Reduce no-shows with tech (and sympathy)

Reducing no-show rates takes planning and creativity—and this whitepaper shows how adjusting your processes, making a better connection with your patients, properly utilizing technology, and considering patient data can improve clinical results and your bottom line. 

Read a summary of our whitepaper below. 

Typical no-show rate

Typical no-show rate

Assertive reminder practices

Assertive reminder practices

The problem with fees
The problem with fees
Talk to patients
Talk to patients

A population health perspective

A population health perspective

TYPICAL NO-SHOW RATE AND COST

What do no-shows do to a practice's finances?

According to the BMC Health Services Research from 2016, the average cost of a single no-show in the clinics studied was $196. Multiply that by two to three no-shows per day, and you’re looking at significant loss of income. The typical no-show rate itself depends on the size of the practice—the BMC Health Services Research found that the mean rate for 10 outpatient clinics of large hospitals was 18.8 percent per year, and though the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA)’s 2016 Practice Operations Report identified a lower rate for private practices, even a six percent no-show rate can be troublesome.

ASSERTIVE REMINDER PRACTICES

A good place to start: assertive reminder practices 

In a randomized, seven-month controlled trial published in 2016 in International Journal of Pediatrics, an urban pediatric ambulatory clinic with an overall no-show rate of 30.8% was able to reduce that to 23.5% among a group of patients who received text message reminders in addition to the voice message reminders the practice had already been using.

All of the participants had indicated a preference for text messages—and the no-show rate in the group of participants who received only the standard voice reminder was a problematic 38.1%.

THE PROBLEM WITH FEES

Charging fees for missed visits brings mixed results

“Very few payers allow no-show fees,” says Tina Colangelo, a New Yorka-rea consultant for healthcare services and physicians’ practices. CMS does allow practices to charge no-show fees, but you must bill the patient; Medicare will reject a claim for a no-show fee. If you do charge Medicare patients for missed visits, keep in mind that you must charge all patients, not just Medicare patients, the same no-show fee. 

TALK TO PATIENTS

Ask personal questions (within reason)

Patients miss appointments for a wide variety of reasons and there are methods for addressing almost all of them, even the ones that seem insignificant. But in order to address the specific reason a patient stands you up, you have to know what it is. Take a look at factors like excessive traffic in your neighborhood—or simply ask a patient with chronic lateness or repeated no-shows why they’re having trouble making appointments on time, or at all.

A POPULATION HEALTH PERSPECTIVE

Look at no-shows from a different perspective

No-shows can be bad for your bottom line, but they can be just as bad, if not worse, for the health of your patients; patients who don’t come in regularly aren’t receiving the preventative care and health education they may need. Looking at your no-show problem from a population health perspective can help tackle the problem from their perspective as well as from your practice.

Elizabeth Woodcock, President of Woodcock and Associates, an Atlanta-based physician practice consulting firm, says, “Data is always a good idea. You need to know your demographics, determine the rate of no-shows, and understand who is missing appointments and why.”

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