It’s no secret patient no-shows can be costly to medical practices. A recent study revealed that a well-run practice has an average of 12% no-shows and last-minute cancellations daily. In fact, some practices experience a whopping 50 % rate.
When patients cancel their appointments at the last minute or don’t show up at all, it results in chaos and stress in your practice. Most often, it might frustrate physicians. Although no-show rate seems like an inevitable statistic, it can actually be reduced by making some procedural changes or taking significant steps. The good news is that there are a number of ways to reduce your no-show rate and improve the efficiency of your practice.
Here is what a practice can do to keep patient no-show rate minimal.
Increase Patient Engagement
Patient portal allows patients to access their health information anytime. With the patient portal, patients can make an appointment, refill a prescription, get a referral, and request a service. Also, the online portal allows patients to easily submit data that the practice requests and get the information about their health. By entering information directly into the portal, both patients as well as a practice can save time. Online portal allows patients to review medical information including diagnostic reports, medication list, and health records. Patients can report hospital admissions, emergency room visits, and easily select an option when they have access to the portal.
Appointment reminders work well in reducing no-shows. With the online portal, you can send automated text and email appointment reminders, providing a convenient way for patients to keep track of their upcoming visits.
Access Health Information Anytime
Setting up automated reminder notices can help cut down no-shows. Practices can adopt systems that automatically send reminders to patients via email, text or phone at any interval to remind them that an appointment is on the horizon. Sending automatic reminders will put more responsibility on the patient’s shoulders and ensure patients will not miss the schedule. Also, this eliminates the need for staff to keep on calling patients; rather they can focus on their core job.
Appointment Reminder Calls
Making appointment reminder calls can cut your no-show rate from an average of 23% to over 13%. However, this might take up a lot of staff productive time, which is why most practices turn to professional medical answering service. Using this service, professional operators can make appointment reminder calls to patients on your behalf, so that your staff can focus on productive tasks.
Keep an Eye on No-show Stats
Most practices have no idea what their no-show rate is and how much those no-shows will cost their practice. Apparently, it is deemed that just 4 no-shows a day could cost a practice around $150,000 a year in revenue. So, it is better to track your no-show rate for 3 to 6 months to determine which patients, physicians, weekdays and times have the most no-shows. Analyze this data and spot some trends so that you can take appropriate steps to reduce no-shows.
Simply forgetting, not convenient with the time, not connected with the practice, and other personal conflicts are some of the reasons for patients turning off their appointments. Analyzing the trends and scheduling appointments favorable to patients can slash no-show rate.
Overbooking & Longer Wait Times
Although patients expect some wait-time, anything greater than 20-25 minutes can set people off. When clinics overbook, wait times can exceed up to 2 hours. If patients regularly experience longer waiting times, they may show up later to their scheduled appointment or may not show up completely. So, leveraging tools to better manage your appointment schedule and nurturing patient relationships can help cut no-show rate.
Outline a No-show Policy
Even though you implement certain strategies, your no-show rate will never be zero. Have a well written no-show policy and educate your patients. Some practices even charge a no-show fee, which could get eliminated if the patient shows up for the next appointment. Other options include giving a small discount for patients for no-shows in a year. Also, providing patients with an easy and quick way to cancel appointments, whether by phone, email or other ways can help reduce no-show rate.
Consider Schedule Management Software
Schedule management and patient booking tools will not only allow clinical staff and patients to book appointments easily and quickly, but they can also cancel the appointments as and when needed. These tools help automate schedule, and bookings by taking a number of factors into consideration such as available workload, patient capacity per hour and physician availability. Cloud-based solutions work best as you need not install and updates can be made automatically. It is better to go for customizable solutions as they are in the same price range as standard solutions.
Find How Advanced Access can Help your Clinic
Advanced access or open access can help patients book an appointment within a short timeframe rather than a month later. This reduces no-show rate as patients will not forget scheduled appointments as they are provided at their convenient time.
Patient no-show is a problem that every medical practice experience. Taking proactive measures and a systematic approach can help diminish no-shows and increase revenue. Online patient booking software solution can help reduce no-shows and benefits administrative staff, patients and physicians.