How to decrease broken appointments and no-shows

May 17, 2013

Broken appointments and no-shows can turn a well-scheduled day into a wreck.  Scheduling is one of the most difficult management systems in the practice. When you work hard to access a well-scheduled day only to have it fall apart at the last minute, frustration results.

Broken appointments and no-shows can turn a well-scheduled day into a wreck.  Scheduling is one of the most difficult management systems in the practice. When you work hard to access a well-scheduled day only to have it fall apart at the last minute, frustration results.

Here are some proven ways to reduce the number of no-shows and broken appointments.

1. Reason to come back. At the end of every appointment, the clinical team member who is with the patient should stress the significance of the next appointment. Be sure to discuss the benefits of the next appointment and the possible risks of not showing up.

2. The verbal skills of scheduling. The appointment coordinator must stress not only the importance of that next appointment but also indicate the amount of time being blocked for them in the doctor's schedule. The appointment is the responsibility of the patient and you can help the patient accept that responsibility by the way you schedule in the first place.

3. Confirming appointments. Begin confirming appointments in the morning around 9:00 a.m. Confirm in a very positive manner, and always stress the importance of the appointment and the patient's responsibility for the appointment.

4. Recording device. Some people will call at night and leave a cancellation message. This leaves you in a terrible mess because you have no chance to reschedule. You may want to change the message on your recording device for different results.

5. Rescheduling. If a person does call to make a change of schedule, the main goal is to reschedule them while you have them on the phone.

6. No-shows. There is nothing worse than a no-show. Here are a few tried-and-true strategies for handling this type of difficult situation:

  • Call the patient if they are five minutes late.

  • Put the patient data in the tickler file if you are unable to reach them.  Don't let them slip away.

  • Continue to try and contact the patient to find out why they didn't show and encourage them to reschedule.

 

Check out these other video tips from Jameson Management Inc.

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