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Addressing Patient No-shows, Part III: 6 Strategies That Actually Work

In part one of our series we broke down the most common reasons patients miss their appointments, and in part two we examined several commonly-utilized approaches that actually turn out to be poor drivers of reduced no-show rates.  Today, we’ll cover several strategies that have proven to be highly effective in reducing missed appointments.

  1. Use multi-channel, automated appointment reminders

We previously discussed why robocalls by themselves don’t work.  Rather, your approach to reminding patients of an upcoming appointment should utilize email, SMS text messages, and voice calls.  Calls and texts should ideally originate from the practice’s main phone number, rather than a randomly selected phone number.

  1. Enable bi-directional communication

Patients should be able to easily respond to your appointment reminders to confirm, cancel, or even reschedule their appointments.  Responding “cancel” to an SMS text message is exponentially more convenient than navigating a practice’s phone tree.

  1. Send repeat reminders

Reminders that don’t receive a response should be sent again in order to increase the chances of the patient responding, and ultimately attending their appointment.  Successfully reminding a patient of an upcoming appointment also allows the patient lead time for addressing potential time conflicts or transportation challenges.

  1. Reduce wait time between scheduling and date of appointment

Practices are busy, but one strategy that can help drive down appointment wait times is to establish a wait list, so that when cancellations do occur, patients on the wait list can be moved up.

  1. Educate patients about the costs of missed appointments

This education should touch on both the impact to the practice’s operation and to the patients quality of life.

  1. Incentivize good behavior

Rather than charging a no-show fee, consider instead entering all patients who confirm their appointments into a monthly drawing for a prize.

Putting together a cohesive set of processes to reduce patient no-shows can be challenging and time intensive, especially for busy practices.  But, doing so is critical to both optimizing revenue and increasing the quality of patient outcomes.

Contact H3 today for help combating no-shows at your practice!

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