Decrease patient no-shows with automated appointment reminders

A sunset over the Rappahannock River
You can spend more time relaxing with automated appointment reminders.

Missed appointments cost the U.S. economy over $150 billion annually

A single missed appointment can cause a huge headache in healthcare scheduling. Even worse, it costs the organization money. While many providers charge a fee when a patient no-shows to make up lost revenue, that practice can backfire. Administrators looking to reduce no-show rates spend hours calling and emailing patients to ensure they attend their appointments. With healthcare labor shortages, these essential follow ups may not always be completed in time to make their desired impact. Paubox saw an opportunity to ensure patients are contacted daily via HIPAA compliant automated appointment reminders.

Automated appointment reminders can save time

A behavioral health customer approached us with the following problems in their existing automated phone call reminders:

  • staff spent more than 2 hours a day to confirm, cancel, or reschedule patient appointments
  • many reminder calls went to voicemail, and staff were not available to follow up
  • the call center was understaffed – when patients called in to reschedule, they faced longer than average wait times
  • staff needed to review call results and update the EHR so practitioners were aware of who they could expect to arrive
  • most patients had more than one appointment for the following day, but the automated call could only notify them of their earliest appointment
  • as a result, many patients arrived for their first appointment, but forgot about subsequent appointments, and could not stay to complete them

All of these problems led to missed appointments, lost revenue, and scheduling issues. If a single teammate was out sick, call center wait times further increased.┬áThe reconciliation of automated phone call results could not be completed, as staff had to cover the sick colleague’s tasks. Consequently, practitioners saw higher no show rates the following day.

Automated appointment reminders can decrease no show rate

After listening to the scope of their issues, we posed a question – what if we could automate calendar appointment reminders that patients could accept or deny with one click? To take it to the next level – what if that single click could update the patient appointment record in the EHR?

Screenshot of email from to Paubox user showing Google Calendar integration
A single click acceptance of an automated appointment reminder, sent securely with Paubox encrypted email.

Americans check their phones an average of 344 times a day. We knew that if we could get a notification to show up on a patient’s phone, whether it was an email or calendar reminder, it would be seen. Once the appointment is in the patient’s calendar, they’re much more likely to keep the appointment. Additionally, we can send multiple reminders when a patient has more than one appointment in a day. This ensures they’re aware of all of their commitments with their provider.

Our customers are able to customize the information included in the body of the reminder, in case the patient needs to arrive early to fill out paperwork. We can reduce the daily administrative reconciliation project by more than 50%, because accepting or denying our reminder automatically updates the organizations EHR. This in turn reduces the amount of calls placed to the call center, which decreases staffing concerns and patient wait times.

We’re confident our behavioral health customer will see more benefits as they roll this solution out to their full organization. Do you struggle with too many no-shows in your practice? Reach out to us today to learn about automated appointment reminders.

About the author

Aja Anderson

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