Reduce No-Shows with NEMT Ride Reminders

By November 18, 2019

Missed appointments are real problems for many low income and elderly patients who rely on non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) to get to medical appointments and related services.

According to a report published in the Transportation Research Record Journal of the Transportation Research Board, about 3.6 million people miss appointments because they don’t have access to transportation, even though some $3 billion of Medicaid funding covers transportation services such as NEMT.

Another report published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health indicates that 24-51% of those from low-income populations say they’ve had to reschedule outpatient medical appointments because they did not have reliable transportation.

And sometimes those who rely on NEMT or paratransit services say they are frustrated by long wait times, no shows, and they sometimes struggle to use systems or services to schedule trips in advance.

Missed appointments have long-reaching effects. 

As many as 92% of adults who miss medical appointments because of transportation issues generally suffer from more than one medical condition. When patients don’t show up for appointments, it can have negative impacts on their comprehensive care plans, leading to possible decreased continuous care over time and potentially contributing to poorer health conditions.

Research from the Journal of Primary Care & Community Health indicates many patients miss appointments because they simply forget or in some cases, they just don’t feel well enough to travel. One report indicates that patients who are most likely to miss their appointments are lower income minorities who are on Medicaid or had no insurance.

Missed Rides and the Cost to Providers

The impact of missed appointments, or ride no-shows, also have negative effects on NEMT and paratransit providers. Missed rides cost providers both time and money, and frustrate both riders and providers, ultimately negatively affecting customer experience and customer service.

Most NEMT providers charge a flat rate fee for services, depending on transportation type. For example, a rider that requires transportation while using a stretcher is likely to be charged a different fee than someone in a wheelchair. Other fees can include per-mile charges and wait-time fees that can be applied when a rider requires roundtrip transportation. 

For each missed appointment, the provider misses the opportunity to collect related service fees, even though vehicles are still on the road, drivers are still on the clock, and other related staff members are working.

Finding solutions to decrease missed rides and appointments is a win-win for both customers and NEMT providers.

Tech to Time Reminders

A report from SolutionReach reveals that technologies can have a significant impact on reducing missed appointments. SolutionReach’s report shows that ride reminders play an important role and that riders prefer getting mobile messages like text messages and email reminders, as well as reminder phone calls. 

Ride reminder services, like the integrated voice response system CTS Software created to complement the TripMaster platform, can help your business in several ways including:

  • Improved customer experience and satisfaction
  • Decreased no-shows and missed rides
  • Decreased time your drivers have to wait on passengers
  • Eliminates the need for staff members to use up their time doing manual calls
  • Never forgets a reminder

Automated reminders can be sent to passengers the day before their trip and they can also be sent the same day with customizable notifications. 

Right now, TripMaster offers both text messages and automated voice call reminders with interactive voice response. Best of all, the platform uses internet-based dialing services for call reminders, meaning your business phone lines are never tied up with reminder calls—and neither is your staff.

With the integrated voice response system, providers use customized settings, for example, including your company name and callback number. There is also real-time data insight including the ability to see:

  • Time when a call goes out
  • How many attempts were made to place a call
  • Statistics about if the call was answered, if a message was left, or if there were no answer

Another thing that sets TripMaster apart is the ride reminders aren’t just for the initial scheduled trip. Many NEMT and paratransit customers often make multiple appointments and arrange several stops on the same day. These ancillary trips can include going to the pharmacy to get a prescription filled, then stopping by the grocery before going home. TripMaster’s ride reminder service alerts riders to all of the scheduled trips they have arranged, including pick-up times for all parts of their journey.

TripMaster also has a Rider Portal, which is an online tool that allows riders to quickly and easily schedule trip requests and manage their services. They can do so right from a computer or a smartphone. 

TripMaster also offers a unique scheduling feature for facilities such as hospitals, group homes, assisted living facilities, and others. At these facilities, providers can select and enroll “Rider Delegates,” people who can log into the rider portal and make ride requests on behalf of those who are in each facility.

The Rider Portal helps cut down on staff time that would otherwise have been dedicated to scheduling tasks. It also helps to improve customer satisfaction because riders can instantly schedule and adjust their trip requests as needed. They can use the portal to select a day and time for their trip, indicate where they need to be picked up, and where they need to go. At any point they can use the portal to check reservation status updates and assess other helpful services.

Are you interested in learning more about how TripMaster’s Ride Reminders can help you decrease missed rides and improve customer service? Schedule a demo today!