Reducing patient no-shows is a challenge that all dental practices face. Missed appointments hurt your bottom line, and manual appointment reminders increase staff workload. Lighthouse 360 minimizes no-shows by establishing a stable communication channel with your patients, so scheduling is simplified for all parties involved.
In our research, we spoke with the team at Smileboston. As a prosthodontist, Steven D. Spitz, DMD has always made technology a central focus of Smileboston. The practice's main priority is their patients’ experience and, after 24 years, utilizing today’s technology helps to make a difference.
Table of Contents
- How to Use Appointment Reminders to Reduce No-shows
- Other Tips on Reducing No-shows
- General Feedback on Lighthouse 360
- Other Lighthouse 360 Benefits
- Is Lighthouse 360 Worth the Cost?
How to Use Appointment Reminders to Reduce No-shows
Your patients lead busy lives, and they might not remember they have an upcoming appointment with you. Lighthouse 360's appointment reminder software is designed to help you communicate with your patients, so you can keep a full schedule. Here are a few best practices that the team at Smileboston uses to reduce no-shows.
- Schedule patients six months in advance: It is best to schedule future appointments during your patient’s check-out process. For those yet to schedule, use Lighthouse’s automatic reminders to encourage them to book a recall appointment.
- Contact patients a few days before their appointment: Use Lighthouse 360 to send mass text & email reminders to all patients who have not confirmed their appointments.
- Utilize same-day text reminders: Even if your patient confirmed their appointment prior, it is critical to remind them the day of the appointment.
Other Tips on Reducing No-shows
In addition to appointment reminders, there are other best practices to reduce no-shows.
- If they no-show, use the Fill-in feature: Even with the preventive practices highlighted above, some patients are still going to no-show. Under these circumstances, Lighthouse Fill-in functionality detects cancelled appointments in your schedule, and contacts patients who are likely to fill in that gap.
- Establish a 48-hour cancellation policy: Smileboston does not charge a no-show or cancellation fee. However, they inform patients of their scheduling procedures, and request they cancel appointments no later than 2 days prior to arrival. By setting standards, you can influence how your patients engage with you, and help them understand that scheduling is an important part of your business.
General Feedback on Lighthouse 360
Lighthouse 360 is a high-quality tool with numerous features. In addition to appointment reminders, it offers two-way texting and bulk communications. It also has a customer friendly, month-to-month contract, and highly-rated customer service.
Lighthouse 360’s robust two-way texting allows for direct communication with your patients. Immediate contact fosters positive patient relationships. Also, texting is the preferred communication channel for many people.
Laurie Spitz, the director of marketing, public relations, and operations at Smileboston, highlighted a time where Lighthouse’s two-way texting helped resolve a scheduling conflict at her practice. “There was a situation where our doctor was rushed into an emergency appointment, and we were running late. We were able to directly contact the patient to ask her to arrive 20 minutes later. With Lighthouse, they can text back with any questions or issues. This is great, so they don’t have to wait in the lobby longer than they need to,” she says.
Mass Text & Email Reminders and Confirmation
You can use the Lighthouse 360 platform to send mass texts and emails. For example, you can use the communication module to see all patients who have not confirmed upcoming appointments, and send bulk email reminders. Lighthouse is integrated with many practice management systems like Dentrix, so both systems have a consolidated patient list.
Laurie Spitz informed us that sending bulk messages is also great for emergency situations. During snow days in Boston, she could instantly contact everyone with an appointment scheduled that day, and notify them of any scheduling changes. This would have taken her hours before using Lighthouse 360.
Lighthouse 360 is a month-to-month subscription, which gives you the flexibility to cancel at any time. This contrasts with annual or multi-year contracts that some vendors, like Solutionreach, offer.
Lighthouse 360 does not offer a dedicated account manager, but Laurie Spitz told SoftwarePundit that their customer service was exceptional. “Everyone I spoke to was very knowledgeable, and resolved any issues quickly,” she says.
Other Lighthouse 360 Features
During our research, dental professionals mentioned other Lighthouse 360 features that benefited their practice.
- Customizable messages: Add your personal touch to texts and emails when communicating with your patients.
- Appointment recall reminder: You can set a time threshold to automatically send reminders to patients who are due for an appointment. Lighthouse saves communication history, so you can place them on the in-active list if patients don’t respond.
- Patient FastTrack functionality: Automatically send patients a text with intake forms. Allows patients to complete all forms on their smart devices, which reduces check-in time and staff workload.
- Review Management: Lighthouse 360 automatically solicits reviews from your patients, and posts them to major websites.
Is Lighthouse 360 Worth the Cost?
Lighthouse 360 is a profitable investment for most practices. Although it is difficult to quantify how many no-shows Lighthouse actually prevents, the revenue gained from preventing no-shows can easily recoup the cost of the subscription for most practices.
Laurie Spitz told SoftwarePundit that purchasing Lighthouse 360 was a great decision for her practice. She estimates that Lighthouse prevents 5-10 no-shows per month. At $150 each, this benefit far outweighs the $329 monthly subscription cost.
To get a free demo of Lighthouse 360, click here.