Number 5 in a 5 Blog Series
Very few things in your practice are as frustrating as someone who doesn’t show up for their appointment or cancels at the last moment. You’ve already prepped, reviewed the file, scheduled staff, and then suddenly - you’re standing there without a patient to see.
There are any number of reasons a patient doesn’t show. In this blog series, we have looked at specific reasons patients become a no-show and identifying steps that you can take to prevent this from happening. We’ve looked at finances, fears, forgetting, and transportation. We’re winding up with last minute cancellations.
I’m Late, I’m Late For a Very Important Date
According to the classic 1950’s science fiction movies, technology was supposed to make our lives so simple that we’d spend our days in leisure. What those quaint prognosticators failed to see was just how much more complex life would become instead.
We are a culture that likes to be busy. Full-time jobs, active kids, sporting events, book clubs, and more. All this busyness sometimes translates into an overbooked schedule. It’s not surprising that patients might sometimes forget they scheduled an appointment and then schedule another on top of it.
Workplaces, too, play a role in this. Many employers have strict policies about time off during the day. Some employees simply feel they can’t afford to miss work. Others are pulled into meetings which they can’t escape.
And then there are the everyday situations that simply happen. Few people can predict car trouble, or unintentionally losing their keys. A wreck on the freeway is beyond your patient’s control, as are weather factors, or construction, or a child who gets sick at school.
Sometimes, no matter how responsible a patient is, circumstances prevent them from making their appointment. It’s frustrating for you and for your patient as well. But is there anything you can do about it?
Because no one can predict every circumstance, being prepared for a no-show is a great idea. Consider an ASAP waitlist notification as an alternative to an empty chair. When a patient notifies you that he or she won’t be able to make it that day, you can use your automated notification system to alert patients on your ASAP waitlist that an opening has become available. You can offer the time on a first-come, first-served basis without having to call each waitlist patient individually.
Patients usually intend to keep their appointments, and a bit of understanding when they miss can go a long way toward retaining them. Remember to provide your missed appointment policy to all patients, have them sign a copy, and keep it on file. You can also make your policy available on your website and social media pages.
If you’d like more information about what causes no-shows and how to prevent them, https://www.solutionreach.com/amz/noshowsnomore