One of the most important aspects of running a dental practice, regardless of specialty, is maintaining a high level of patient satisfaction. The best way to do this is by providing top-notch service, which includes making sure that your patients don’t forget their appointments!
The truth is, patients miss their appointments more often than we would like to admit. In fact, reports show that forgetfulness is one of the most common reasons for missed appointments. It’s not that your patients don’t want to come in; it’s that they simply don’t remember when their appointment is – due to a lack of reminders. However, if you have an effective appointment reminder system in place, this problem should be an easy fix.
There are many ways to remind patients of upcoming appointments and in this day and age, there’s one method that stands out above the rest: automated appointment reminder software.
What exactly is an appointment reminder software?
Appointment reminder software is an excellent tool that allows your practice to send SMS and email reminders to patients ahead of time so that they remember to show up for their appointments. This software can also help you track who has confirmed or declined an appointment, send out key pre-appointment instructions, and provide handy re-scheduling options – all of which we’ll dive into in this article.
But how do you know which appointment reminder software is the right fit for your dental practice?
There are many varieties of appointment reminder software available on the market – but not all are made equal. Each software varies in features, ease of use, cost, integration capabilities, and so on. When searching for the right fit, the first thing you need to do is explore the different options available and compare them with your practice needs.
The good news is that most software companies actually offer free consultations or demos. This is a great opportunity for you to ask any questions, provide information about your practice specialty and size for compatibility, and see the software and its features live in action.
Here are some features we think your appointment reminder software should include:
Integration with your current systems
If you run a dental practice, you most likely have a practice management system, patient portal, or appointment scheduling system already in place. When purchasing appointment reminder software, you need to make sure that it’s compatible and can easily integrate with your current systems.
A valid question to ask is, how does integration help?
Let’s first talk about what happens if you don’t integrate your appointment reminder system with your current software. You will need to manually add each new patient into each system, and if they don’t show up or call in advance to cancel, you’ll need to manually mark them as such in all systems as well. This process can lead to errors and is extremely time-consuming.
A good appointment reminder software should be able to seamlessly integrate with your existing tools. Integration not only reduces human errors by eliminating manual processes, but it will also keep everything streamlined and simple for you and your patients alike.
Automated appointment reminders
If your practice sees frequent patient no-shows and cancellations, it might be time to look into an appointment reminder software with automation capabilities.
Automated appointment reminders can help increase the success rate of your appointments by ensuring that patients are reminded ahead of time – in a way that’s convenient for them whether it’s via text or email. This will help improve efficiency by reducing the need for staff time spent manually reminding patients about their upcoming appointments, or playing dreaded telephone tag.
Appointment confirmation CTA & easy re-scheduling process
So you’ve been proactive in reminding patients about their upcoming appointments, but it doesn’t stop there! While the appointment reminder software has the ability to send emails and texts, a key step to ensuring that a patient shows up for their appointment is by having them actually confirm their attendance.
By adding something like a “Click to confirm/Click to re-schedule” CTA on your email reminders, or “Send YES to confirm, Send NO to re-schedule” CTA on your text reminders, you can easily track who may or may not show up for their appointments.
Clear cancellation policy
Having a clear cancellation policy can go a long way in enhancing your patient’s experience and establishing trust between you and your patients.
With an appointment reminder software in place, you can help patients avoid no-show fees by giving them the opportunity to reschedule or cancel their appointments ahead of time. Obviously, you can’t control when emergencies or situations arise that prevent patients from showing up for their appointments, but by having a clear policy in place, you at least have some guidelines for dealing with these situations when they occur.
A clear cancellation policy will help ensure that your dental practice runs smoothly at all times of the year, even during the busy seasons.
Sending out pre-appointment intake and wellness forms
Ever heard of the saying “I’ve got people to see, places to go, and things to do”?
Well, patients are busy, and they don’t always remember to fill out their intake and wellness forms. This results in them filling out their forms in-office and can increase the length of their appointment times, leading to longer wait times for other patients.
The best practice is to remind patients to fill out their forms a day before their appointment. Using automated appointment reminders, you can attach the required forms via text or email. With these forms completed ahead of time, you can provide a smooth and timely intake process for each patient.
Provide better patient experiences with Intiveo!
We at Intiveo know a little something about automated appointment reminders, but don’t just take our word for it! Practices that have adopted our software reported 6 hours of time savings a day, 92-100% confirmation rates, a 90% reduction in no-shows, and more.
We understand that with so many options available on the market, it can be difficult to find the right software fit for your dental needs and we hope that this blog was helpful in guiding you through the process.
If you have some time, take our quick quiz to determine if your dental practice could benefit from appointment reminder software.