Industry content

Why Your Practice Needs Patient Appointment Reminders

Date Posted: 06.26.23

Managing patient appointments and avoiding no-shows or last-minute cancellations can be a time-consuming and costly burden for any dental practice. Missed appointments mean lost revenue and can cause further scheduling disruptions down the road, which creates more work for your staff. Automated patient appointment reminders are an easy and cost-effective way to reduce the extra costs and workload caused by missed appointments. Implementing these services is easy using the right provider, and the benefits begin immediately.
Not only is it great for your practice, but it’s also helpful for your patients. Sending appointment reminders doesn’t just help them with their own scheduling — it also builds trust in your practice and cultivates patient loyalty. In this article, we’ll look at how you can implement automated appointment reminders and the benefits of doing so. We’ll also touch on some key features to look out for when considering appointment reminder software for your practice.

patient reminders

What Are Patient Appointment Reminders?

A patient appointment reminder is any communication between a dental practice and the patient that reminds them of an upcoming appointment. In the past, these may have been performed via manual patient reminder call services or direct mail. However, these methods can be costly and are often not as effective as new methods, like automated text messages or emails.

Text messaging has become the prevalent means to provide patient reminders for two main reasons.

  1. The first is that text reminders for patient/doctors appointments are easy for practices to manage when they use a trusted practice management software solution. Office managers or staff can easily configure these text messages to meet the needs of the practice, depending on how many appointments there are.

These text messages can be more customized and unique if the number of patients is small. They can also be more generalized if sending out a group of texts on the same day as the appointment.

  1. The second reason text messages are popular is that patients also prefer them over other methods. In fact, 75% of Millennials prefer texts for appointment reminders.

As we all know, the days of phone calls are over. Many people feel that phone calls are intrusive or annoying, and many simply don’t pick up. Not to mention, most people are already dealing with full schedules and other obligations during the day, decreasing the chances that they’ll actually pick up the phone.

Additionally, with the rise in spam phone calls plaguing so many cell numbers, phone calls often go unanswered unless the recipient is expecting a call. Because manual phone reminders come out of the blue, they usually go unanswered, and your patient may not check their voicemail in time.

These factors make text messaging and emails the go-to method for patient reminders in modern dental practices. It keeps the patients happy and informed, and office managers and dental staff see reduced costs and less overhead.

The Benefits of Patient Appointment Reminders

Setting up effective patient appointment reminders is one of the fastest and easiest ways to improve the efficiency of dental practice scheduling. The benefits begin the same day as the reminders start being sent to patients.

Some of the benefits you can expect from setting up automatic appointment reminders include:

Increase Patient Satisfaction & Retention

A missed appointment is not only bad for your dental practice, but it’s also bad for your patient. Often, a patient misses an appointment simply because they forgot they scheduled it. This isn’t just a pain for your practice; it’s also a pain for patients because it may take them weeks or even months to get another appointment. Text reminders are the perfect solution, providing a quick and easy way for patients to confirm their appointment.

Increase Office Efficiency

Managing a dental office requires a lot of juggling and moving parts, so any service that streamlines workflows greatly benefits everyone. Automated text messages or emails reduce the tedious administrative tasks taking up your staff’s time, freeing them up to work on more critical issues.

Manual phone calls or dealing with mailing lists is too time-consuming and, ultimately, not cost-effective. Paying staff members dedicated to these tasks is not the best use of your budget, nor is it the best use of their time and skills. Delegating these manual tasks to automated appointment reminders helps to streamline offices and makes everyone happier and more productive.

Automatic Confirmations

Text messages can be two-way, allowing for confirmations or cancellations to be sent by the patients. The appointment scheduler/reminder system tracks these, and office staff will be notified when scheduling changes need to be made based on patient responses.

Patients can also opt out of any future appointment reminder text messages if they choose to do so. While it’s rare for patients to choose this option, it’s an important feature that allows your practice to accommodate patient preferences.

Remind Patients About Specific Paperwork

patient reminders

A common issue that comes up when managing patient appointments is when paperwork needs additional steps. This includes things like filling out dental history forms, insurance information, or billing details.

Automatic appointment reminders solve this problem by not only reminding patients of their appointments, but first-time or new patients can be informed about exactly what documentation or information they need to bring. Additionally, patients can respond to the text if they have any questions about the required documents, their upcoming treatment, and more.

Full Customization Options

Another aspect of automated appointment reminders via text or email is that they can be customized based on the needs of your office, as well as those of the patient. Messages can contain the time and date of the appointment, the doctor’s name, the full address of the practice, and more. Same-day texts can just include a more simple reminder to keep things short and succinct.

A fully cloud-based solution like Cloud 9 even allows for two-way communication where patients can respond to a text message and confirm appointment reminders. Additionally, patients have the ability to make or schedule payments in the patient portal. Whatever your needs are, customized patient appointment reminders and the patient portal can help you keep your office staff and patients happy (and on time).

Why Choose Cloud 9

There are several options when deciding on apps for appointment reminders. Many solutions in the market use various software programs that need to be installed and configured to all work together. This means that an on-premise solution needs to be maintained, and someone on your staff needs to do double-duty as an IT manager to keep it all up to date and running properly.

Cloud 9’s dental practice management software takes a different approach. We use a cloud-based model that is fully integrated. You read that right — no time-consuming configuration or setup is required on-premise or in your office.

Your office staff can simply log into the app, and they have easy access to the schedule. Everything is stored in the cloud, so updates and security are never a concern for your office. It’s all handled by Cloud 9 Software.

Everything is controlled from a centralized dashboard, including automatic patient reminders. This also means that Cloud 9 can support remote work if necessary if staff needs to be out of the office for any reason. You or your employees can simply log in from wherever you are and you’ll have the same functionality as being in the office.

Cloud 9 Connect and Automatic Patient Reminders

Our appointment reminder software takes information from patient data, such as phone numbers and designated responsible parties, and automatically utilizes that information for two-way communication. Our software also assists scheduling with automatic reminders, so there is no need to reinvent the wheel with separate reminders based on appointment type.

patient reminders

All of this is handled by our Cloud 9 Connect add-on, which is fully integrated into our orthodontic and pediatric practice management software.

Cloud 9 Connect also allows for easy two-way text communication between the patient and the office, right from the dashboard. This is extremely helpful for appointment reminders, cancellations, or answering questions from patients.

Of course, we understand there are still some people who may not want text reminders, even though the majority of patients do. For these select patients, they can always opt out directly from the reminders.

The Cloud 9 Connect appointment reminder app makes it easy to quickly manage patient communications, allowing your staff to focus on other more critical tasks.

Additional Cloud 9 Integrations

Cloud 9 does so much more than just patient reminders and is a full office management solution for dental practices of any size, including those with multiple offices. There are full integrations with patient data, photos, and more. There is also integration with popular payment gateways and ACH services so patients can self-manage billing and payments right from their own customized web portal.

Streamline Your Practice with Cloud 9 Software

There’s no doubt that using automatic appointment reminders via text or email is the new standard in orthodontic and dental practices around the country. The cost savings and increased efficiency speak for themselves.

If your office is looking for an affordable patient reminder solution, contact our representatives at Cloud 9 for access to a free demo of our software. Our fully integrated specialty dental practice management software has all the features needed to streamline your office workflows and manage patient files and appointments with ease. Contact Cloud 9 today to learn how we can elevate your practice.