Surgical Patient No-Shows: Understanding It's Impact.

Surgical Patient No-Shows: Understanding It's Impact.

It's Tuesday morning and you are expecting 36 patients. To accommodate them, you schedule staff, prepped your facilities and reviewed files - only to realize that only 20 patients showed up!  Not only did you lose revenue, but you incurred additional costs and lost time.


Well, you are not alone. This happens to medical facilities throughout the country, as medical practices experience 19% surgical patient no-shows on average.  Whether you are a healthcare provider, practice manager or family caregiver, one fact remains true for everyone involved in a medical care scenario; we all want what is best for the patient. Hence when a patient misses an appointment, we tend to look more at the potential impact to the patient’s health. It’s so easy to overlook the impact it has to the practice, but as a healthcare professional, you’d be remiss to ignore these consequences. After all, whether or not you can continue providing this critical service depends on your ability to sustain and grow a profitable medical practice.


As noted above, on average 19% of patients miss appointments, but let’s do the math with some smaller numbers.  If you run an ambulatory surgical center Monday to Friday and expect 10 – 12 patients a day and assuming  just $100 in payroll, equipment, rent and utilities for each scheduled patient, one no-show a day will cost you $26,000 a year in idle resources!  In reality you will likely get 2 – 4 no-shows. And it gets worse…

We just mentioned the cost of idle resources, but what about the lost revenue? When a patient referred to you never makes it to his or her appointment, you lose the potential billing associated with that case. Assuming the average bill for a procedure is $1,500 and you lose one customer a week (you will likely lose more), that’s $75,000 in lost revenue!

You may have your own methods of calculating the cost of no-shows. No matter how you run the numbers, when you add up the extra money you could make by cutting your no-show rate by 50% to 70%, you will find it’s worth it to do something.

Keep in mind that you won’t likely cut your no-shows without some investment in: