Can mobile messaging be used to reduce missed appointments in the healthcare sector?

Topic: Healthcare

In the face of the challenges presented by the coronavirus crisis, healthcare providers have to find new ways to make sure they are providing services as effectively as possible by reducing appointment no-shows. Here’s how mobile focused appointment reminders can help do exactly that.

Now more than ever, healthcare providers need to guard their valuable time and resources against the threat of missed appointments. According to the NHS close to £1 billion is spent every year on patients who don’t show up. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, this can’t go on – and it doesn’t have to.

Targeting patients’ mobile devices as a means of reminding them about their appointments is a proven way to get more patients to turn up, and also lower communication costs. So why aren’t more healthcare providers using it?

Are patients ready to engage with healthcare providers via their mobiles?

  • 55% of patients prefer to be reminded of their medical appointments through SMS, compared with 35% for email
  • 95% of messages sent by healthcare providers are opened by patients
  • 90% of healthcare patients will read a text sent to them within 3 minutes of it being sent (Techjury)
  • 90% of millennials book medical appointments through their mobile devices
  • GPs report that up to 20% of patient interactions are now being accessed via the patient’s mobile phone, with this number expected to rise.

Introducing richer appointment management

Plain SMS has been doing a solid job for many healthcare providers in sending their appointment reminders, but rich messaging takes things to the next level. Providers can send images and video, as well as include interactive elements such as chatbots and buttons. Various channels can be used such as WhatsApp, RCS, SMS Landing Pages and Mobile Journeys.

It’s all designed to create a more automated experience, which allows the patient to self serve, and make/amend appointments without the need to make a telephone call.

Do appointment reminders sent to mobile actually work?

  • Text messages reminders increased appointment attendance for some GPs by nearly 50% (Health Services Research)
  • Less than 5% of appointments are cancelled after patients receive a reminder sent to their mobile devices

How can mobile-focused appointment management perform for our customers?

After implementing a mobile-focused appointment reminder strategy, one NHS trust reported a 25% decrease in missed appointments.

If the same could be done for every other NHS trust then this would mean a 400,000 reduction in missed hospital appointments every year, and a saving to the NHS of £64,000,000*. (Source)

Put into context, this figure would be enough to pay for the salaries of 2,560 nurses**

*Based on an individual appointment cost of £160 at an average salary of £25,000

Start reducing your missed appointments today

Esendex have worked with a wide range of healthcare providers today to reduce the amount of patients failing to show for appointments. If you’d like to find out how rich, mobile-focused appointment reminders can help you, please contact our industry experts today on 0345 356 5758 or email us at [email protected].

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