What You Should NOT DO to Reduce Patient No-Show Rates

What You Should NOT DO to Reduce Patient No-Show Rates

Patient no-shows are the physician’s equivalent to getting stood up on a date.  Of course, instead of a no-show date simply wasting your time, a no-show patient ends up costing your practice money, and in most cases, big money.  It’s estimated that individual physicians lose as much as $150,000 each year from patient no-shows.

With such a massive financial toll, it’s essential to do all that you can to reduce no-shows. However, that doesn’t mean that anything goes, as there are certain things that you don’t want to do just to decrease your no-show rates.

Here are some things you should never consider, as you can actually wind up wasting more time, and worse, damaging your patient relationships and your reputation:

  • Don’t disregard patient convenience. Ask when they want to come in.
  • Don’t take transportation for granted. Partner with a reputable company like MedBridge Transport, and offer patient transportation support for those in need.
  • Don’t allow long appointment delays between scheduling. Scheduling should be fresh in their minds.
  • Don’t rely only on reminder phone calls. Consider texts and email, too.
  • Don’t overbook appointments. Long wait times lead to patients delaying their arrival time in anticipation or leaving altogether once they arrive.
  • Don’t have a flimsy no-show policy. Eliminate wriggle room for chronic no-showers, and post your policy in plain sight.
  • Don’t go crazy with no-show fees. Allow a few warnings before incurring fees.
  • Don’t fail to show appreciation towards the patients who do show.

Decreasing patient no-shows can be a tricky task, but avoiding these common deterrents will actually serve your practice and your patients better in the long-run.

Breaking Misconceptions About Patient No-Shows

Breaking Misconceptions About Patient No-Shows

Patient no-shows are, unfortunately, inevitable, though they’re not your biggest scheduling problem.  Of course, even one no-show is too many, but the reasons are varied and often overlooked entirely.

Your average healthcare system has a patient no-show rate of around 5-10%.  With small clinics, that rate jumps to 20-30%.  Then, you also have to account for variances relating to everything from practice specialty, to appointment type, to geography, the time of year, and on, and on.  There are simply far too many factors to consider, so you have to focus on those that you have the ability to control.

One thing we can to do better understand patient no-show rates is break down two of the most common misconceptions:

  • Patients need more appointment reminders – Health care providers will never be able to eradicate no-shows. They will always happen, and while automated, actionable reminders are certainly helpful, the fact is that too many reminders can actually turn patients off.  Aside from the added work for your staff, patients receiving constant reminders will eventually unsubscribe, and then reminders are useless. Don’t get us wrong - reminders are important but try to remember that less is more in this care.
  • No-shows are a greater problem than cancellations – For most practices, this isn’t even remotely true. No-show rates average around 5-10%. Cancellations, however, are a much greater issue, as they tend to average around 20%, not to mention the effect high cancellation rates can have on your reputation.

Once you start breaking down the bigger issues relating to no-show rates, you’ll start to understand ways to better communicate with your patients and meet their needs (as well as your own). With a bit of patience, you can employ real strategies to help your patients not only make their appointments but want to make their appointments.

At MedBridge Transport, we are proud to be a part of those practical strategies that truly do help you reduce no-shows and cancellations. Contact us to learn more.

Patient No-Show Statistics Every Practice Administrator Should Know

Patient No-Show Statistics Every Practice Administrator Should Know

Medical appointment no-shows are such a widespread issue that countless data analysts have gathered and studied their prevalence and impact over the years. Across all of those studies and reports, one fact remains certain: failure to report for medical appointments results in diminished patient care, as well as lost profits in healthcare organizations. What’s more is that rising costs and ever-growing demands placed on healthcare providers have made it critical to use time and other resources as wisely as possible. There is just no room for chronic cancellations and no-shows in a modern healthcare environment.

Here are some stats that every hospital and practice administrator should know, according to a retrospective cohort study published in 2016:

  • Across 10 clinics studied, the mean no-show rate was 18.8%.
  • Overall, no-shows were worst in sub-specialist clinics. Gastrointestinal services were identified as having the highest incidence of no-shows, while Audiology proved to have the lowest.
  • No-show rates remained high despite the implementation of a centralized phone reminder system. Phone reminders reduced the incidence from 16.3 % down to 15.8 %.

Experts analyzed the total cost of no-show appointments for the fiscal year of the study, and they concluded that the total loss across all 10 clinics added up to $14.58 million. The average cost for each patient no-show across all specialties was $196 per appointment. Clearly, this is not a problem that the healthcare industry can continue to ignore.

At Medbridge Transport, we’ve recognized this need, and we have made it our mission to support healthcare practices in restoring profitability and efficiency by ensuring that patients arrive to their appointments on time. Ask how a partnership with MedBridge Transport can improve your practice workflows and the quality of your healthcare delivery.

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4714455/

What You Should Include in Your Medical Practice Cancellation / No-Show Policy

What You Should Include in Your Medical Practice Cancellation / No-Show Policy

As anyone who operates an appointment-based business will tell you, having a well-planned cancellation/no-show policy in place is an absolute must. The challenge, though, is determining what exactly should be included, how subjective or flexible the policy should be, and who has the ultimate responsibility or deciding when exceptions will be allowed.

When you sit down to plan out your appointment policy, it should (at minimum) address the following key concerns:

  • What is the permitted time frame for cancellation? Many practices are successful with a 24-hour policy, but some require even more advanced notice.
  • How late does someone need to be before they are marked as a “no-show”?
  • How should patients communicate their cancellation? Is it acceptable to call, text, email?
  • Will there be any sort of penalty in place for patients who repeatedly fail to show for appointments?
  • What are the circumstances or reasons that might warrant your team making an exception to the policy?
  • How will this policy be shared with new and returning patients?

It’s a fact that different medical practices have different needs when it comes to planning a cancellation/no-show policy, so be sure to consider all of the factors that affect your business, team, and workflow. It would also be a great idea to look at the causes of chronic appointment cancellation to see how you might minimize their impact on your daily routines.

If you find that lack of adequate transportation is a common contributor to your company’s issue with last minute cancellations and no-shows, be sure to give us a call here at MedBridge Transport. We would love to be a partner to your business, helping you improve profitability and the quality of your overall patient care.

Tips for Improving Your Outpatient Admission and Discharge Process

The rising cost of healthcare operations has made it imperative for providers to manage the flow of patients into and out of the care setting. Late admissions and delayed discharges can represent a significant overhead cost and burden to your staff, resulting in an overall lag in procedure efficiency and a decline in the quality of care you provide.

Keep these tips in mind as you work to improve your admission and discharge processes:

  • Implement a strong pre-admissions protocol, including pre-procedure counseling, appointment reminders, inter-specialty communications, transportation support, and more.
  • Have a standard procedure in place for patient discharge. Be sure to keep the patient informed of their planned discharge time and deliver discharge instructions beforehand.
  • Partner with a non-emergency medical transportation service to ensure that your patients arrive to your outpatient facility on time and are able to be transported home as soon as they are ready to leave.

At MedBridge Transport, we understand how important it is to keep your operations running smoothly, from open until close, every single day. We have made it our mission to support healthcare providers in that effort, as well as being a safe and reliable resource for patients who require transportation assistance.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you improve your admission and discharge process.