What’s worse than having a stubborn patient? For a practice, it’s having no patient at all.
No-shows and cancellations are the bane of medical practices. They leave you unable to meet your daily target, cause undue stress and chaos, kill minutes of your time and consequently, the profit you could have earned making those minutes useful. Research shows that practices typically lose an average of 1 to 2 patients a day due to no-shows and cancellations. This can add up to almost $100,000 in annual profits lost! Even if a single no-show a day seems negligible, it definitely won’t be that way in the long run and on your bottom line.
Thankfully there are a number of simple ways you can effectively decrease no-shows and cancellations in your practice, and get paid even when they happen:
1. Always set appointment reminders. Make it a requirement to set appointment reminders with patients the moment they set an appointment with you. Ask your patients whether they would prefer email, text message or phone reminders, and also at what times they would prefer to receive the reminder. In most cases, it’s most effective to set these reminders after hours, when patients are less preoccupied with daily tasks.
2. Charge a fee for no-shows and cancellations made less than 24 hours in advance (except for emergencies), which you can collect on their next appointment. Make sure to inform and repeatedly remind your patients about this fee, and that they should inform you of cancellations at least 2 days in advance.
3. Have a waiting list. In case you have a no-show or cancellation, you can easily fill that spot back by contacting patients on a short-notice appointment waiting list.
4. Keep track of your patients’ reasons for missing appointments. They could be things you can control. For instance, some patients may only be available on a specific day of the week, prefer a certain physician or are covered by a different insurance carrier. If patients miss appointments due to unforeseen scheduling problems, or if they prefer instant appointments with no waiting times, you could put them on your waiting list and contact them immediately when a schedule opens up.
5. Allow prepayment. When patients prepay, they have an incentive not to miss their next appointment. You could even put a discount on prepayments.
6. Always thank patients who inform you of cancellations or reschedule way ahead of time. Your show of gratitude can go a long way to fostering this practice.
7. Schedule appointments properly. Schedule as accurately as you can so patients don’t have to wait too long. Long waiting times can lead patients to think you don’t care about their time, and cause them to cancel their next appointment. Also, schedule appointments as close to the initial patient call as possible. The longer the time lapse between the appointment setting and the actual appointment, the more likely it will be forgotten.
8. Have a reliable electronic medical record system. This can help you keep better track of clients, appointments, bills, reminders and cancellations.
If you’re looking for a reliable electronic healthcare system, turn to Park Medical Billing. We work closely with our clients to provide customized and highly efficient EMR solutions that help practices perform at their best in order to achieve the best results. With our help, your practice need never be bogged down by appointment or billing problems again.
Get to know more about our services. Please get in touch with us by calling 1-201-585-7306 today.