11 Ways to Limit No-Shows With a Patient Reminder System

Using patient reminder software is crucial to reducing cancellations and no-shows. We compare the top solutions for dentists and doctors.

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Missed, rescheduled, and canceled appointments cost your medical or dental practice lost revenue, as well as resources that could have been better utilized. Address no-shows and cancellations - and make sure more patients show up on time - by implementing a patient reminder solution that automates patient reminders.

In this article, we will be taking you through everything that there is to know about the different patient reminder software available and how NexHealth’s patient reminder software can help your practice.

  • Overview of medical and dental appointment reminder software
  • Why automated dental appointment reminders must be HIPAA compliant
  • 11 ways to reduce appointment cancellations and no-shows
  • 6 best patient reminder software solutions for dentists
  • 5 best patient reminder software solutions for doctors
  • 4 best free patient reminder software solutions

Let’s get right into how patient reminder software can help modernize your practice, increase your ROI, and give your patients the experience and care that they deserve.

Overview of medical and dental appointment reminder software

Medical and dental appointment reminder systems automate repetitive tasks like scheduling and following up with patients, freeing up your staff to focus on growing the practice. Their key features include calendar syncing, virtual waitlists, and analytics that help make better business decisions.

These solutions allow you to automate your patient appointment reminders so that patients receive regularly scheduled updates about their upcoming appointments. This frees up staff time to work on other tasks, and limits manual errors. Most importantly, patients that receive reminders are more likely to cancel or inform you they cannot attend, allowing you to fill these empty appointment slots. When your patients get regular communication from your practice, they tend to stay engaged with the practice, building loyalty and giving you an opportunity to cross-sell or upsell products.

Why automated patient appointment reminders software must be HIPAA compliant

Patients’ health data is extremely confidential information that should not be shared with anyone except for the healthcare provider, insurance companies, lawyers, and accountants. Failing to comply with HIPAA can have serious consequences that can lead to large penalties and closure of the practice.

HIPAA compliance is made up of two main components: storage and use of PHI and sharing information via secure mediums that are encrypted such as email, SMS, or even messaging apps like WhatsApp. Let us look at why medical and dental practices send out automated reminders via HIPAA compliant scheduling software:

  • Reminders are considered to be a part of the patient’s treatment.
  • They receive prior authorization from the patients to send them reminders.
  • Information sent out in the appointment reminder does not contain specific details of the treatment.

11 ways to reduce appointment cancellations and no-shows

Appointment cancellations and no-shows are bound to happen as patients get busy with work or simply forget to show up. However, reducing cancellations and no-shows - and filling those missed time spots - is important for increasing ROI and offering a smooth customer experience.

To avoid such occurrences, here are a few things you can do to reduce appointment cancellations and no-shows:

1. Send appointment reminders

Based on your practice and the frequency at which patients need to visit you, sending out appointment reminders can free up your staff’s time to focus on tasks that can help grow the practice.

You could send out reminders 2 days in advance so that they can get a headstart on preparing for their appointment, such as avoiding certain foods or arranging for important documents required. A 24-hour reminder helps them plan their day around the appointment and sending out a message 2 hours before the appointment can help them wrap up their work and plan their journey to your office.

2. Use scheduling software to automate reminder texts and emails

Online patient scheduling allows visitors to see your availability in real-time and book their appointments on-demand from any location or device without having to call in during office hours. Since most scheduling software comes with the reminder option as well, practices can use the feature to schedule reminder texts and emails that go out to patients before their appointment.

3. Draft a clear cancellation policy

Having a clear cancellation policy that states the repercussions of not showing up or rescheduling at the last minute can ensure responsible behavior on the part of the patient. You can mention your practice’s cancellation policy in the appointment confirmation email or text as most patients are likely to open and read the details of their appointment.

4. Allow patients to schedule their own appointments

Giving them the freedom to book their appointment without any back and forth and at their convenience can ensure that patients keep their appointments. By allowing  patients to book after hours, you increase the hours that you are able to accept bookings. Most patients prefer to book after hours, which can be difficult, as your practice hours often line up with patients’ working hours.

5. Have a no-show penalty fee or deposit

When there is a dollar amount attached to not showing up to an appointment, patients are less likely to miss it. If your practice decides to adopt this practice, then it's important that you communicate this information to them via email, text message, and when they are in your office, so that they are aware of these charges and won’t be disappointed later if they have to pay the penalty for missing an appointment. Including this in your reminder message will motivate them to attend their appointment, or call ahead to cancel, allowing you to fill the time slot with another appointment.

6. Always have an ‘Add to Calendar’ CTA in the email or text

According to a 2018 study, 70% of adults relied on digital calendars to manage their lives.  Including an ‘Add to Calendar’ call to action (CTA) in your reminder messages can give them a quick, easy way of adding the appointment to their calendar. If making it to the appointment is important to them, they will prefer to have a CTA that would add it to their calendar instead of having to create the event themselves.

7. Celebrate milestones for a top of mind recall

As patients achieve their milestones or health goals, it also reflects the type of care your practice is providing. Celebrating their success with them and sharing it with other patients can help build trust and create top-of-mind recall, allowing patients to refer your practice to their friends and family. You could create a ‘Wall of Fame’ in your office for other patients to see success stories or share their progress on social media (with permission!).

8. Develop healthy patient relationships to strengthen their commitment to your practice

Encouraging your front desk staff to learn more about the patients without being invasive and judgemental can help strengthen your patient’s commitment to your practice. Kind gestures like asking them how they and their families are doing, if they need any extra resources to improve their health, or giving out free samples that can encourage them to try out your products before buying them are some examples.

9. Partner with cab services

While sending reminder emails, you could partner up with rideshare companies like Lyft or Uber and add a CTA that takes them to their app to book their ride. You could also offer promo codes that can incentivize them to book their ride and also ensure that they don’t miss their appointment. This is a great strategy for larger cities, while it may be less effective in rural towns where your patients take their own transportation.

10. Incentivize patients with rewards

Rewarding patients with a free giveaway or offering your product at a discount is a great way to incentivize your patients who have been keeping their appointments. This makes them feel special and encourages them and their peers to be regular to reap such benefits.

11. Create a memorable experience to look forward to

While nobody looks forward to a dentist or a doctor’s appointment, there are small things that you can do to make the patient have a pleasant experience such as creating a fun space with toys for kids or celebrating their birthday, or running a contest or a raffle for patients to win exciting prizes. Small gestures like these can go a long way and also let your patients know how important they are to your practice and that they are being cared for.

Reduce no-shows and cancelations with NexHealth today!

6 best patient reminder software for dentists

Doctor and dental appointments (aside from regular cleanings) are often inconsistent, making it very easy to slip out of your patient’s mind. Patient reminder software solves this by reminding patients of their appointments.

Here’s our list of some of the top appointment reminders software solutions that you can choose depending on your practice needs:

1. NexHealth

Cost: Contact for quote

Best for: A complete patient experience solution that improves patient management and grows your practice

NexHealth is a patient engagement platform built for doctors and developers for EHR-integrated real-time online scheduling, patient communication, and digital paperwork. With the sole aim to grow your practice and digitize your patient’s experience, NexHealth syncs with your EHR to automatically send patient appointment reminders for patient confirmations, post-appointment followups, and recalls.

Top features:

  • Online scheduling 
  • Patient Appointment Reminders
  • Online payments
  • Reviews and online forms
  • Email and text marketing
  • ASAP lists
  • No show and cancellation

2. Curve Dental

Image Credit: Curve Dental

Cost: Contact for quote

Best for: Five-star customer care

Curve Dental is a cloud-based practice management software that is used by over 38,000 dental professionals in the USA and Canada. With a focus on increasing productivity and profitability, Curve Dental is HIPAA compliant and keeps your patient and billing data secure as a continuous backup to Amazon Tier 1 Web hosting ensures accuracy, accessibility, and integrity.

Top features:

  • Scheduling
  • Charting and imaging
  • Billing
  • Patient engagement

3. tab32

Image Credit: tab32

Cost: Contact for quote

Best for: Document management, general ledger, statements, and reporting

Tab32 is a cloud-based practice management software built on top of the Google cloud infrastructure. It can provide multi-tenant solutions for a single or shared patient database that is scalable across regions and is secure and resilient as the practice grows.

Top features:

  • Real-time patient communication
  • Online appointments and reminders
  • Practice analytics dashboard
  • Post appointment survey
  • Electronic claims and auto-track billable codes


Image Credit: MOGO

Cost: $250/month

Best for: Personalized patient engagement

MOGO is a comprehensive all-in-one cloud-based dental practice management software that caters to all types of general and specialized dental professionals. MOGO is secured with Microsoft Azure for the highest HIPAA-compliant protection and security.

Top features:

  • eReminders and appointment confirmations
  • Online patient forms
  • Treatment and payment history
  • Employee time clock and tracking
  • Sends automatic recall cards

5. iDentalSoft

Image Credit: iDentalSoft

Cost: Contact for quote

Best for: Intuitive charting and native imaging to show changes and patient progress

iDentalSoft is a 100% paperless practice management software that reduces technology hassles and eliminates the need for expensive servers. With the convenience of accessing the solution from anywhere at any time on any device, iDentalSoft ensures data protection with HIPAA compliance and enterprise-grade security.

Top features:

  • Smart scheduling
  • Treatment planning and implant tracking
  • Employee management
  • Online intake portal and eDental forms
  • ePrescribe integrations

6. Dentrix

Image Credit: Dentrix

Cost: Contact for quote

Best for: Dentrix Enterprise can be integrated with software such as Athenahealth, Allscripts, Cerner, eClinicalWorks, Epic, and SuccessEHS

Dentrix is a fully integrated solution for dental care practices of all sizes. With free resources, webinars, and events, Dentrix can help you learn the ropes to grow your practice, improve your social media presence, and increase your SEO ranking.

Top features:

  • Scheduling and appointment booking
  • e-prescribing and monitoring continuing care
  • Billing and accounting management
  • Reporting to track payments, Medicaid reimbursement, and payer utilization

5 best patient reminder softwares for doctors

Automated reminders are a win-win for both the patient and the staff that has the task of scheduling them. Along with just scheduling appointments and sending reminders, patient reminder softwares can also increase engagement and loyalty towards your practice. Let us look at some of the top patient reminder softwares that are out there:

1. Doctible

Image Credit: Doctible

Cost: Contact for quote

Best for: Review-booster technology generates new reviews that help bring in more patients

As a reputation and patient management platform, Doctible aims at helping healthcare practices retain patients and reduce no-shows. With the capability to integrate with most practice management software and EHR systems, it allows healthcare professionals to monitor patient visit history and review patient satisfaction statistics that can be used for change management and future decision making.

Top features:

  • Performance dashboard
  • Satisfaction tracker
  • Virtual Waiting Room
  • Online scheduling and patient reminders

2. Zingit

Image Credit: Zingit

Cost: $199 - $299/month

Best for: Patients can schedule their appointments online

Zingit is a patient engagement software that helps manage appointment scheduling, reviews, and patient communication all on one centralized platform that integrates with more than 150 EHR systems. Practices can schedule a 15-minute free consultation to understand if the solution is a good fit for their practice.

Top features:

  • Two-way communication to optimize overall patient engagement
  • Announcements regarding new products, services, offers, events, and office closures
  • Appointment scheduling and reminders
  • Readily available message templates for use
  • Manage business directory listings

3. Luma Health

Image Credit: Luma Health

Cost: Contact for quote

Best for: Directly integrate into 70+ EHR/PMS for automated operations

Luma Health is a patient engagement solution with the focus of modernizing patient access and automating communication to grow your business. Being a HIPAA compliant solution, patients have the ease of filling out their intake forms and sending feedback right from their mobile phone.

Top features:

  • Scheduling and automating patient-provider communication throughout the entire patient journey
  • Telehealth
  • Concierge customization and support
  • Mobile patient intake

4. DoctorConnect

Image Credit: DoctorConnect

Cost: Contact for quote

Best for: No touch, paperless patient intake forms and other documents

DoctorConnect’s appointment reminder software helps lower no-show rates and increase your practice’s revenue and patient satisfaction levels. Physicians can reach out to the support team who are ready to assist with any queries to make their experience of using DoctorConnect hassle-free.

Top features:

  • HIPAA and SOC2 Compliant
  • Medical appointment reminders that are customizable by appointment type
  • Targeted after-care surveys
  • Integrated telehealth system

5. Pomelo Health

Image Credit: Pomelo Health

Cost: Contact for quote

Best for: Vaccination management

With the purpose of improving access to healthcare and enabling a better patient experience, Pomelo Health offers a patient engagement platform to increase retention and satisfaction. Implementing efficient medication adherence programs and saving valuable staff time are just some of the benefits practices can take advantage of.

Top features:

  • Patient engagement and communication
  • Scheduling and appointment reminders
  • Mobile patient intake
  • Queue management

4 best free patient reminder software

If you are not ready to commit to any of these patient reminder softwares, here are a few tools that come with a free version with limited functionality that can give you a flavor of how it can simplify day-to-day activities at your practice:

1. SimplyBook.me

Image Credit: SimplyBook.me

Cost: Free - $59.9/month

Best for: Options to book on multiple platforms to reach a wider audience

SimplyBook.me allows businesses to display their availability for new and existing customers to make bookings. Businesses can add a SimplyBook.me widget to their website or App, or add a Book Now CTA to their Facebook, Instagram, or Google Maps page or through Booking.page.

Top features:

  • Online scheduling and notifications via SMS or email
  • Coupons and gift cards
  • 17 customizable website templates and booking widgets that can be added to your website

2. Appointy

Image Credit: Appointy

Cost: Free - $79.99/month

Best for: Getting bookings directly from Facebook, Instagram, Google and your business website

Appointy is scheduling software that is available in multiple countries and languages and is designed to help you grow and manage your business. Appointy allows you to accept appointments online, send automated email or SMS reminders, and integrate with social media and your Google Calendar.

Top features:

  • Calendar Sync and automatic reminders
  • Dedicated relationship manager
  • Gift certificates
  • Accept online pre-payments

3. Reservio

Image Credit: Reservio

Cost: Free - $40/month

Best for: Integration with your Google Calendar, iCal, or your website gives patients access to your practice hours

Reservio is an online booking and appointment scheduling platform for client-serving businesses of all types and sizes that is available in over 35 countries. With an intuitive CRM that can provide valuable business insights to help managers make better scheduling decisions, Reservio works as a smart business assistant.

Top features:

  • Online booking and scheduling
  • Staff and shift management
  • Business reporting and statistics

4. Mend

Image Credit: Mend

Cost: Free - $29/month

Best for: Showing provider capacity and utilization

Mend is a HIPAA-compliant telemedicine tool that makes patient scheduling and reminders look easy. Their Predictive IQ technology uses artificial intelligence algorithms to predict no-shows and cancellations before they happen.

Top features:

  • Digital intake forms
  • Group video and scheduling
  • Patient appointment reminders
  • Patient scheduling

Reduce no-shows and cancellations with NexHealth!

While choosing the right patient reminder software can take a lot of deliberation, consideration, and integration to your existing EHR system, practices that have adopted NexHealth have reported improved patient satisfactionbetter patient acquisition, and the ability to retain their existing patients.

Learn how NexHealth can help you tackle these challenges with a free demo.

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