As the original automated calling brand, we’ve learned a lot about appointment reminders in nearly 30 years of doing business. We know what it takes to craft effective patient appointment reminders that motivate patients to confirm and to keep their appointments.

There are a couple of keys to constructing effective patient appointment reminders:

  • Be as concise and clear as possible, without leaving out critical details.
  • Request an action (e.g. confirmation — but the action requested will vary depending on whether the call is answered by person or by voicemail)

Whatever type of message template you’re building, do NOT include protected health information in the message. For example, never include the name of the patient’s appointment type in the message.

Best Practices for Patient Appointment Reminders by Phone

Length of phone reminders will vary based upon the amount of information that needs to be conveyed. The critical elements to include will usually fit within 30 seconds, but not always. Additional instructional information may necessitate a slightly longer message. But in most cases it is not recommended to exceed a 60-second message.

Include the following message components in phone reminders:

  • Recipient’s first name
  • Appointment date and time
  • Practice name and phone number
  • Provider name
  • Instruction (additional info based on type of appointment)
  • Confirmation option (we recommend “one”)
  • Transfer option (we recommend “zero”)

Best Practices for Patient Appointment Reminders by Text

SMS text messages must contain significantly less content due to the size restrictions imposed by mobile carriers.

Include the following message components in text reminders:

  • Recipient’s first name
  • Appointment date and time
  • Practice — insert the office name and phone number
  • Confirmation option (we recommend “one”)
  • Opt-out instructions (mandatory)

Best Practices for Patient Appointment Reminders by Email

Email appointment reminders can include practice branding elements such as your logo, a link to your website and more.

We recommend that your email reminder templates include:

  • Recipient’s first name
  • Appointment date and time
  • Practice name and phone number
  • Provider name
  • Confirmation button that re-directs patients to a landing page so they can export the appointment to iCal, Google or Outlook calendars
  • Image that links to a Google map for your location
  • Link to your patient portal (if applicable)
  • Link to your past-due account recovery website (if applicable)
  • Link to the practice website
  • Unsubscribe link
  • Legal disclaimer

At PhoneTree we thrive on helping practices communicate more effectively with their patients. Our best practice guidelines, combined with a custom integration to meet practice needs, help you do just that. Contact one of our sales executives today if you’re interested in learning how our solutions can help.

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