Canceled appointments and appointment no-shows mean your practice is losing money and wasting resources. You have to try to fill the gap, reschedule patients at a later date and hope the patient does not cancel again. Fortunately, you can use these six tips to encourage patients to keep their appointments and reduce patients missing appointments.
1. Create a Cancellation Policy.
Your practice needs to have a cancellation policy. For example, cancelations within two hours of an appointment that has already been rescheduled once will incur an automatic $25 fee. This will deter repeat cancellations.
2. Educate Patients on Negative Consequences of Forgoing Care.
This tip is difficult and varies greatly for each patient. Explain how putting off treatment or an office visit could affect his or her health. Often, patients will keep their appointments when they realize how not being seen can cause health problems.
3. Make the Trip to the Doctor’s Office a Family Outing.
As explaining in our guide, “5 Effective Methods to Reduce Scheduling Gaps,” having two family members come in together is great for scheduling gaps, but it is also more likely to encourage patients to keep their appointments. This reduces the time away from work or school and allows family members to hold each other accountable.
4. Make Sure Patients Understand Insurance Provisions.
Some insurance policies may penalize patients for canceled appointments. For these patients, explain that canceled appointments could lead to problems when processing future insurance claims.
5. Book Appointments Quickly.
Patients who wait on hold for excessive times are more likely to get a bad impression of your practice. If your staff is incapable of handling all appointment calls in less than two minutes, you need to offer an alternative, such as online patient registration and electronic patient forms. This will practically eliminate waiting on hold.
6. Remind Patients by Automated Email, Text and Calls.
This form of reminding seems redundant, but each type of reminder can be fully automated, freeing up time for your office staff and ensuring patients know when to come to the office. The message can also include a mention of verifying patient intake form data online to make patient registration easier.
Some patients will cancel appointments due to emergencies, family issues or work problems, but that does not mean you cannot try to prevent cancelations. Start using these tips today, and download “5 Effective Methods to Reduce Scheduling Gaps” to see how to keep your schedule full and your practice thriving. If your practice is ready to start using online patient forms, schedule a demo with Practice Sense now.