a great choice!
- links that send the patient to more detailed pre- and postoperative instructions
At Intiveo, we pride ourselves on creating user-friendly appointment software that you can customize to each of your patients. Check out our 60-day free trial today!
The Changing Landscape of Dentistry
Dentistry has undergone quite a shift in order to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic. There are now extra precautions that must be taken in order to preserve the health of staff and patients alike. Appointment reminders play an important role in these precautions. Including a wellness screening survey in your appointment reminders is a must. The survey asks the essential questions about Covid-19. Consequently, your patients should stay home when they are experiencing symptoms.
Of course, there is always a business side to a dental practice. Many dental practices have been concerned about lack of revenue because of Covid-19. However, the screening survey can include an opportunity to re-book if the patient is unwell. This not only provides an opportunity for a good oral health outcome. It also ensures continued profit for your dental practices, so you can continue giving those great oral health outcomes.
Your Buyer’s Guide for Appointment Reminder Software
There are many things that appointment reminder software offers your dental practice. In the context of the business side of a dental practice, an appointment reminder can maximize profitability through:
- creating better workflows for staff and facilitating efficiency
- reducing no-shows for appointments
- reducing appointment cancellations
But once you’re ready to invest in an appointment reminder tool, what should you be sure to include in it? There are some key features to include, such as:
- the automated appointment reminder itself – often sent by text or email!
- tracking of the appointment confirmation – lets you know if you should expect a no-show
- a Covid-19 screening form – it’s possible that a wellness screening form will become a permanent part of pre-appointment procedure
- rescheduling options for patients who are sick or double-booked
- reminders about payment
As you look for the right appointment reminder tool for your business, it’s important to choose one that will improve the patient experience. It is becoming routine for practices to use medical scheduling software. Consequently, it’s likely that will become the norm. Certainly, we know that patients are much more engaged when they are sent appointment reminders!
When you stay connected to your patients through appointment reminders, you are able to build that solid patient base that keeps your practice flourish.
Check out our blog post for more in-depth details about selecting the right software!
What to Include in an Appointment Reminder
When you’re ready to invest in appointment reminder software, where do you start looking? It’s important to choose the right tool for your business! We have a few suggestions to get you started.
No matter which appointment reminder software you choose, ensure that it is HIPAA compliant. This is important for keeping information confidential for both your client and your practice.
Naturally, our first suggestion is Intiveo! This is the appointment reminder software that we know best. With our software, you can the option to:
- personalize each appointment reminder by type
- include various types of messaging or specific instructions
- you and your patient agree on the best way to reach them, via SMS, email, or voice
- include wellness screen forms
- request online review
- send post-appointment satisfaction surveys
Intiveo’s appointment reminder software is designed to be user-friendly. Our cloud-based system allows for accessible information on the go! Our tool connects with your scheduler. This updates in close to real time.
What we offer at Intiveo is a holistic experience. The journey of patient engagement does not begin and end with an appointment reminder. Our software is there at every step. As an example, once your patient is in the virtual waiting room, they can use the 2-way chat to communicate with staff. This way, the patient’s time feels respected. They know exactly when to expect to see the dentist.
Get in touch with Intiveo today to learn more.
Exploring Appointment Reminder Software
There are many excellent appointment reminder tools on the market. Certainly, some are designed specifically for dental practices. Others are not, but still have many user-friendly features! Here are some of our suggestions:
- DoctorConnect links with the electronic medical record (EMR) and patient management system (PMS) that you already have. You can send appointment reminders by voice, email, or text. You can also send appointment reminders at three different intervals
- Pomelo Health is focused on decreasing your no-shows! This appointment reminder software also offers the option of voice, text, or email. You can do many things to Pomelo Health appointment reminders, including alerts, links, forms, and more!
- Legwork offers SMS, auto-call, mail, and email appointment reminders to patients. Offering a cloud-based solution, Legwork integrates with your PMS and keeps everything on one interface.
- GoReminders serves many industries, including dentistry. With simple strategies, GoReminders strives to be your all-in-one solution. Schedule the appointment – remind the patient – and the patient comes so the appointment!
Choosing the right appointment reminder software can feel daunting. But it doesn’t have to be! Capterra and many other buyer’s guides offer you the opportunity to browse and compare.
Your Practice with Appointment Reminder Software
Your practice will only benefit from appointment reminder software. Appointment reminder software increases your ability to:
- retain patients
- reduce the incidence of cancellations and no-shows
- improve the patient experience
- increase patient engagement
- and more!
At Intiveo, we talk a lot about the patient’s journey. Appointment reminders are an integral part of that journey, of the cycle of patient engagement. You remind them to come into your practice. You show that you value the patient, their oral health, and their loyalty to your practice.
Good luck on your appointment reminder journey!