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Text message reminders have halved unnecessary absences in Heinola’s dental care

Text message reminders have reduced no-shows to by over 50 percent. In 2014, unnecessary absences amounted to 900 visits.

Malin Söderlund

Head of Sales

The impact of reminding patients about their appointments has a major impact on improved workload. When the number of missed appointments is halved, 10 more weeks of working hours per year can be activated in clinical care.

'A 52 percent reduction of absences during the first three months of the reminders being used is clearly more than we expected when we made the purchase decision,' says Chief Physician Eero Aalto-Setälä.

There are 17,000 visits per year to the City of Heinola dental clinic. The percentage of no-shows of all visits was significant, over five percent.

'The number of absences was a significant operational and economic problem that we have been able to improve through text message reminders,' Aalto-Setälä states.

A reminder message is sent to the customer the day before the visit

'If the time is not convenient and the customer notifies us of this, we can give the appointment to a different customer,' says Dental Hygienist in Charge, Satu Lahnalahti.

A positive addition to customer service

The dental service sends out some hundred reminders per day to all of the next day’s customers whose number is in the patient information system. Checking the up-to-date phone number is part of the dentist visit routine. The customer may also decline to receive the message, but so far, no such requests have been made.

'We have received a lot of positive feedback. This is good customer service. When coming in for the visit, many have stated that without the message they would have forgotten to come,' Lahnalahti comments. 'Utilising technology is an image question not only for dental care but also for the whole city,' continues Aalto-Setälä.

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