Patient no-shows are a common issue within wellness practices that easily inhibit practice growth and disrupt the continuity of patient care. Whether part of a small practice or a large organization, client no-shows are a universal occurrence. Not only do no-shows take valuable time away from your practice, but costs you time and money. On average, about 42% of appointments end up as client no-shows, which can result in a loss of 14% or more in revenue.
There are a plethora of reasons patients don’t follow through with their appointments. However, by rethinking your approach to client no-shows, you can implement an effective strategy that will save both you and your clients time and money. Below, we’ve outlined our best practices for reducing client no-show rates for better financial and business outcomes.
How to Reduce No-Show Rates in Your Practice
✔ Have clients sign a cancellation/no-show policy
No-show appointment policies are an effective way to decrease the amount of missed appointments in a day. However, these policies are usually signed on the first visit and often forgotten about. Clear communication about a cancellation or no-show policy before scheduling an appointment is vital to prevent lost time, money, and resources. Be sure that your cancellation policy is accessible at any time by clients, by keeping it within their patient portal or EHR.
Encourage earlier cancellations by providing a window of time to cancel prior to the appointment. It prevents no-shows from occurring while allowing for a better chance of the client rescheduling. If you have fees associated with the policy, it puts a financial incentive on showing up to appointments. Healthcare providers set up varying amounts depending on what works for them. These fees can also recoup a small amount of the lost revenue from the missed appointment.
✔ Set automated client appointment reminders via multiple mediums (SMS & Email)
If your clients book appointments far in advance, there is always a possibility that they will simply forget they are scheduled with you for an appointment. Many healthcare systems use scheduling procedures that require staff to manually remind patients about their upcoming appointment, with most reminder calls going straight to voicemail. The wasted time spent by staff making calls could be used to deliver care and build better client relationships.
Using scheduling software that allows you to automate client appointment reminders via text or email allows you to streamline the confirmation process. The use of automated SMS reminders to clients across multiple modes of communication would lessen the chance of no-show clients. With consistent reminders prior to every scheduled appointment, more clients are likely to show up.
✔ Allow clients to confirm via text or email
Appointments booked a few weeks in advance have a tendency to result in no-shows. Setting up appointment reminders is half the battle. Allowing clients to confirm the appointment via text or email is a safe way to minimize the possibility of a client not showing up. Studies have shown that 90% of texts are read in just under three minutes after being received, making SMSt reminders sent to clients a surefire way to confirm appointments with clients.
Box: Healthie’s latest update of our appointment reminders allows clients to confirm their appointment directly from their reminder.
✔ Set up prepaid appointments or deposits
Having clients financially committed to an appointment ahead of time can improve no-show rates easily. Set up prepaid appointments or deposits to keep the client accountable for their visit. Clients may be less likely to miss appointments if they have already made a deposit. You can customize the deposit amount to the needs of your business. For example, you can have the option for clients to pay 50% of the total cost before the visit and make up the remaining balance after being seen. A deposit maximizes on clients showing up since it allows you to reduce both no-show clients and last minute cancellations.
✔ Optimize booking procedures (scheduling & rescheduling)
Booking appointments over the phone or email as a client can be time-consuming and frustrating. If your practice only has the option to book appointments through calling, then the likelihood of them informing you of a no-show/cancellation is rather slim. The phone line may be busy, deterring them from making another call after the first. In a recent survey, 70% of customers preferred to book online rather than by phone call.
Healthcare facilities and private practices that manually schedule and reschedule patient appointments are more likely to run into client no-shows than ones that do not manually do it. Since scheduling manually is ad hoc, clients get the idea that there is no obligation to show up for their set time slot and resort to walk-ins. Walk-ins are great for procuring additional revenue; however, can be problematic when schedules conflict. Patient access to a healthcare portal where they can easily and directly schedule an appointment, it makes the process easier for both parties.
✔ Offer telehealth sessions for client convenience
Clients often cancel appointments due to changes in their schedule — last minute meetings, trips out of town, or simply running behind. Making the trip into your office for an in-person appointment may not be possible. However, offering the convenience of a telehealth or phone session can be an effective way to keep appointments. When clients reach out to cancel, offer the option of hosting the appointment online.
Switching to an online appointment eliminates the need to cancel late and reschedule the appointment. You can still check in with a client, even for a shorter amount of time, just to discuss progress since the last appointment and goals for next time. Client progress occurs with consistent support from a provider, which is most impactful during face-to-face appointments. Hosting a telehealth appointment allows you to give clients the support and motivation they need to continue working towards their goals, even when life is getting busier.
How to Leverage Healthie to Reduce Client No-Show Rates
- Electronic Intake Forms: Healthie’s Documents library enables you to put together a shared library of documents for the patient to share with their family, regarding the health condition and intervention. Access to the cancellation/no-show policy will be available for clients to view.
- Calendar: Healthie’s Calendar feature allows you to Centralize your calendar and enable clients to book appointments online. Your calendar can be customized to easily meet your business needs. Clients receive automated appointment reminders, including the link to their video call which they can launch directly from their Healthie client portal or the Healthie app
- Automated appointment reminders and confirmations: With Healthie, you can send automated client appointment reminders via text and email. Now, clients can also confirm their appointment directly from your reminders, saving them time and effort.
- Chat: Healthie Chat allows you to message directly with patients, and with families (if set up with Healthie accounts) to confirm and remind them of scheduled appointments. Not only is this a quicker way to communicate with the client, but it is also more effective at reaching them.
- Telehealth: Healthie’s integration with Zoom allows providers to determine how each appointment can be conducted: in-person, via phone, and/or via video call.
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