Patient no-shows: A big issues for surgical centers

Patient no-shows: A big issues for surgical centers

Anyone who works in the medical industry can understand the impact and the frustration patient no-shows can cause to a medical facility.  Patient no-shows represent big issues for surgical centers nationwide, patients who fail to show up for their appointments represent a significant expense across all offices in all medical facilities. Some experience this at a much higher rate than others, but it occurs consistently; patient no-shows can impact the practice several ways:

  • Empty time slots, the revenue potential fora medical practice depends on the number of time slots available and its ability to fill them.
  • Staffing Imbalance, if you have fewer appointments than expected, it’s like more staff on hand than needed, you will to pay more and have less income for the facility.
  • Quality of Care, if your staff is waiting for your no-show to arrive, it will likely create delays in other areas of your schedule, which means longer wait time for patients that do arrive on time.

We have found the main reasons patients fail to show up for their appointments are for the following reasons:

  • Cost- an unexpected “extra” expense can cause a patient to not showing up for an appointment.
  • Nervousness- patients can be very nervous about an upcoming procedure, to avoid that situation, a caregiver would have to step up to make sure patient is at ease with any upcoming appointment or procedure.
  • Forgetfulness- this can happen when the patient is very busy or suffering from age-related cognitive decline.
  • Transportation- accounts for 67% of patient no-shows, especially for those who can’t drive or have a lack of reliable transportation.

Any medical practice can follow the following five steps to reduce patient no-shows:

  • Implement an effective reminder system. Studies show 98% percent of patients replied via text vs only 20% via email.
  • Schedule appointments at the first available time that is convenient to their schedule.
  • When patients do not show up, simply ask them why. Make note of the reason and put strategic practices in place to avoid any future no-show.
  • Offer incentives to patients who prepay for their appointments.
  • Partner with a reliable local patient transport service, it’s the most immediate action a facility administrator can take. With up to 67% of no-shows due to lack of transportation, it’s a quick way for any medical practice to get some quick wins.

Whether the patient requires long term or short-term care, having a company like Medbridge Transport as part of the care plan team is a smart choice. We specialize in door to door transport and strive to offer a high level of care to all patients.

Top Reasons Patients Fail to Show Up for Their Medical Appointments

Top Reasons Patients Fail to Show Up for Their Medical Appointments

It can be very discouraging when patients fail to follow through on their long-term medical recommendations. This is especially true in cases where critical services, like dialysis or chemotherapy, are concerned. You really don’t want your patients to miss their appointments, but sometimes, the limiting circumstances are simply out of your patient’s control. Hence, it’s worth taking a closer look at patients who don’t show and potential solutions to the problem.

Here are some of the most common reasons:

  • Cost - In some cases, the co-pay or other out-of-pocket expenses are enough to deter patients from showing up for their appointments.
  • Nervousness - Patients may be nervous about an upcoming procedure, or they may not think you care enough to worry about them when they don’t show up.
  • Forgetfulness - It’s very common for patient to forget their scheduled appointment times, especially when patients are either very busy or suffering from age-related cognitive decline.
  • Transportation - Lack of reliable transportation accounts for an estimated 67% of patient no-shows, especially for patients who aren’t able to drive themselves or are wheelchair bound.

When you take the time to better understand these common factors, the problem becomes much easier to address. The best part is that if you take a practical approach to bridging these gaps, you’ll see it in your bottom line in no time.

Wheelchair Car Transfer: Safety Tips for Loading and Unloading Ambulatory Loved Ones

Wheelchair Car Transfer: Safety Tips for Loading and Unloading Ambulatory Loved Ones

When it comes to transporting ambulatory loved ones, it’s important to learn how to correctly and safely perform  a wheelchair car transfer.  So, do you know the proper steps for a safe transfer?  Take a look:

Wheelchair Transfer to Car

Step 1:  Position person near vehicle door

Step 2:  Lock brakes

Step 3:  Remove legs from footrests

Step 4:  Move footrests away, and remove

Step 5:  Lift person out of chair

Step 6:  Take small steps back to the door

Step 7:  Lower the person into the seat

Step 8:  Pivot patient legs and back toward the front using one arm around their back and one under their knees

Step 9:  Assist with seatbelt, and ensure arms and legs are inside

Wheelchair Transfer From Car

Step 1:  Position wheelchair, and lock brakes

Step 2:  Assist with seatbelt

Step 3:  Place one arm behind their back and one under their knees, and pivot toward door

Step 4:  Lift them out of the seat with arms wrapped around their upper body

Step 5:  Take small steps to the wheelchair

Step 6:  Lower them into the wheelchair

Step 7:  Reattach the footrests

Step 8:  Position feet on the footrests

Step 9:  Disengage brakes

For those loading in and out of vehicles that aren’t close to the ground, the BodyHealt Portable Folding Riser Step Stool is an invaluable tool.  It’s foldable, portable, safe, and sturdy making it perfect for helping loved ones who have limited mobility load in and out of ground transportation vehicles.  With that said, the easiest way to transport a wheelchair user is to use wheelchair accessible vehicles.

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: