For providers, patient no-shows are a constant and costly source of frustration. According to a Wallace & Hughes study, about 3.6 million people in the U.S. miss or delay medical care each year. Your average practice will have a 5%-7% no-show rate according to MGMA. Time is money for physicians and a missed appointment is a lost revenue opportunity.
The reasons for no-shows are varied. New patients tend to be the biggest no-show offenders. But, established patients that simply forget about an appointment or don’t call to cancel can also be the culprits. You may also have a demographic that will struggle with transportation to your offices – perhaps low income patients that don’t have access to cars, or elderly patients no longer capable of driving. Regardless of why the patient doesn’t show up, your practice is taking the hit.
So, how do you help patients commit to and keep their appointments!
Appointment reminder automation is easy with the right technology. You can deliver phone, email and text message appointment reminders for patients to make sure each and every one of them is reminded of their scheduled visit. Automated messages use patient-specific elements and two-way interaction (confirm/cancel appointment) to maximize response rates from your patients. In fact, surveys indicate that patients actually prefer an automated appointment reminder to a live call from your staff.
By using automated reminders you will:
- Decrease reminder expenses — Automated appointment confirmations are delivered faster and for a fraction of the cost.
- Have advanced notice of cancellations — Giving patients the option to cancel through an automated message prevents a potential hole in the schedule and allows you to fill that opening with another patient who needs to be seen.
- Reduce no-shows — Appointment reminder notifications have been proven to lower no-show rates by up to 25% making sure you retain your planned appointment revenue!
For patients that might struggle with transportation, rideshare programs likes Uber might provide the answer. According to HealthcareDIVE, HackensackUMC recently partnered with Uber to try and cut down on it no-shows and late arrivals as well as give patients a better overall experience. When patients were asked why they cancelled appointments, transportation was often the reason why. The campus sits on 3-million square-feet and it can be confusing for patients to understand where they need to go for their appointment. Through the Uber app, patients can now arrange a ride and select the specific building they need to arrive at for their appointment – cutting down on time and frustration.
A pilot program at MedStar Health, is also using Uber to ferry its neediest patients, who do not have reliable transportation and are reliant on mass transportation, to and from its various campuses. Medstar pays for the patients taking rides in the pilot program and have found it is significantly cheaper than the taxi services it was previously using.
Both programs are in their infancy stages and the results still need to be proved out. However, it is another demonstration of how technology can improve patient care and drive revenue for your business.