In the fast-paced world of dental care, ensuring patients keep their scheduled appointments is crucial for both practitioners and patients.

And, the question often arises, “How do you remind a patient of an appointment?” In this post, we will explore the effectiveness of Dental Appointment Reminder Cards, focusing on patient engagement and the various formats available, such as Multi-Appointment Cards, Sticker Appointment Cards, and Business Appointment Cards. We’ll also touch on the pros and cons of physically handing out appointment cards or opting for digital reminders through SMS.

How Do Missed Appointments Impact Your Practice?

Before we scratch the surface regarding how to remind patients of an appointments, let’s talk about why patient appointment reminders are so important in the first place. When a patient misses their appointment without notifying your office in advance, a ripple effect takes place. First, you’re left without another patient to fill that time slot. 

This can affect the daily work flow of your office and lead to production losses, which in turn results in a loss of revenue. 

Secondly, not only do no-shows have a negative impact on your practice, but they can also have a direct impact on individuals’ health. When patients miss appointments, the continuity of their care is interrupted and three things can happen: 

  1. If patient has multiple appointments scheduled for a treatment plan, those treatments get pushed back or delayed, making it harder to get back on track.
  2. Preventive services and screenings can’t be delivered in a timely manner.
  3. Minor oral health issues go untreated and can quickly become chronic conditions.

This is why communicating with your patients is paramount to reducing no-shows. When you thoroughly communicate with patients about their treatment plan, you solidify relationships, earn trust and foster a sense of loyalty that results in patients valuing your opinion and respecting your time. 

This type of patient engagement is at the core of successful appointment reminder campaigns. Utilizing dental appointment reminder cards allows you to engage with your patients in a tangible way, creating a sense of commitment to their scheduled appointments. The physical aspect of the appointment reminder card serves as a visual cue, prompting patients to prioritize and remember their upcoming visits.

So, How Do You Remind a Patient of Their Appointment?

Fortunately, there’s more than one method—which we’ll cover in this blog post—and they’re all effortless, affordable and easy to implement. But we can honestly say, Appointment Reminder Cards are hands-down the easiest way to reduce no-shows.

Dental appointment reminder cards serve as tangible tools to reinforce the importance of scheduled appointments and provide patients with a physical reminder. Appointment reminder cards include essential details such as the appointment date, time, location, and contact information for your dental practice. 

To make an even bigger impact and increase brand awareness, customize your cards with your practice name and logo to establish your brand and create a professional and cohesive patient experience. 

And, with the wide range of format options we carry, you can always find the one that works best for your practice. Read on to learn about the different types of appointment reminder cards and discover one (or more!) that will resonate with your practice and patients.

image shows three different formats of appointment cards

Eye-catching shapes and designs help patients remember their appointments.

Multi-Appointment Cards. These are designed to accommodate multiple scheduled visits on a single card. This format is particularly useful for patients with ongoing treatment plans or those requiring a series of follow-up appointments. The convenience of having all appointment details in one place enhances patient organization and reduces the likelihood of missing any crucial visits.

Sticker Appointment Cards. Offer a unique and interactive approach to appointment reminders. These cards include a peel-off sticker that patients can place in their calendars, planners or other personal items. The tangible nature of the sticker provides a constant visual reminder and increases the chances of patients remembering and attending their appointments.

Custom Appointment Cards. To make an even bigger impact, customize your appointment cards to reflect the essence of your practice. Choose the colors and design, imprint them with your logo and even choose the shape of the sticker if you’re going with sticker appointment cards! Every time the patient glances at your unique appointment card, they’re not only reminded of their upcoming appointment, they’re reminded of the quality of service you provide them with, too.

Unique sticker shapes plus your practice name & logo help establish your brand.

Business Appointment Cards. These combine professionalism with functionality. These cards often feature your contact information, logo, tagline and even office hours. By integrating appointment details with general practice information, these cards serve a dual purpose, reinforcing your practice’s brand while reminding patients of their next visit. 

ReStix™ Appointment Cards. Similar to Sticker Appointment Cards, have a peel-off portion where appointment details can be noted, but the sticker can be placed and replaced on a number of different surfaces over and over again. ReStix can be placed in a calendar, then moved to a refrigerator door, office cubicle wall, or any other surface without tearing or leaving a sticky residue. Plus, they can also be personalized with your practice information and logo. 

Seasonal Appointment Cards. Don’t press pause on your appointment reminder campaigns during the holiday season! In fact, during these hectic times of the year, it’s even more important to help patients remember their appointments. You can find Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas designs so you can switch them up for every season and keep patients looking forward to coming back all year!


What About SMS Appointment Reminders?

In an era dominated by technology, the debate arises: is it better to give out a physical card or leverage digital methods such as SMS for automated patient appointment reminders? Where physical appointment cards offer a tangible connection with patients, SMS reminders present a modern and convenient alternative.

Be aware that there are a number of strict regulations you must follow to be in compliance with HIPAA laws regarding how and when text messages can be sent to patients. Although it may be quicker and more convenient to send reminders via text message, remember to always make sure you’re following the appropriate protocols.

According to the HIPAA Journal, “Depending on the content of the text message, who the text message is being sent to, or the mechanisms put in place to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of Protected Health Information (PHI), texting can be HIPAA-compliant in certain circumstances.” 

So, it is okay to send messages via text (or email), as long as:

  • the patient has consented to receiving electronic notifications 
  • the content of these messages do not include personal identifiers
  • the message complies with the minimum necessary standard of the Privacy and Security Rules 

It’s important to remember that we are merely touching on these issues in this blog post and that you should take time to become familiar with HIPAA rules and regulations. The HIPAA Journal has extensive information and is a good place to start.

You may also have patients in a certain demographic who prefer a reminder card they can actually hold in their hand over a text message. For instance, older generations often don’t care to receive texts and may not even have a smartphone that supports them. It’s important to provide patients with the reminder method that will work best for them. Additionally, even for those patients who do prefer text reminders, you can still give them an appointment reminder card to act as a second layer of communication and further reduce the risk of a no-show.

What Else Can You Do to Reduce No-shows?

In addition to the methods we’ve talked about earlier, there are other things you can do to help reduce no-shows in your dental practice. 

Patient Education. Oftentimes, when patients don’t fully understand the treatment plan, they also don’t understand the importance of every appointment you’ve set for them. Take time to thoroughly explain the series of treatments that will take place over the next several appointments. Send patients home with Patient Education Brochures so they can carefully read them in the comfort of their own home.

Reminder Postcards. So, you gave your patient an appointment reminder card at the end of their last appointment and maybe you’ve even followed up with a phone call. These are great steps to reduce the risk of a no-show! But, you can go one step further and send a Reminder Postcard. It’s one additional way to physically remind your patient how important it is to keep their appointment. Choose a reminder postcard with a lighthearted design and a friendly message stating how much you’re looking forward to seeing them soon. You can even include a coupon or special offer on the back of the card as an incentive.

In conclusion, the implementation of dental appointment cards in your reminder campaigns is a strategic approach to enhance patient engagement and reduce no-show rates. Whether you choose to opt for appointment reminder cards in various formats or leverage SMS reminders, the key is to find a balance that aligns with your goals and caters to the diverse needs of your patients. By doing so, you can create a robust appointment reminder system that promotes patient adherence and improves the overall efficiency of your practice.

Ready to say goodbye to no-shows? Shop our HUGE selection of Appointment Reminder Cards here!