Communications Tools that Decrease No-show Rates in Healthcare Practices

Doctor holding tablet

Apr 11, 2019

If one in three appointments were missed in other businesses then the world would probably still be stuck in the middle ages. This unacceptable habit is unfortunately routine in healthcare practices, with no-show rates ranging from 23%-34%, according to the American Journal of Medicine. While you cannot force your patients to stick to their schedules, we have compiled communication strategies that have been proven to encourage punctuality.

Automate multiple alerts

Let's face it, medical practices simply do not have time to manually contact patients and remind them of upcoming appointments. Automating phone calls with a pre-made message saves your practice in labor costs and time, as well as keeps your front staff available to interact with patients who have shown up.

For your younger patients, consider implementing text message reminders, too. Younger generations are less likely to answer the phone and tend to ignore voicemails, but a text message can reach them quickly and more effectively than traditional methods.

Emails are more formal than text messages and are easier to manage than other forms of communications which makes them the ideal form of communication for some people. Emails can be marked and categorized unlike texts and voice calls, so they can stay visible in inboxes as the appointment date approaches.

Unify your communications tools

If your healthcare practice relies on multiple, separate platforms for emails, texts, and chats then your communications system is not serving your organization effectively. A unified communication solution raises your HIPAA compliance standards across the board and improves your patients' overall experience by granting them consistent access regardless of which communication option they choose. Unifying your platforms also lowers your communications costs and gives you more control of which features to include and how to scales systems according to your needs. If your platforms are not currently integrated, Milner can help you upgrade to a unified communications solution giving your practice all the advantages of the most modern tools and strategies. Visit our unified communications page to see how we can help improve your practice's efficiency.

Create convenient patient portals

Cancelling or rescheduling appointments with proper notice is ideal for your practice, and having convenient communications portals instead of only one traditional contact option available can significantly increase these communications rates. A patient portal is often used to deliver other forms of information, too, such as vital updates, current prescriptions and conditions, and new services the healthcare facility provides. Integrating your portal with mobile applications and emails can provide your patients even more options to be reminded and virtually interact with your practice.

Quickly salvage broken commitments

People cannot plan for everything and some last minute cancellations are justified by unpredictable events. On the other hand, people with more flexible schedules can benefit from these gaps if they are informed about them quick enough. Simply charging a no-show fee to patients does not benefit your practice's productivity and often still results in a financial loss. Setting up a communications system that can send out available appointment times in short notice can help fill these times slots, preventing lost productivity and revenue.

No-shows are not done intentionally by patients, but they are nonetheless damaging to your practice. They typically costs thousands of dollars in lost revenue per month for practices but active communication with your patients can help reduce these damages.

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