Let’s face it, patients don’t always show up when they agree to! It’s an inevitable fact that doctor appointments are going to be broken. National Institutes of Health studies reveal that a whopping 42% of medical appointments are skipped out on. When each and every appointment affects your bottom dollar, that number is too high for comfort.
Why do Patients No Show?
For the most part, younger patients, as well as patients receiving free healthcare benefits have the highest rate of not showing for appointments. This typically boils down to the following reasons:
- Logistics – Whether it’s difficulty getting childcare, or arranging time off work, logistics play a big part in missed healthcare appointments.
- Change of Heart – When patients commit to an appointment while in the office, then later change their mind about wanting to return, they often don’t call to cancel, leading to missed appointments.
- Scheduling Confusions – Some think that doctor’s offices are overbooked anyway, so just not showing up will actually help keep the practice on schedule for the day. Or they simply don’t realize that their appointment time was set aside specifically for them.
A missed appointment here or there is relatively negligible, depending on your overall numbers. But when it starts to become a weekly or daily occurrence, income and revenue suffers greatly. On a grander scale, the average hospital is likely to have more than 60 no-shows in any given day, which could mean up to $3 million lost each year.
What Can You Do About It?
It’s virtually impossible to eliminate missed appointments altogether, but you can certainly take steps to dramatically reduce the number of no-shows in your practice, while improving the reliability of your patient base. Studies show the most effective way to do this is two fold:
Increase Communication with your Patients
Yes, calling patients the day before their appointment to remind them has worked in the past but is becoming less effective! Everyone knows that. Many hours are devoted to this type of approach. Some of our clients reported their receptionist spending most of her day calling patients who were scheduled for the following day, and consequently ignoring the patients that were right in front of her face! Letting in-house service suffer for the sake of increasing tomorrows attendance is asinine, though it might seem necessary. Here at Review Wave, we like to focus on the bigger picture: your overall quality of customer service.
And remember the receptionist who spent most of her day on the phone calling the next day appointments? Want to guess how many of those answered? Less than 10%! Most patients prefer texting over receiving a phone call anyhow. While texting may seem less personal, it’s preferred by most who lead busy lives these days, because it allows them to multi-task and accomplish more. With text response rates soaring over email and phone response rates, it’s no wonder most practices are adopting a 2-Way Texting method of communicating with patients about their appointments.
Bonus: Review Wave offers 2-Way Texting with automated Appointment Reminders. AND you can text using your landline phone number for added familiarity!
Make it Easy to Schedule/Reschedule Appointments
You’d be surprised how difficult it can be for some new patients to reach a prospective new doctor. They try and call when they get off work, but the phone goes unanswered because it’s after hour. They check the website late at night after they put the kids to bed, but all they can do is send an email asking for an appointment. At best, that leads to a back and forth of trying to schedule a convenient time. Or a phone call back when the person is at work, and really isn’t available to discuss personal matters.
Simplifying and perfecting the scheduling process can get you TONS of new patients. People want to book an actual appointment (not just request one) at their convenience. And who can blame them?
With Review Wave’s Online Scheduling, patients are now able to schedule their appointments online, during work, late at night, or early in the morning.
And rescheduling for existing patients is a cinch too. Review Wave offers automated appointment reminders, to which patients can respond by text. In a matter of seconds, the patient can reschedule their appointment to a more convenient time, leading to higher attendance and better revenue for YOU.