As a medical practice, there are few things more frustrating than "no-shows". When patients make an appointment, they are expected to show up and show up on time, just like they expect the same out of you. As much as you would like for patients to call and cancel in a timely manner, there are cases and situations where patients are either unable to call ahead, or they merely forget. No-shows are more than just frustrating, however. They can also be costly for the medical practice. In fact, it has been estimated that missed appointments could cost a single physician upwards of $100,000 a year in lost revenues and additional labor costs. So, how can your practice reduce "no-shows"? Whether you are a tech savvy office or prefer more traditional methods of communication, below are a few ideas that may help. Strategies for Reducing “No-Shows”:
- Charge a "no-show" fee.
- Implement and have patients read and sign a “no-show” policy.
- At each appointment, write down the date and time of their next appointment on a card to send home with the patient.
- Call patients to confirm appointments the day before (you can also have an automated system make these phone calls, although it tends to be more effective when the calls are made by a staff member).
- Set up an automated appointment system such as text messages or emails which are sent out multiple times leading up to the appointment.
- Mail patients a postcard reminder a few weeks ahead of time.
- Set up a rewards system to reward patients who show up to their appointment on time. Ideas include a discount on their bill or entering their name into a raffle.
- Update or confirm contact information when a patient makes an appointment to ensure you have the correct way to contact them. Email, mail, and phone calls are pointless if you don’t have the correct address or phone number.