Many practices already know that sending patient appointment reminders is key to reducing no-shows. It’s also important to realize that in order for reminders to reduce no-shows most effectively, they need to contain the right information and terminology. While the contents will vary somewhat depending on the appointment type, here are some useful guidelines on the best words / language to use to remind patients for an appointment.

Guidelines for Writing Patient Appointment Reminders

  1. Be clear and concise, without leaving out critical details.
  2. Request an action (e.g. confirmation response).
  3. Tailor the appointment reminder contents to match the mode of communication.

Content for Phone, Text and Email Appointment Reminders

There are some pieces of information that belong in every reminder, regardless of how it’s being delivered:

  • Recipient’s first name
  • Appointment date & time
  • Your practice name and phone number (be sure to include the area code with the phone number)
  • A confirmation option (the options will vary by delivery method)

Add this content for phone call reminders:

Provider name
“Dr. Smith”

Confirmation option
“We would appreciate you confirming your appointment by pressing the one key now.”

Transfer option
“Press 0 to transfer to a representative now.” Use the word that you normally use to describe the person who takes calls from patients – staff member, receptionist, etc.

Additional instructions that may be necessary for specific appointment types
e.g. “Please arrive 10 to 15 minutes early to complete the necessary paperwork.”

An option to repeat the message
“To hear this message again, please press the star key now.”

Add this content for text reminders:

Opt-out instructions (including an opt-out instruction is mandatory by law)
“To opt-out text STOP.”

Confirmation option
“Reply 1 to confirm.”

Instructions if patients need assistance
“Call 336.555.1234 with questions.”

Add this content for email reminders:

Provider name
“Dr. Smith”

Language that prompts patients to confirm their appointment
“Please click Confirm Appointment below to confirm your appointment.”

Confirmation button
Use “Confirm Appointment” as the text inside the button.

Instructions if the patient needs to reschedule
“If you need to reschedule your appointment, please call 336-555-1234 at least 24 hours in advance.”

Additional instructions that may be necessary for specific appointment types
e.g. “Please arrive 10 to 15 minutes early to complete the necessary paperwork.”

Image that links to a Google map for your practice location

Link to your practice website

Link to your patient portal (if applicable)

Link to your past-due account recovery website (if applicable)

Unsubscribe link (required by law)

Keep in Mind

These content guidelines outline key components and language to use to remind to remind patients for an appointment. However, format and structure are important as well. To see examples of fully constructed appointment reminder messages that follow these practices, you learn more in this post.

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