By Stericycle Staff | Sep. 14, 2016

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Making appointment reminders is a proven way to get patients to show up for their appointments, but is manually calling the best method for your patients?

Some practices are switching back to manually calling, instead of using automated reminders, to provide patients with a personal human connection. However, you also need to consider the 3 ways that manually calling is actually creating a lesser patient experience.


Your practice is likely making calls to patients during office hours, which means your patients are also at work and unavailable to answer calls. Patients may prefer receiving reminders through other methods like email or text, which can be read at their convenience without being interrupted during the daytime. For example, a pediatric clinic’s patient population may prefer to receive reminders through email. Since answering calls during the daytime is inconvenient for many patients, the reminder doesn’t end up being helpful for patients, especially since only one channel of communication is used.

Lack of information

When your staff is manually calling, they may not have the luxury of spending an excess amount of time providing every tidbit of information your patients need to know – they have a long list of patients to speak to. Your patients also may not be able to spend too much time speaking with you. However, that doesn’t mean that your patients can go without knowing all the information. Details like procedure-specific instructions, important documents to bring, and office location all need to be communicated, but explaining all the information over the phone is time-consuming, whereas it can be included through text and email easily.

Patient satisfaction

Patient satisfaction suffers when you make manual calls: since patients might not be available to answer the phone, they could miss or ignore the voice mail message left. Patients won’t be as likely to attend an appointment if they aren’t reminded to remember, leading to an increase in no-show rates. The higher no-show rates will also lead to an increase in office wait times, further hurting the patient experience.

You want the best for your patients, and to ensure that they attend their appointments. But making reminder calls manually ends up harming them instead of helping. With automated appointment reminders, you can send out reminders through voice, email, and text, ensuring that your patients receive communications in a medium that is more convenient, useful, and effective for your patients.

Before using automated reminders, Infinity Primary Care spent more than 130 hours each month calling patients, with a no-show rate that costed $450,000 each year. With PatientPrompt’s automated reminder platform, Infinity Primary Care increased their revenue by 50%, and experienced happier and more prepared patients. 

Stericycle Staff

Author: Stericycle Staff

Stericycle has been delivering communication services to North American companies for over 25 years. Since 2011, we’ve been blogging about how to deliver best-in-class communications to patients and consumers – providing practical advice and current best practices for both healthcare and commercial organizations. We hope you enjoy and keep reading!
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