Tips to Reducing Patient No-Shows

You glance at your schedule the night prior to a busy patient day and find back-to-back appointments with little spare time. Yet by the end of the following day, two appointments no-show completely and two more reschedule last-minute, leaving your schedule looking more like swiss cheese filled with holes. Sound familiar?

A board of swiss cheese

One motto at YellowTelescope is, “nobody spends less than a no-show,” which is why we teach a proprietary process at our Annual Training Seminar proven to increase both show percentage and same-day booking rates. You’ll have to attend the Seminar to learn exactly how we do it, but here are a few tips we can share in the meantime:

  • Understand WHY No-Shows Happen – Your appointments don’t have to show up, which means they will only show up if they want to or feel obligated. Knowing this helps your staff understand why the next few tips are critical.
  • Build Rapport on the Initial Phone Call– Would you no-show to a dinner date with a new friend? (Hopefully not or your friend circle is likely sparse.) It’s the role of your Patient Care Coordinator (PCC) to establish a relationship with each patient on the phone so by the end of the call, the patient feels a genuine connection with the PCC. If the PCC has related to the patient in some way (shared hobbies, empathized with their concerns, etc.), the patient will want to show up for their appointment.
  • Explain the Doctor’s Time is Valuable – Patients are more likely to feel obligated to show up if they know the doctor’s time is limited and precious. Use this YellowTelescope Magic Wordtrack on the initial call: “Dr.____ will be taking time out of his rather hectic schedule to meet with you personally, so I want to ensure we select a time that works…”
  • Follow Through with Every Call to the Very End – After the PCC schedules the consultation, both parties may be eager to end the call, but there’s one last step that’s not to be missed: The PCC must ensure the patient actually added the appointment to their calendar. YellowTelescope Magic Wordtrack: “Do you have a pen and paper handy? Or perhaps your iPhone or wherever you keep your appointments?” Pause, and once you hear that they do, confirm by saying “Great. Just let me know when you are ready…”
  • Remind (Don’t Confirm!) 2 Days Before – When your PCC calls each consultation ideally 2 days prior, it should be a reminder, not a confirmation. Confirming an appointment allows for an opportunity to cancel whereas reminding patients of their appointment gives no room for changes. We are not confirming IF they will come, we are reminding that they are expected to arrive at a set time. YellowTelescope Magic Wordtrack: “Hi ____, this is ____ from Dr. ____’s office. How are you? Great. We know you already have this on your calendar, but we wanted to quickly call you and remind you of your upcoming appointment, Tuesday at 2pm, with the doctor…if you have no other questions, we look forward to seeing you then.”
  • Take Advantage of Technology – We are in the era of text message reminders and it’s time to get on board, but not all systems are created equal. We vetted dozens of communication software systems through our free match-making service SEOversite and are thrilled to partner with one of the most innovative technologies on the market – an all-in-one phone service (with incredible features), text message reminders, missed call texts, digital fax, and more. Contact us to learn more or call (305) 455-0720.

Swiss cheese is great with ham and a baguette, but not for your schedule. Reducing no-shows directly impacts your profitability and the good news is that it’s something you can control. Snag one of the last spots at the YellowTelescope Annual Training Seminar this month to learn more.

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