In the eReminder system we do a sequence of communication to remind patients of appointments.
First, we send an e-mail to all appointments with an e-mail address 14 days in advance of the appointment as a "save the date" e-mail. We do not ask for confirmation in this email. This e-mail has an attachment that the patient can click on to place the appointment on their calendar. This works with any calendar like Outlook, Google or iPhone.
Second, we send an e-mail three business days before the appointment with the practice name, phone number, appointment date and time. We asked them to reply to this e-mail to confirm the appointment. If we receive a reply, we do not send subsequent reminders until the day of the appointment.
Third, if they do not reply to the e-mail, two mornings before the appointment we send a text message to all appointments with cell phone numbers with the same information and we asked them to reply to confirm. Again, if they reply we do not send subsequent reminders until the day of the appointment.
Fourth, if we still have no confirmation, two evenings before the appointment we do an automated voice call to their cell phone number, if provided, or their home phone number if not. We ask them to press one to confirm or three to reschedule. Fortunately, we get very few reschedules.
As we receive confirmations, we update your appointment book every 30 min. with color-coded confirmation indicators.
If the voice calls are answered by an answering machine, we leave a message about the appointment and ask the patient to call the office to confirm the appointment. Then, we place a yellow dot on the appointment. If we received no answer, we place a red dot on the appointment. If it is a bad phone number, we place a purple dot on the appointment. If the patient presses three to reschedule, we place a blue dot on the appointment.
Finally, on the day of the appointment we send every appointment with a cell phone number a text message 60 to 90 min. before the appointment as a last-minute reminder. This is the reminder that does a great deal to prevent no-shows. Patients really appreciate this reminder. Many patients have told the office that they would've missed the appointment without this last-minute reminder.
The reminders can be set individually so the patient receives only the type of reminder they prefer. In the bottom left corner of the PtInfo window, you can select or deselect the reminders that patient receives:
Recently we added a new feature called “family messages”. If two or more members of the same family are appointed on the same day, they will only receive one email or one text reminder or one phone call. It will list all the names and times for the appointments and when they reply to confirm, all appointments will be marked confirmed. As an adjunct, if one patient has two appointments on the same day, they will receive one reminder showing both appointment times. A reply will mark both appointments confirmed.