10 Ways to Stop Missed Appointments
In general, people will miss their scheduled appointments by up to 80% in their lifetime. That’s a huge chunk of your bottom line being lost and depleted when those appointments aren’t rescheduled. In addition, there is a cost for the time to process the rescheduling. Many strategies and tools can be used to address the issue of missed appointments, but appointment reminders are by far the best ones.
1. Appointment Reminders
Appointment reminders have proven time and time again to decrease no-shows by as much as 80%. This means an immediate and dramatic impact directly on your bottom line. Text message appointment reminders have proven to work better than any other form of appointment reminders because of significant mobile use. Email reminders are another very convenient platform for communication and reminders. No matter which you prefer, we offer any and all types. You can start a free trial here.
2. Automation Features
Appointment reminders can give both you and your staff important time to do more essential tasks. The automation features and integration with your calendar and your existing programs create a very user-friendly dashboard for anyone to use. These automated reminders can send out information for appointments or conferences, surveys, collect feedback, and much more. These features set the foundation for very effective communication on both ends.
3. Make Enrollment Easy
Be sure to ask your patients to enroll in your appointment reminders and make the enrollment process as easy as possible. The more steps your customer has to take, the less likely they will complete the process. Streamlining this process will also make it easier on your staff, thus again reducing the cost of time.
4. Follow Up on a Missed Appointment
Sometimes, patients don’t mean to no-show. They simply forget an appointment, or they double book themselves. Let them know you’re sorry to have missed them and encourage1 them to contact you right away to reschedule. You can also remind them of your missed appointment policy.
5. Reward Patients and Show Appreciation to Patients Who Keep Appointments
When a patient is a no-show, you can place a small fee on their bill that remains until they schedule and keep the new appointment. For patients who keep their appointments and arrive on time, you can reward them with a small discount on their bills. You can also enter the names of your on-time arrivals into a drawing for a gift card each month.
If patients show up for their appointments and arrive on time, thank them. It’s such a small gesture, but it can have such a big impact. Honestly, this small gesture helps to build patient loyalty, and it will likely encourage your patients to continue to show up for their scheduled appointments in a timely fashion.
6. Develop Strong Patient Relationships to Improve Their Commitment to Your Practice
You have year-round opportunities to cement the relationship you have with your patients. Sending birthday and holiday wishes is one method but offering ongoing information through your website or patient portal is another. You can also use a patient newsletter to keep patients current on events in your office as well as offer healthcare tips they can use immediately. When patients feel valued, when they feel that you take an interest in them individually, they are considerably less likely to become a no-show.
7. Implement a No-Show/Cancellation Policy
Life happens, we all understand that. However, to protect your clinic/practice from repeated patient no-shows, creating a no-show/cancellation policy is a good idea. An example of a cancellation policy would be to charge patients a $20 fee if they do not cancel within 24 hours of their scheduled appointment. And if you choose to implement a no-show/cancellation policy, it is important that you inform your patients about it. One way to do that is by including the no-show/cancellation policy in new patient paperwork, adding it to appointment cards, including signs around your office, and having your front desk staff verbally tell patients.
8. Have a Waitlist Ready to Go
It would be smart on your part to create a waitlist of patients who don’t have a problem coming in for an appointment on short notice. Keep that list at the front desk so that if a patient cancels last minute or simply doesn’t show up, you can quickly call a patient on your waitlist to take their place.
9. Offer Options When There Are Scheduling Conflicts
Scheduling conflicts are another reason patients may be unable to keep their appointment. If you want to reduce no-show appointments, it’s important to offer options for your patients outside of traditional working hours. Patients with limited time off–or patients with multiple jobs–may have no choice but to skip their appointment to keep their work obligations.
A simple courtesy appointment reminder text message allows patients to confirm if the date and time still works. But if you want to reduce no-show appointments, you should also consider offering an option to reschedule in case something unexpected comes up. Proactively reaching out before the appointment is missed gives patients the ability to find a better day or time that does work with their schedule, which will minimize the likelihood that they’ll end up as a no-show.
10 .Ease the Worry and Uncertainty of your Patient by Informing Them
Finally, some patients just get cold feet when it comes to going to the doctor. From fear about an upcoming procedure to embarrassment from clinical advice that contradicts their lifestyle habits, some patients may opt to stay home and avoid the experience altogether.
One way to reduce no-show appointments is to proactively address any concerns patients may have. Sending educational information via text at various intervals in between appointments is one way to build confidence in your patients and strengthen the patient-provider relationship. And when an uncomfortable screening comes up, you can send specific information or instructions that prepare them ahead of time for what’s to come. If you have patients whose native language is not English, offering additional resources in their primary language can go a long way in relieving fear. Addressing your patients’ fears before their scheduled appointment may allow you to reduce your no-show appointments.
A lot of appointments are made far in advance. A friendly reminder can encourage your patients to show up even when they don’t remember making the appointment because it was done months ago. Our appointment reminder service allows you to send out reminders as far in advance as you wish. As well, we give you the ability to easily send multiple reminders for an appointment and roll failed patient text reminders to automated call reminders at no extra charge.
Decrease your no-shows by as much as 80% and increase your bottom line! Start with our free 30-day trial.