Have you ever ordered something online and worried when you didn’t receive a confirmation message? The payment went through but there was no message from the store confirming they received your purchase.
Thousands of questions began flooding your mind. Will you get the order? Will they charge your card twice because they haven’t seen your purchase?
If these thoughts are running through your mind, imagine what your patients think when they don’t receive a confirmation message from you.
There’s a big difference between an appointment confirmation message and an appointment reminder. An appointment confirmation message is sent immediately after a patient schedules an appointment to ensure the details are correct and to provide any other relevant information. But appointment reminders are sent consistently until the date of the appointment so that patients are less likely to miss their appointments.
So, what should you include in an appointment confirmation message? Before we answer this question, let’s look closely at the steps in the appointment confirmation process.
What is the Appointment Confirmation Process?
When you don’t have an appointment confirmation process, the chances of more patient no-shows at appointments increases. It’s been estimated that patient no-shows cost the healthcare industry $150 billion annually. Here’s a seven-step process that you can use so that your business doesn’t unnecessarily lose money.
- Ensure patient records are up-to-date. Patients could be missing confirmation messages because they’re being sent to the wrong places.
- Work with your team to ensure they understand the appointment setting process. The appointment confirmation message is sent at the end of the process but it won’t work well if your appointment setting process is flawed.
- Send both text and email confirmations. Using both forms of communication increases the chances of reaching your patient.
- Personalize the message. You can use a template but fill that template with information that’s unique to the patient.
- Educate patients about the value of the visit. You know this well as a healthcare practice owner — no-shows often need more expensive emergency care later on. The appointment confirmation message provides a great way to motivate your patients to be proactive.
- Send a follow-up message explaining next steps once the patient has confirmed. This would be a good time to tell patients to expect a series of appointment reminders. You would also use this follow-up message to explain your process and allow the patient to ask questions. Your aim is to ease the patient’s concerns so that the appointment flows smoothly.
- Send appointment reminder messages.
- One message per week if the appointment is far in advance.
- One message at least five days before the appointment.
- One message three days before the appointment.
- A final message 24 hours before the appointment.
How to Create an Effective Email Appointment Confirmation Message
Emails tend to be the go-to mode of communication for healthcare practice owners who’re trying to reach out to patients. But there’s a right and a wrong way to send email confirmation messages. This section explains how you can create them the right way. But first, let’s dive into why an email appointment confirmation message is important.
Why is an Email Appointment Confirmation Message Important?
- Your patients won’t feel anxious about not knowing whether their appointment was confirmed.
- You can get patients into your email marketing funnel where you further nurture your relationship with them even after the appointment.
- There’s more space in an email to share information and provide options to reschedule or cancel the appointment.
- There are more opportunities for you to use your branding and create attractive content.
How Should an Email Appointment Confirmation Message be Structured?
An email appointment confirmation message has four parts.
The Sender’s Name
- This is the first thing the patient will see.
- You could use your business email address but that may be unfamiliar to the patient and result in the email being overlooked.
- Say something like, “Dr. Han from The Mayo Clinic” instead.
The Subject Line
- The email subject is directly underneath the patient’s name so it’s the second thing the patient will notice.
- Get to the point by saying something like, “Confirming your appointment on [date and time]”.
The Preview Text
- The preview text is the first two sentences that appear underneath the subject line. It’s often used as a way to further encourage the patient to open the email.
- Most email marketing tools will allow you to write your own preview text, others just use the first two sentences within the body of the email.
- Write something warm and inviting. The patient may already be nervous about the appointment so this is your opportunity to help ease those fears.
- Example: “We’re looking forward to seeing you! Here’s what you can do to prepare.”
- This is the meat of the matter.
- This is where you’ll provide details about the service the client paid for, the amount paid, and when and where the appointment will take place. If it’s a virtual appointment, provide the meeting link.
- Use the email to provide tips the patient can use to prepare for the appointment.
- Include links to any documents or contracts the patient needs to sign.
- Express that appointment reminders will be sent. You don’t have to say when, but make the patient aware that they’ll be sent.
- Include a CTA to confirm the accuracy of the details, as well as the option to cancel or reschedule and relevant contact information for your healthcare practice.
Mistakes to Avoid When Creating and Sending Appointment Confirmation Emails
- Asking for sensitive information. Patients should be discouraged from sharing sensitive information via email.
- Sending emails to multiple recipients. You run the risk of patients seeing other patients’ email addresses. Also, you won’t be sending a personalized message.
- Forgetting to double-check the recipient’s email address before sending. You don’t want to send the email to the wrong person!
- Using complex medical terms. Craft the email in a way the patient will understand.
- Offering medical advice without first seeing the patient. Sure, you may offer tips to help the patient prepare for the appointment based on the issues the patient has shared. But that doesn’t mean you should offer concrete medical advice.
Appointment Confirmation Message Sample for Emails
Sender: Dr. X from [Name of Healthcare Practice]
Subject: Confirming your appointment on [Date and Time]
Preview Text: We’re looking forward to seeing you! Here’s what you can do to prepare.
Hi [First Name],
You recently scheduled an appointment for [Date and Time]. The appointment has been confirmed and will be held at [Location]. Please reply to this email if you’d like to cancel or reschedule the appointment.
We know that you’re experiencing discomfort and we want to help you through this difficult situation. You expressed that you’re struggling with [insert details of the condition here]. Dr. X is ready to provide the treatment you need.
Some appointment reminders will be sent over the next few weeks via email and text. So, you can look out for those. In the meantime, here are some tips to help you prepare for the appointment:
[Insert relevant tips.]
[Include links to a secure HIPAA compliant portal where the patient can share and sign any related documents.]
See you soon,
The Team at [Name of Healthcare Practice]
How to Create an Effective Appointment Confirmation Text Message
Text messages are often more effective ways to communicate with patients than emails. A recent study shows that text messages receive a 90% engagement rate and help patients feel more connected to healthcare teams. Also, a study by Luma Health revealed that patients are more likely to respond to text messages with these messages having a 52% response rate when compared to 28% and 26% for email and phone reminders, respectively.
That’s why we’ve included text messages as part of this appointment confirmation message guide. You shouldn’t depend solely on email confirmation messages, especially if you want to keep your appointments filled and reduce the risk of no-shows.
So, let’s dive into how you can create an effective appointment confirmation text message.
What Should an Appointment Confirmation Text Message Include?
- Date, time, and location of the appointment
- A CTA to confirm the accuracy of the details
- The option to cancel or reschedule
- Relevant contact information for your healthcare practice
Mistakes to Avoid When Sending Appointment Confirmation Text Messages
- Not using the right SMS tool. There are a variety of tools available including Podium, Text Sanity, and OpenPhone.
- Forgetting to include the customer’s name. Sure, you’re sending an automated text message but excluding the customer’s name will make it impersonal.
Appointment Confirmation Message Sample for Text Messages
Hi [First Name]. This is [Name of Healthcare Practice] confirming your appointment on [Date and Time] at [Location]. Please reply with a “yes” to confirm. Click here [include relevant link] to cancel or reschedule.
Use Scheduling Software to Create the Best Appointment Confirmation Messages
Whether you’re sending messages via email or phone, it can become quite tedious to keep tabs on these messages for each patient. Did the patient receive the message? Where is the patient’s response? Things will start getting lost and confusing pretty quickly.
Scheduling software makes it easier to automate the process. The Smiledog team helps healthcare practice owners using tools like Jane App for efficient patient communication, including sending appointment confirmation messages. All you have to do is upload the messages you want to use in the app and our team will ensure they’re sent to your patients at the right time.
Appointment Confirmation Messages Should Be a Natural Part of Your Appointment Setting Process
Appointment no-shows impact your bottom line. They also create greater problems for their own long-term health and well-being. Making appointment confirmation messages a natural part of your appointment setting process can help you reduce the risk of no-shows and keep your patients happy.
Smiledog has a team of virtual receptionists who are experienced with appointment setting and ensure your messages are delivered exactly when needed and with an added human touch. Grow your healthcare practice with our appointment setting service.