In a recent patient portal enhancement, we have made the addition of ICS files to appointment confirmation emails so that patients can easily add their scheduled appointments to their personal calendar, in one click. Patients already receive an automated email as soon as they book an appointment, via the YourHealthFile patient portal. Now, when patients receive the email, they will also have the option to instantly add the appointment to their Google calendar by clicking “Add to Google Calendar.” Of course, not everybody uses Google calendar. No problem; your patients can also add the appointment to iCal or any other online scheduling tool they use by downloading, saving or opening the ICS file in the email.

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Employing automated confirmation emails and calendar reminders eliminates the need for office staff to use their valuable time to manually call and remind patients of their upcoming appointments. These automated reminders, integrated into the patient portal workflow, also cuts down on the need for your practice to employ yet another tool to perform this function.

Appointment reminders of any kind can significantly reduce your no-show rate. However, phone call reminders use more resources than the more cost-effective, automated calendar reminders. Calendar and text reminders both have the potential to reach a larger number of individuals at a lower cost. Plus, these reminders can be synced across every platform your patient may use, be it iPhone, Android, desktop or any type of tablet. You can quell any worries that portions of your patient population, like seniors, will have no use for these reminders. Many recent surveys indicate that there is a growing demand among tech-savvy seniors who want to use healthcare technology. Chances are, you have seen mom or grandma using her smartphone to schedule Tuesday night’s bridge game. Why not her next doctor’s appointment?

In addition to calendar reminders, we will be adding an automated text message reminder feature to our patient portal capabilities in the near future. More blog posts on that to come. No-shows are expensive – there’s no better way to reduce your no-show rate and lost revenue than automated reminders.