Introduction to Text Message Appointment Reminders
If you run a medical or dental office, you know how much missed appointments can hurt your revenue.
No-shows are a chronic condition for any health office. They waste valuable staff time and cause your office to run at suboptimal capacity.
Doctors and medical offices have known about this issue for years. That’s why some form of an appointment reminder system is standard practice at most facilities.
First it was postcard reminders sent through the mail.
Too slow and trashed as junk mail.
Then it was phone calls.
Intrusive, often untimely, and unfamiliar numbers are rarely answered.
And now some offices are trying email alerts.
Filtered into spam folder or just ignored.
There’s a better way.
Using Text Messages for Patient Appointment Reminders
Why waste valuable time manually contacting patients when you’re just going to be ignored? Don’t use more time and money on ineffective reminders. Save your staff time, increase your revenue, and provide the highest quality care.
How? Simple: text messaging services. Text message reminders, powered by SimpleTexting, are the perfect prescription for a case of chronic no-shows.
Text messages are read instantly.
90% of texts are read within 3 minutes of receipt!
Texts are friendly and unobtrusive.
Patients will love this convenient service.
Texts are never ignored.
Less than 1% of all text messages go unread.
Text reminders can be used for more than just combating no-shows:
- Notify patients when they’re due to schedule another 6-month checkup
- Monitor patients with serious conditions
- Alert patients of test results immediately
Bring your office into the 21st century by using SMS for healthcare to keep your patients happy, your staff useful, and your profits in perfect health.
Marketing Messages vs. Transactional Texts
You’ve seen how text messaging can help. But before you start sending appointment reminders or advertising new services, you need to collect your clients’ numbers and, in some cases, their consent.
First, we’ll cover a crucial distinction between two types of texts and how it applies to medical and dental offices.
Transactional messages are any texts “facilitating, completing, or confirming a previously agreed upon transaction.”
Marketing messages, on the other hand, are any other texts that aren’t directly involving an existing transaction.
Why is it important to know the difference? By law, you’re required to get a patient’s express consent to receive any marketing texts, whereas transactional texts do not require consent.
What does this mean for my office?
|Transactional Texts||Marketing Texts|
| || |
As shown in the table above, appointment or checkup reminders are transactional texts, and as such, do not require a patient’s consent. That means if you have their cell number on file, you can send them a friendly reminder text with no hassle.
If you’d like to send them any other types of texts, they’ll have to opt in, or subscribe, to your messages. This can be as simple as texting your designated keyword (e.g., “DRSMITH”) to 555888.
Getting Patients Subscribed
Ask while scheduling
If you don’t have a patient’s number, or even if you do, it’s easy and polite to ask if they’d like a text reminder when scheduling an appointment. Ask when they’d like to receive their reminder and what number works best.
This is also a great time to ask if they’d like to receive other texts, such as weekly health tips, reminders to schedule new appointments, or alerts about new services available.
Waiting room displays
You’ve got a captive audience, now use it! Place a sign, placard, or notice somewhere prominent in your waiting area. The display should contain simple instructions to sign up for your new text services.
Here’s an example of an effective display:
We now offer convenient text message reminders!
Sign up for appointment reminders, monthly health tips, and more!
Just text “DRCOLE” to 555888!
Try Texting for Free
If you’re ready to give text marketing a try, we encourage you to sign up for a free trial account with us.
You’ll get 50 messages plus your own custom keyword.
And yes, it’s really free. No credit card, no contract, just free.
When you’re ready to upgrade to a paid account, just change your billing plan from the dashboard. Simple!