Nobody likes a no-show, and healthcare practices are no exception. Missed appointments can be a real headache, creating obstacles that can prevent practices and providers from offering an exceptional care experience for each patient.
On top of that, studies show that even one patient no-show can increase attrition by more than 70 percent—which is obviously less than ideal for a growing practice. That’s why reducing no-show appointments has emerged as a key area of focus for practices looking to improve their operational efficiency and maximize providers’ schedules.
Wondering what your practice can do to reduce the number of no-show appointments it experiences? Keep reading to find out!
1. Offer Online Appointment Scheduling
How efficient is your practice’s scheduling process? If you’re dealing with poor show rates, the key to reducing no-show appointments might be to look at your current appointment policies and scheduling process to identify opportunities for improvement.
At least 68 percent of patients choose their provider based on the ability to book, change, and cancel appointments online, and that number is only increasing with time. Modern healthcare consumers value convenience and autonomy. They want the flexibility to book their own appointments online, and then change or cancel those appointments at their own convenience—on their own time, via their own device.
By offering online appointment scheduling, your practice can reduce patient no-shows while also simplifying workflows associated with the scheduling process. Patients can simply use the online scheduling system to see providers’ schedules and choose an appointment time based on availability. Then, you can automate the delivery of a notification about their upcoming appointment for confirmation.
2. Automate Appointment Reminders
Automated appointment reminders have become standard practice in healthcare today, but the occasional practice still relies on manual phone calls to remind patients about an upcoming appointment. This approach is time-intensive, outdated, and often less effective than automated reminders sent via each patient’s preferred contact method.
An omnichannel engagement strategy—or one that incorporates several different patient outreach methods—is not only more modern but also more likely to help with reducing no-show appointments. For example, 70 percent of patients will choose a provider who sends a text message or email reminder as opposed to a phone call.
Taking it a step further by personalizing your messaging for each patient is a great way to increase your show rates while also tailoring your outreach for each individual. This way, your practice is meeting modern consumer expectations while also upgrading and optimizing its appointment policies.
3. Provide Alternatives to In-Person Care
Virtual care alternatives to in-office appointments can also help reduce patient no-shows. Telehealth usage has skyrocketed in recent years, hitting an all-time high amid the COVID-19 pandemic. After-the-fact data tells a powerful story about no-shows.
Of 155 scheduled in-office visits, a recent survey revealed, the no-show appointment rate was a staggering 36 percent. Even prior to the pandemic, in January and February 2020, in-office no-show rates hovered around 30 percent. In-office no-show rates are far higher when compared with the telehealth no-show rate of only 7.5 percent.
If you’re wondering why, it all comes down to patient access and affordability. Telehealth appointments—both video and phone-only—make healthcare more accessible, especially for socially vulnerable patients impacted by social determinants of health (SDOH). In addition to making care more accessible, telehealth appointments often come at a lower out-of-pocket cost to patients, making them more financially feasible.
Even for patients who are not impacted by SDOH, telehealth may be an attractive option that makes them less likely to miss an appointment—especially for millennial and Gen Z patients, who are more likely to prefer virtual care than baby boomers and Gen X patients.
Reducing No-Show Appointments with the Right Technology
Reducing no-show appointments may seem daunting, but it really isn’t with the right strategies and technologies to support your efforts. A patient engagement platform like InteliChart’s Healthy Outcomes can help address no-shows and more, offering healthcare consumers the experience they’re looking for from their providers.