The best method to use as a medical practitioner is one that highly arguable. Which is the “right way” when reaching out to your patients? Especially when you want to remind them of their scheduled appointments. In our current scenario, medical administrative staffs have a number of options to choose from. Once you have collected your patients’ contact details, you can choose to make use of the appointment reminder app, messages, emails, or even the traditional phone call. The preference lies with the user.
We seek to bring the advantages and the preferences of each contact mode and hopefully assist you in making that choice.
Available modes of reminders
Phone reminder apps
This has to be the best method available when it comes to communication. There is a very small percentage of people who don’t own a smartphone. The owning of one comes with the ability to install reminder applications that can constantly remind the patient of the scheduled appointment.
Yes. Emails are the official mode of communication across many fields and sectors of the economy. But this does not mean that your email reminder will be opened and responded to immediately. There is a class of people who are more inclined to respond faster to emails (working class/ employed) while there are others (college students and the like) who check their emails once a month.
While they are considered a fast method of communication, messages have their drawbacks. Most of the disadvantages are based on text length. Ensure your text length is short and direct and has clickable links to which the patient can confirm or reschedule the appointment easily.
To get the best response from your patient, you must also consider the time of calling. Calling is typically the last approach considered, and you must consider the optimal time. A phone call in the morning is considered a waste of time since your patient is most likely tending to his or her issues.
The best time is in the afternoon and early evenings, after 3:00 p.m. but not after 6: 00 p.m. You are assured that your patient is more relaxed at these hours and you can have clear and effective communication with them.
So, which particular mode of communication should you use and when? Your patient may have provided you with all four modes of contact. But that doesn’t mean that you send reminders all at the same time. Some moderation needs to be implemented.
It’s recommended that you start with the use of the reminder app. You could send out a notification some weeks before the appointment. Next is an email. This is probably a week before the appointment. As the D-day approaches, the administrative staff sends out a message. A phone call to the patient is initiated day-to-day.
And of course, once the patient confirms their attendance to the appointment through one mode of contact, all further reminders need to cease. The onus of communicating any changes lies with the patient since they will have already confirmed