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Text Reminders for Patient Appointments Prove Successful at Vanderbilt Medical Group

April 7, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Using text reminders for patient appointments has proven more beneficial than pre-recorded phone calls for clinicians at the Nasvhille, Tenn.-based Vanderbilt Medical Group (VMG).

For years, Vanderbilt Medical Group has used robocalls to remind patients of upcoming appointments. The reminders are triggered four days out, and VMG is able to refill approximately 60 percent of all cancellations that occur at this four-day mark. Cancellations account for approximately 7 percent of all patient responses to these appointment reminders.

Last September, VMG schedulers began asking patients whether they would instead like a text reminder, and flyers about this option were posted in VMG clinics. The new text option is proving popular with patients, so far. Currently, around 25 percent of reminders are going out by text message.

According to a VMG news release, Paul Schmitz, administrative director of VMG capacity management, said that approximately 50 percent of VMG text reminders get a response, compared to the roughly 30 percent response rate for VMG robocalls. This higher response rate (and the associated backfilling of cancelled visits) currently translates as approximately 50 fewer no-shows per day for VMG.

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