How healthcare providers can save costs by reducing missed appointments

Topic: Healthcare

Let’s begin by stating the obvious: missed appointments are an expensive waste of resource. In fact, the cost of missed healthcare appointments to the NHS alone is close to 1 billion pounds per year (source).

With cost-savings continually being sought out in the healthcare sector, innovative ways to communicate and engage with patients have to be found. This presents an opportunity for providers to evolve, and embrace digital, mobile-focused channels like SMS.

Taking advantage of smartphone ownership

The continued increase in smartphone numbers provides healthcare providers with the opportunity to address these challenges. With 85% of the UK’s population now owning a smartphone (source), providers have greater levels of digital access to their patients than ever before.
For certain applications, SMS with its 95% open rate is unequalled as a communication channel, and appointment reminders are one area where it excels. In fact, where implemented, SMS can reduce the amount of missed appointments by as much as 30% (source).
By using a channel which is mobile-focused, convenient and personalised, the patient is more likely to read the reminder and subsequently attend their appointment.
While the process of sending reminders can be managed through standard one-way SMS sends, two-way SMS conversations can be handled by products like SMS Chat. This is particularly helpful for patients who may need to re-arrange their appointment, as they can text in their request without needing to call a provider, wait on hold and then request a change. It also means that the provider can handle multiple conversations at the same time and in turn improve their staff’s efficiencies.

Getting started with text-based appointment reminders

Esendex has worked with a range of healthcare providers to implement SMS based strategies for appointment reminders. This can be done via our secure online platform, or through our API, which allows SMS to be integrated directly into public service providers’ existing systems.
Multichannel strategies can also be implemented which combine SMS with our Voice, Email, Mobile Web Apps, and upcoming RCS technologies. These multichannel strategies will use intelligent decision engines look at the contact details that you have available for a patient and use the next most cost-effective channel to remind them about their appointment.
To find out more about how other public service providers have successfully used SMS to reduce their missed appointments please get in touch with our team on 0345 356 5758 or email

Author Avatar
Warren Delay

Hi, I'm Warren, and I'm the Product Marketing Manager here at Esendex, specialising in product positioning / requirement. I also have an extensive knowledge of product management, and love working at the cutting edge of new tech!