Tips to Reduce No-Shows / Reducing Missed Appointments

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So, you are seeing too many no-shows or patients missing their scheduled appointments in your practice.  Here are some things to consider...

  1. 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!)

  2. 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.

  3. 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.  

  4. 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."

  5. 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 on a cancellation."

    Make sure the no-show policy is on your new patient intake forms.

  6. 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.


  7. 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 your Out" policy -- if you miss more than 3 appointments in 12 months you will be discharged from the practice.
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