Many practices confirm patient appointments via text, email or phone at least one day in advance of the scheduled treatment. Talk with your staff about what method and timeframe works best for your patient base.
Appointment reminders can be handled via telephone, email or smartphone texts. Ask patients to consent to the method of contact they prefer and make a note to handle all future appointment reminders that way.
- Review HIPAA and make sure your practice complies with patient privacy regulations.
- Use email only at the specific request of the patient.
- Most dentists find that the standard practice of confirming appointments via telephone is still the most effective and efficient approach. Phone calls come with a friendly and familiar voice. That personal connection, which is missing from texts and email messages, makes it more likely the patient will keep the appointment.
- Ask patients who tend to miss appointments to call the practice back to confirm they received the message and that they plan to show up.
Practices should be familiar with the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act. This law, while initially intended to prevent unwanted calls from telemarketers and autodialing services, does have ramifications for any business reaching out to patients, clients or other contacts via phone or text.
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Enforcement Bureau has issued an advisory that provides guidance regarding the use of autodialed text messages, sometimes known as robotexts.
- Make sure you conduct a comprehensive background check of any service you might hire to make automated phone appointment confirmations for your practice. It’s also a good idea to find out whether any of your colleagues use that service and what their experiences have been. As you know, word-of-mouth remains one of the best ways to find reliable, reputable service providers.