In this 3-part series, we’re sharing the top best practices for managing your waitlist and filling appointment cancellations.
In part one, we shared two best practices to help fill appointment cancellations. In this post, we we’re revisiting one of those – the mode of communication. In part one, we discussed that text messaging (SMS), based on our data, was the best method of communication and resulted in the highest rate of response and appointment confirmation.
However, 85% of our communication occurs via text messaging. So, the overall data could skew the more meaningful details. So, today, we’re exploring mode of communication in more depth and examining which mode shows the best results based on one particular patient demographic – age.
Based on volume, we see the highest percentage of accepted offers occur via text message. However, if we look at every outgoing message and examine how many acceptances we receive for each, it reveals a very different story. The better performing mode of communication isn’t always text messaging.
Data has shown, again and again, that overall, response rates are better for text messaging versus voice messages, particularly in healthcare when it comes to appointment reminders. How, then, can we explain the above data that shows voice messages performing much better than text for offer acceptance?
Age greatly affects offer acceptance based on the mode of communication. The average age for patients receiving messages via voice is 72, whereas the average age for patients receiving messages via text is 43.
There are likely several very different characteristics that can explain why voice offers are seeing a better acceptance rate with the older population – such as urgency for needing an appointment and overall schedule flexibility. The below graph shows the age distribution for outgoing messages. Qualitatively, there is a difference in the distribution with a tendency towards text messaging for the younger population.
The below graph further supports these findings. The graph shows the percentage of offers accepted based on age for all modes of communication. We see a much greater percentage of offers accepted with the age group 60+ compared to those in younger age groups.
So, while text messaging continues to perform better overall, it’s important that you understand your patient demographic before choosing your primary mode of communication. If working with the older population (60 years and up), voice messages should be a significant part of your communication plan for managing your wait list and filling appointments.
Our products are optimized for communication that is best suited for your patients. So, if you’re looking to improve your patient communication and save time managing your wait list, contact us today to find out how we can help!
Tashfeen Ekram, MD, is a radiologist, self-taught coder, healthcare innovator and Co-Founder of Luma Health. Contact him on Twitter at @tashfeenekramMD.