€ 300 million is the total national expense that arises every year because patients do not show up for their appointment, without prior notice. These extra costs often come from hospitals. It is therefore not surprising that an increasing amount of hospitals are taking (additional) measures to prevent no-shows.
Medisch Spectrum Twente (MST) and Ziekenhuisgroep Twente (ZGT) alone are confronted annually with 20,000 appointments in which patients remain absent. This amounts to expenses of 1.5 to 2 million euros per year. “Approximately 6% of all hospital appointments at MST remain unattended, whilst the average no-show percentage at Dutch hospitals is 4%,” says Lars Wormgoor, spokesperson for MST.
Hospital appointments are simply often forgotten. This is annoying for a patient, but especially has consequences for hospitals. No-shows leads to longer waiting times, inefficient use of treatment rooms, time loss for doctors and specialists and very high, unnecessary expenses.
Since 2011 hospitals are able to claim the costs of approximately € 45.00 per patient missing an appointment. The patient cannot claim this amount with their health insurer. For many hospitals, however, fining patients is still a step too far. MST has therefore decided to use an additional service to inform and remind patients of their appointment.
MST has already taken various measures to reduce the number of no-shows. One of these is not planning appointments too far ahead. Furthermore, the hospital sends letters to their patients. However, due to the gap in time between receiving the letter and the date of the appointment, a letter does not have the desired effect. Even by sending e-mail’s when an appointment is approaching, the amount of no-shows still remains on the high side. Recently, MST also sends their patients an appointment reminder by SMS. This SMS is sent out just before the appointment, which increases service towards patients. In the SMS message, MST also sends a link with which the patient can easily follow the status of their appointment.
The main advantage of SMS, in comparison to e-mail, is that an SMS has a higher urgency and is read more often and quicker. The percentage of recipients that actually open the message is 99% for an SMS. In addition, 97% of all SMS messages are read within 15 minutes.
Spryng was originally founded with the intension to reduce the number of no-shows in the healthcare sector. In collaboration with Spryng, several hospitals have been able to drastically reduce the no-show percentage by 60% using SMS.
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