Problems with Appointment Reminders
We can guarantee that less than 100% of appointment reminders will be delivered. There are many factors that interfere with delivery that are simply outside of our control. Phone (voice) reminders have the best delivery rates, followed by emails, and then text messages. Text message reminders, for example, can be classified as "Spam" by cell phone carriers, and blocked: the cell carrier conveys no indication back to us that this has happened. Emails can also be blocked as Spam; phone reminders can encounter a busy signal on each attempt.
To maximize the CHANCES of reminder delivery, check to ensure that the patient information is entered correctly:
- Make sure you have the "Reminder Settings" correctly set in the patient's information section. Examples include the type of reminder selected, and the appropriate information for that kind of reminder. For example: a valid email address for email reminders, a valid cell phone # for text reminders and verify that information with the client.
- The list of appointment reminders is composed very early in the morning the day before the appointment (unless you have requested that they go out a day earlier). If you enter an appointment into the schedule after the list is composed, no reminder will be sent because the appointment didn't exist at the time the list was composed. This typically happens around midnight going into the day the reminder would be sent out. For example: if you have 1 day reminders and have an appointment for August 15th, for a reminder to go out on the 14th the appointment would need to be on your schedule by August 13 at midnight going into August 14th.
- Remember that the appointment reminder status is only a listing of the ATTEMPTS to send a reminder. If the phone isn't answered, or is busy repeatedly, no reminder can be delivered. If the email goes to the Spam folder, or the text message is deleted unread, the system cannot track these problems. Likewise, if a patient feigns not receiving a reminder in hopes of avoiding a no-show fee, we certainly cannot track this. It is best to have a written policy that states that reminders are sent as a COURTESY, but that patients will be held responsible for missed appointments whether or not a reminder is sent. This helps to end disputes about whether or not a reminder was sent or received.