When a patient misses an appointment—and doesn’t cancel in advance—the doctor’s office takes a financial hit. Over time, daily no-shows add up, and they can make a significant dent in a practice’s finances.
A recent slideshow from Physicians Practice, a practice management news website, outlines steps physicians can take to minimize the financial impact of missed appointments. Here are some highlights:
- Let go of charging missed appointment fees, the article contends, noting that this trend is on its way out. The costs of collecting the nominal fees usually outweigh the revenue they bring in.
- Consider automating your appointment confirmation process, and make sure to confirm appointments at least two days in advance so you’ll have adequate time to fill canceled slots.
- Determine what percentage of your scheduled patient visits are typically no-shows, and overbook your practice by that percentage. For example, if 10% of your appointments are no-shows or same-day cancellations, overbook by about 10%.
- Consider adopting a policy of discharging patients who are frequent no-shows. For instance, notify patients that if they miss three appointments within two years (without providing adequate notice), they may be discharged from the practice.
- Offer patients the option to receive appointment reminders by text, phone call or email. A reminder sent via an individual patient’s preferred communication method is more likely to be successful.