So, you are seeing too many no-shows or patients missing their scheduled appointments in your practice. Here are some things to consider...
Root Cause Analysis: Try to ask patients why they are missing appointments. This is very important -- find out the top 1 or 2 root cause(s) of why patients are missing their appointments -- see if you can change something to address the key reasons you uncover.
- If your staff is manually making calls, then consider starting to use an automated reminder system. Automated systems can send phone calls, text messages or emails that will help remind 100% of your patients (keep in mind that if your staff is doing the reminder calls manually, a single missed reminder call can result in a no-show!)
- If you do have an automated system just sending phone calls, consider mixing it up a bit by sending a text message reminder instead of the phone call.
- If you’re only sending a single reminder one day ahead, try sending a second reminder two days ahead. Send a phone call two days ahead and a text reminder one day ahead. This gives your patients two chances to let you know if they need to cancel or reschedule.
- Consider adding a "missed appointment" notice for the day after the patient misses their appointment with language like this:
"Our records show you missed your appointment on <day> <date>. Your healthcare is important to us. Please press 2 to talk to our staff to reschedule now or call us back at ___________. Thank you."
- You might want to consider adding some no-show fee language to your messages like this:
"Please be aware that we have a $__ fee if you miss your appointment or don't give us at least 24 hours notice on a cancellation."
Make sure the no-show policy is on your new patient intake forms.
- THREE-STRIKES POLICY: You might also want to post that no-show policy at your front desk in bold letters in English and Spanish.You could further strengthen the policy with a "3-Strikes and You Are Out" policy -- if you miss more than 3 appointments in 12 months you will be discharged from the practice.