What We’re Reading – Simple Methods to Reduce “No Shows” in Your Medical Practice

Is the day’s visit schedule a moving target in your office?  Do last-minute cancellations and no-shows plague your practice? We all know that some flexibility will always be required, but this handy article gives some ideas to reduce non-completed appointments which can be productivity-zappers.

The author states that the most common reasons for non-completed appointments are: unavoidable emergencies, patient forgot, patient arrived late and was turned away, patient can’t afford to pay account balance, and long waiting times to see the doctor.  Sound familiar?

Here are some simple tips that could help you decrease lost appointments:

  • Call your patients the night before their appointment.  If you your patients are tech savvy, you can send texts and/or emails; if you have an EHR system, this may be an automated feature.
  • To go along with the previous tip make sure you have the patient’s most current contact information on file.
  • Have staff members remind patients at each visit that you require 24 hours notice for cancellations so they don’t incur any penalty charge, but never threaten.
  • Take latecomers on a case-by-case basis rather than turning them away.
  • Try to see patients on time but be honest if you are running behind and offer alternatives if you are.
  • For patients who have lost their coverage or who may be experiencing financial issues and unpaid balance, try to offer some payment options that can work for both of you.
  • Last thing: if you think these tips won’t work for your patients or you have tried with no success, it may be time to have a professional assess your practice operations and help you implement some recommendations.

Finally, the author suggests that you wait at least 30 to 60 days to judge the results of your changes, but that it will work a lot better if your staff mixes in flexibility and great customer service.

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