Missed appointments are a source of frustration for every healthcare facility, dental clinic, and wellness center. It leaves an empty spot in the schedule for the day. That means supplies were wasted in preparation for that visit, revenue was lost on that appointment, and valuable time was lost where someone else could have benefited from the slot who likely went on a waiting list.
In all fairness on the other side of the coin, the patient loses out. Obviously, there was a need for the visit. But in the chaos that is today's world, people often forget. It leaves them needing to try to set up another time in what is already a hectic schedule taking away yet another appointment from a prospective patient. No shows are a great source of frustration for everyone involved. Click for advice on how to tackle the no-show problem.
How Can No Shows Be Avoided In The Health And Wellness Industry?
As a whole, missed appointments are least of all an annoyance for the wellness community, most importantly, due to the loss of a patient who could have used the slot. Whether it be medical, dental, or another health-related facility, the goal is to provide patients with optimum care. That can't happen with consistent no-shows on the books.
The patients feel the same frustrations, not only those who miss the appointments but especially the ones who lose out on the slots they could have had instead of being scheduled out over an extended time. Typically, those who miss, merely forget either because they failed to write it down and life happened, or age got them.
It's a challenge to avoid altogether the chance of someone not making it to an appointment or making it at the proper time. But there are practices that can be employed to drastically reduce the reasons people have for missing their scheduled appointment times. Some of those include:
- Reminders For Appointments: In many cases, missed appointments are based on people forgetting. Using an automated appointment reminder system will give patients that quick reminder they need to jostle their memory about what's coming up in their schedule. Many patients are grateful for what they consider courtesy on the part of their practitioner resulting in appreciation and loyalty to the office. Many facilities are providing this service with more people relying on the convenience over having to log or write the information somewhere and remember to check it.
- Pay Ahead: Patients will be more likely to arrive for their appointments if they have the opportunity to prepay. When people have already paid for something, they're inclined to want the service. As an incentive to entice people to pay ahead, offices can provide discounts to those who wish to do so.
- Missed Date: With a majority of those in the working world, days can be exceedingly hectic. Even with automated reminders, a day of chaos at the office can take the focus away from personal obligations. In following up on no shows, a facility can merely send a second automated message to let the patient know how sorry the practice is that the patient wasn't able to make the scheduled appointment. It will serve as a notice that there is a need to contact the office right away in an effort to reschedule the missed appointment and discuss the policy for the missed appointment.
- Preferred Method: When someone schedules initially, always ask what their preferred method of contact is for their automated confirmation, whether it be a home or cell number, or if they prefer email contact. In this way, there's no confusion whether a message was received or not, and no-shows can be more readily prevented.
- Wait Times: Everyone's schedule is important, not only that of the practicing office. Each individual patient has something they are responsible for, meaning they have no time to sit in a waiting room for extended periods. Creating this type of atmosphere for a client base will result in loss of business. When those you care for feel disrespected and underappreciated, they will relay the same respect in the way of missed appointments, which ultimately results in not returning altogether.
- Show Appreciation Regularly: It's vital to acknowledge the people who make an effort to show up on time each time for their visits by verbalizing them an appreciation for that effort. Speaking to them that you pay attention to what's happening in the office in particular with them is enough to encourage their loyalty and returned respect. Repeating this behavior is likely to result in fewer chances for a patient no-show. And for anyone in earshot who might be someone to miss visits, this could give them the incentive to shape up.
Further rewards and discounts are an ideal way to entice clients to make their scheduled times and enjoy coming to the practice. For those consistently on time, never missing, deductions could be given on their bill for the day, or provide a service-related reward at the end of the visit.
The opposite might be true for those who miss. Maybe when each shows up for the make-up appointment, there might be a small fee for the no show encouraging an effort to try to keep the next scheduled time without fail.
Most people don't intentionally set out to forget a set appointment. The practitioners don't want to ‘punish' those who don't make their visits understanding there were likely considerations. But the consequences can be dire for businesses, particularly if these are excessive.
The practitioners are there to provide the optimum for their patients in every sense. They aren't able to maintain the kind of services they hope to when the schedule is disrupted in such a way. Prospective patients who need assistance are put on the back burner in favor of inconsistent regulars. It defeats the goals of most participating in patient-based fields who hope to bring treatment to all those who need it. Following these methods will hopefully result in greater wellness success for everyone involved.