Whether you run a small therapist practice, a doctor’s office, or a whole hospital system, your patients need explicit confirmation that their appointments have been secured. Sending a confirmation email can work wonders for your healthcare practice — it makes patients feel valued, showcases professionalism, and can dramatically reduce appointment no-shows.
Today, we’ll explain how to craft the best confirmation email to minimize missed appointments and boost your bottom line.
Importance of Sending an Appointment Confirmation Email
We’ve all been there. You’ve made a booking; your credit card has been charged; yet you haven’t received a confirmation email. We’ll lose trust in the brand and worry that the booking hasn’t been accepted or processed.
You probably consider submitting another booking, but that could mean paying twice. Eventually, you’ll get in touch with customer support to confirm if your booking or appointment has been made.
The last thing you want is to put your patients through such an ordeal. There’s nothing worse than a patient showing up for an appointment that isn’t on the books. That’s where sending an appointment confirmation email comes to the rescue.
And here’s why it is super important:
It provides peace of mind
Patients will sleep easily, knowing their appointments have been set and locked. Without one, they’ll panic that their appointment hasn’t been booked.
Sending an appointment confirmation email incorporates all the trust signals, including your healthcare practice contact information, name, logo, doctor’s name, and information about the appointment. This will provide those who worry about online safety with some peace of mind.
It reduces missed doctor visits
The most crucial benefit of sending an appointment confirmation email is to reduce no-shows. Missed doctor visits are a medical practice’s worst nightmare. They’re a grave waste of money, time, and human capital.
It makes it easy for patients to reschedule or cancel early
Patients with confirmed appointments can easily cancel them if they cannot show up for whatever reason. This way, you can have ample time to book someone else in that time slot. However, they won’t bother to cancel if they’re not sure they have an appointment.
Email confirmations and reminders keep appointments on top of the patient’s mind. They’ll encourage patients to check their calendars for any potentially clashing commitments, minimizing late cancellations and no-shows.
It saves [lots of] money for the patient and healthcare organizations
According to one study covered by Forbes Magazine, missed doctor’s appointments cost the healthcare industry in the US well over $150 billion annually. At the individual level, patient no-shows cost healthcare practitioners and practices $200 on average per missed appointment, a staggering sum over time.
It improves patient outcomes
As reported by Digital Authority Partners, missed doctor’s appointments have an immense effect on the patient’s health, well beyond the economic implications. Sending a booking confirmation email ensures care continuity and improves patient outcomes.
Healthcare providers can effectively and regularly monitor medication adherence and efficacy when appointments are kept. Screenings and preventive services can be delivered in a timely fashion.
On the other hand, acute conditions can go untreated and turn into chronic illnesses with complications due to missed doctor visits. In other words, no-shows can have an insurmountable impact on the patient’s health.
Patients expect to receive one
If you’re not sending appointment confirmation emails, you may be sending your patients right into the hands of your competitors. Every medical practice is taking advantage of this aspect of healthcare email marketing. It’s standard practice across many industries, and healthcare is no different.
It improves your practice image
Trust is a currency in today’s consumer-centric healthcare space. And an appointment confirmation reminder or email can help boost your practice’s trust and credibility. Patients will perceive you as a professional and considerate medical practice.
It’s also a great email marketing strategy for shouting about your company’s ethics and values, as well as boosting your brand awareness. The more you incorporate into your email reminders and confirmations, the more trustworthy you seem. It may even help you avoid the dreaded junk folder or spam box, boosting your email deliverability rates.
What Should You Include in Your Appointment Confirmation Emails/Reminders?
Now that we’ve clarified why sending appointment email reminders is essential, it’s time to discuss what to incorporate into one.
(1) A short yet clear and attention-grabbing subject line
If you want appointment confirmation emails to be read, you need to write a compelling subject line. It should be concise and clear, not to mention attention-grabbing. You should include the call-to-action directly in the subject line.
Ensure the subject line complies with CAN-SPAM Act and HIPAA. By doing so, you’ll avoid penalties and the spam box. Avoid sales-pitchy or spammy words that can trigger spam filters and turn an opportunity for connection into a nightmare.
Adding the words “appointment confirmation” and the booking number or unique ID should do the trick. It’ll help make finding the confirmation easier at a later time, especially in a crowded inbox.
(2) Contact details
Provide your patients with as many contact avenues as possible. It’ll help open all doors of communication and ensure compliance with CAN-SPAM and HIPAA regulations. Cover all the bases, as you never know when an email, telephone, website, or chatbot may fail. More than that, make sure to include your practice office hours, social media pages, and a link to your website.
(3) Appointment booking details
The primary purpose of the email reminder is to confirm details about an appointment booking. So it should provide all the details you think are relevant and convey them. They may include:
● A salutation addressing the patient by their first name
● The appointment’s date and time in bold text
● The length and nature of the appointment, including services that’ll be rendered
● Cost breakdown or payment summary
● Location of the appointment
● Clear explanation of how to cancel or reschedule the appointment
● Sign-off/thank you
(4) Add-to-Calendar link or button
Including an Add-to-Calendar link or button is one of the easiest ways to reduce missed appointments. After all, the confirmation email will likely be buried under hundreds of other messages.
Making it easy for patients to add the booking to a personal calendar will take the guesswork out of appointment adherence. It’s an effective way to zap no-shows en masse.
(5) Use an active professional email address with a reply-to option
Never send healthcare marketing messages, reminders, or confirmation emails from a personal email address/account. Set up your appointment confirmation emails and reminders to come from your medical practice domain. More importantly, it should originate from a reply-to email address like firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you send from a personal email account or an address that doesn’t match your medical practice, your reminders will look unprofessional. Even worse, your confirmation emails may end up in the jaws of spam filters.
Other Ways to Reduce No-Shows with Email Marketing
Avoid sales pitches
Again, your appointment confirmation reminders should be clear and concise. It would be best if you never turned them into sales or marketing pitches. Don’t use it as a chance to up-sell your other services, as this may whittle down your customer’s trust and brand credibility.
Send appointment confirmations at the right time
Make sure to send the confirmation reminder as soon as the booking is processed. In many cases, this should be done immediately after the booking. It’ll show a sense of urgency and allow the patient to mark their diary or add to the calendar while it is still fresh in their mind.
Sending the email confirmation immediately will assure the patient that their booking has been secured. Of course, you should send an appointment reminder at least 24 hours prior to the appointment. This way, your patient will have plenty of time to reschedule or cancel if they have to.
Respect CAN-SPAM regulations
Obeying the CAN-SPAM healthcare marketing rules is the only way to avoid legal trouble and spam filters. In short, the CAN-SPAM Act is a law requiring you to send messages that contain marketing elements only if the recipient has agreed to receive them. It also requires you to:
● Give users a conspicuous and straightforward way of opting out of future messages
● Disclose advertising emails as such
● Ensure the subject line reflects the email content
● Accurately identify the sender of the email confirmation
– Make sure the confirmation email is easy to understand and read
Confirmation emails are all about convenience. The leading information should be easy to find, read, and understand and use the most explicit language possible. Use different fonts, font sizes, and colors to break your confirmation into visual categories.
Test your email confirmation on different devices
A confirmation email may look great on desktop browsers and email clients but not so well on mobile devices. Test every aspect of the email confirmation on desktops, tablets, and mobile devices.