Are you still making manual phone calls to remind patients of their upcoming appointments? If this is the case, you are losing a significant amount of time and money by not upgrading your system to an automated platform.
Nowadays, nearly 90% of healthcare companies use automated appointment reminders. One of the deciding factors that you must take into consideration is the initial cost of implementation against the possible return on investment. This can be measured by way of considering the decrease in the amount of missed appointments and miscommunication.
When doing so, it is essential to consider why patients miss their appointments and how appointment reminders can save you time and money.
Why Do Patients Miss Appointments?
“I forgot”, that’s the usual response of patients when asked why they missed their appointment. The simple truth is that patients are busy people too. In most cases, they forgot to take note in their Google Calendar that they booked an appointment with you. Or, their schedules change abruptly, leaving them little time to text or call to reschedule. In these instances, it is easy to see how a powerful reminder solution can help ease the problem.
Direct Costs of No-Shows
The Medical Group Management Association or MGMA estimates that the no show rate averages from 5%-7%. Your office averages 2 or 4 missed appointments per day, the typical cost per visit is $25, and the average price of insurance reimbursement is $100. All those missed appointments translate as a loss of income for physicians.
On top of that, consider that you also hired staff to remind your clients of their upcoming appointment. When a no-show event happens, you are spending money on unnecessary staffing which is why it is worth it to consider using an automated appointment reminder system.
According to the survey conducted by MGMA, the following are the benefits resulting from the use of automated appointment reminder:
- Fewer no shows
- Improved schedule capacity utilization
- Increased revenue
- Free up resources (i.e., Staff time)
- Better patient compliance
Most healthcare organizations transitioned their appointment reminder to SMS or text messaging, which was shown to be more efficient than Google Calendar or voice messaging. However, before you pay for any investment in technology, it is crucial to consider the features and pricing of automated appointment platforms, before selecting the solution that you wanted to use for your practice.
Also, you have to calculate the value that it will bring to your practice in terms of new revenue and saving costs. To calculate the return on investment for every dollar that you spend on automated text reminders, check out this formula:
ROI = ((Cost Savings + New Revenue – Cost of Investment)/(Cost of Investment)) x 100
Calculating Cost Savings For Appointment Reminder Texts
To compute the ROI for automated SMS reminders, start by assessing how much money you would save. Ask yourself with the following questions:
How much time does your staff use per day to manually remind patients of their upcoming appointments?
First, you have to take into account how much time your staff spends scheduling through Google Calendar or calling patients just to remind them of their upcoming appointments. Based on the common experience of health service providers, each staff spends 30 minutes manually reminding patients of their upcoming appointment.
Let’s assume that your office is open 5 days a week for 52 weeks in one year. Then we can calculate how many staff hours are used just to make phone calls to your patients. Take a look at this formula:
Hours spent calling per provider x Days working per week x Weeks per year = Total hours per year
.5 x 5 x 52 = 130
Based on this computation, your staff will spend 130 hours every year just reminding your patients about their appointment. Let say you have more than one staff that does phone calls.
Total hours per provider per year x # of providers = Total hours calling patients to remind them of appointments every year
130 x 2 = 260
How much are these manual calls costing you?
On an average, a front office staff is paid between $11 – $19 an hour. So let’s use that to compute how much it is costing you using the formulas that we have above.
Total hours per year x Hourly rate = Total cost of calling patients to remind them of appointments each year
260 x $15 = $3,900
Every year, your practice could spend up to $3,900 just manually reminding your patients of their upcoming appointments. With these assumptions, you can save $3,900 on staff time alone if you will switch to an automated SMS appointment reminder. Over the course of 2 years you could save $7,800! Plus, if you have extended hours on the weekend and holidays, you can expect even higher impact.
How many additional appointments per year can you expect?
As a result of the automated text reminder, you can calculate the number of additional appointments that you’ll have as a result. Let’s say you generate a conservative number of 100,000 appointments each year and you have 5% no show rate.
Total appointments each year x Anticipated rate of no-show improvement = Additional appointments per year
100,000 x 5% = 5,000
The 5% no show rate can generate 5,000 additional appointments annually if you have an efficient appointment reminder.
How much new revenue can you expect to generate each year?
Using the average cost per appointment of $25, that’s a total of over $125,000 new revenue per year!
Additional appointments each year x Revenue per additional appointments kept = Additional revenue each year
5,000 x $25 = $125,000
And this amount is just in the first year. Over the course of two to three years you could generate more new revenue by just making your appointment reminders more efficient.
After considering all of these numbers, a delay in implementing automated SMS appointment reminder is a costly decision. This system is one of the most helpful tools that you can use to add more revenue without spending a small fortune. Not only will an appointment reminder solution pay for itself, it will also significantly increase your net operational benefits over time. GReminders can solve your appointment reminder needs and drastically reduce your no-shows.