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Fewer ‘no-shows’ in hospitals: now even more important

Fewer ‘no-shows’ in hospitals: now even more important

If you follow our blogs, you probably already know about the positive effects for reducing no-shows in healthcare. Not only for patients, but also for healthcare staff. The time of healthcare staff, as well as patients, is more precious than ever. Research by Logistics students at Breda University of Applied Science recently brought good news in this area. Indeed, it was shown that with a targeted approach, the number of no-shows in healthcare can be reduced even further. Do you not have time to read this article? Watch our video down below for a short summary about the article.

What is a no-show?

A 'no-show' is a patient who does not show up for the appointment and has not signed out either, for whatever reason. Such a no-show is, of course, always annoying for a hospital. Unused capacity of staff and equipment, among others, extra administrative work, longer waiting times are just some of its negative effects. Not to mention the unnecessary extra costs. But missing an appointment can also cause healthcare damage to patients, for instance by forcing them to postpone treatment with all its consequences. In short, no one benefits from a no-show. The lower this number is, the better (for everyone).

How do you lower the number of no-shows in healthcare?

In the Netherlands, the average number of no-shows within outpatient appointments is 4 percent. That may not seem like much, but the costs of these no-shows quickly amount to several hundred million (!) euros a year. There is also good news: the number of no-shows has already been falling significantly in recent years, partly due to the use of SMS as appointment reminders. But differences between hospitals and polyclinics remain large. Reason for second-year students of the Logistics programme at BUas (Breda University of Applied Sciences) to look into this. They investigated the 'no-shows' at the outpatient departments of two Bravis hospital locations.

Research 'no-shows' yields striking results

In their research, the students analysed the number and type of no-shows. The analysis showed:

  • Most no-shows occur at repeat appointments
  • There is a striking difference between men and women, types of specialisms and elderly and young people.
  • Most no-shows occurred in the 51-60 years category.

This analysis gives healthcare professionals the perfect insights to test out SMS with a directed approach and see how effective it is. To further reduce no-shows, it is important for polyclinics to schedule appointments with patients less far ahead, the study found. Patient self-selection of a time also contributes to lower no-shows. In addition, sending an SMS (as a reminder) ensures a big no-show reduction. Of course, we at Spryng have known this for some time - we have been working for healthcare institutions since we were founded. Erasmus MC, a hospital based in the Netherlands, says this: "Sending SMS as an appointment reminder minimises 'no-shows' by at least 70%. In addition, patients experience this as a fantastic service." This study once again underlines the effect of SMS service for appointment reminders. So we should not underestimate its importance.

Avoid miscommunication with SMS

An SMS service, which can be installed on the healthcare institution's existing software with one simple SMS API, offers a solution. And saves a lot of time and money. Because with an SMS you can not only send an appointment reminder. You can also use SMS to confirm the cancellation of an appointment. So that people don't travel to the hospital unnecessarily. By sending an SMS about ongoing, cancelled or new appointments, you communicate in a friendly, safe and fast way. And keep your patients informed and satisfied. 

Reduce no-show, also in other sectors

Of course, sending an SMS to remind patients of their appointments does not only work well for healthcare institutions.

Hospitality businesses, entrepreneurs such as hairdressers, delivery services and rental companies also save a lot of costs if they use SMS to confirm appointments. And the customers? They unanimously experience it as an extra service. Rightly so, because an SMS reminds you of an appointment in a personal and friendly way. 

The leading SMS service provider in the Netherlands

Are you curious what sending SMS to reduce the number of no-shows can do for your organisation? Or would you like to know more or other possibilities SMS has to offer for you and your clients? Feel free to contact us. We will discuss all the possibilities together - without any obligation. You can also call us on +31 20 770 30 05. Or send us an e-mail at

Video summary: Fewer no-shows in hospitals

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