SMS appointment reminder learnings

Author: Toby Makmel
  • Best practice

Missed appointments is one of the most common and costly problems healthcare providers face on a daily basis. You are wasting valuable time and resources waiting for people who don’t show up.
“No shows” who miss their scheduled appointment are more than just a minor inconvenience or annoyance. Their actions can result in lost revenue, changes in employees’ schedules and increased expenses.

Appointment reminders of any kind can significantly reduce the “no-show” rate at clinics of all sizes, allowing them to operate more efficiently and profitably. However, the manner in which these reminders are sent can have a significant impact on overall operations. Despite the value of reminders, many organizations either do not have a reminder process in place. And for others that do, the manner in which they create and distribute reminders is costly, tedious and time-consuming.

An automated reminder system is the perfect solution.

Text messaging is a simple solution that can reduce the rate of your patient no-shows by over 30%. By sending patients a short text message reminder before every appointment, your clinic can save money and improve attendance rates.

  • An analysis featured in “Health Services Research” found that text message reminders increased appointment attendance by nearly 50 percent.
  • Statistics from the “Pew Foundation” show that 83 percent of text messages are opened and read within the first hour of receipt.
  • A study conducted by Morgan Stanley shows that 91 percent of Americans have their mobile phone within arm’s reach 24 hours a day.


Automated e-mail and text message reminders save a tremendous amount of staff time and resources that otherwise would have been spent manually contacting patients over the phone or through individually-composed e-mail messages. Clinics that previously were unable to send appointment reminders can now do so instantly, without having to reshuffle their staff responsibilities and assignments or hire a new employee. The result is a more efficient operation with fewer “no shows” and significantly-lower operating expenses.