In our increasingly busy world, patient no-shows and cancelled appointments are a costly reality for many practices. Cancelled appointments result in hours of valuable staff time spent trying to reschedule those appointments and fill the newly open appointment slots. It’s taxing, time-consuming work that can cost providers a ton of money, time, staff morale, and patient satisfaction. At Luma Health, we’ve seen this again and again with the organizations we partner with.
So, how much are cancelled appointments really costing you?
They’re costing you (a lot of) money.
It’s estimated that no-shows cost the healthcare industry more than $150 billion a year. According to an article from PatientPrompt, if a pediatric practice sees 100 patients a day at an average appointment cost of $125, with a 13% no-show rate, the practice would lose $32,500 every month. Some estimates show missed appointments cost single physicians as much as $150,000 annually. A seasoned writer covering the healthcare industry, Shawn McKee, researched one clinic that had 14,000 no-shows in a single year with an estimated loss of over a million dollars.
To calculate the financial cost of a no-show for your practice, take your average number of patients you typically see in a month, multiply that by your average no-show rate, and then multiply that number by your average cost of an appointment.
No-shows are costing your practice a ton of money. You’re not just losing money in missed appointment revenue, though. You’re also losing money in your staff’s valuable time.
Which brings me to my second point, they’re costing you valuable time.
Staff loses significant time trying to contact patients to reschedule the cancelled appointments. More often than not, a patient has to be called multiple times before an appointment is even rescheduled. You’re also losing valuable staff time, as your staff must take time to search your schedule for open appointment slots. And you’re losing time during the now open appointment slots that you are unable to re-fill.
Time is money–it the salary you pay front desk staff and clinicians, the cost of space and medical equipment. And, unfortunately, cancelled appointments and no-shows are costing you a ton of both, as well as your patient satisfaction.
And finally, they’re costing you patient satisfaction.
Your patients expect to be able to schedule an appointment with you within a reasonable time. When your wait list is long and unmanageable due to continued no-shows and cancelled appointments, finding time to fit in patients can seem next to impossible. Your wait list grows, and while it grows, patient satisfaction shrinks. When patients do have to cancel for good reason, they are less motivated to reschedule if their call is put on hod or their
Your patients are busy. One of the most common reasons patients cite for missing appointments is forgetfulness. While patients may be used to phone call or post cards for reminders, those communication methods are easily ignored, not to mention expensive and resource-intensive for your staff. ,
So, how can you reduce no-shows and cancelled appointments?
A study by the Internet Journal of Healthcare Administration found that email reminders provided an immediate and dramatic improvement in patient no-shows. Overall nonattendance rates decreased by 36%. Email isn’t the only form of communication creating a lot of noise in healthcare, though. This research summary by Dr. Vishal Mehta states that text messaging is “now the most used communication tool on the planet, exceeding email and instant messaging” and 62% of patients prefer this method of communication. This study also found a decrease in no-show rates due to text messaging.
So, how can you take the combined power of email and text messaging and reduce your cancelled appointments and no-shows, all while saving time?
Luma Health’s Intelligent Scheduling capability was created to help you reduce no-shows and cancelled appointments. We provide you with the ability to communicate with your patients in the way that works best, and we automate the entire process from appointment reminders, to waitlist management, and rescheduling appointments to save you more time and money.
To flip the switch on your cancellations and no-shows:
- Take a minute to estimate the financial cost of cancellations and no-shows to your organization using our ROI calculator.
- Find out how we helped this dermatology clinic cut their no-shows down by more than 50%, with over 70% of patients responding to messages.
- Get started with Luma Health today. Schedule a demo to learn how to implement a robust Intelligent Scheduling system as well as other Luma Health capabilities that can help you engage patients, transform outcomes, and boost revenue to your organization.
Tashfeen Ekram, MD, is a radiologist, self-taught coder, healthcare innovator and Co-Founder of Luma Health. Contact him on Twitter at @tashfeenekramMD.