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 now open appointment slots. It’s taxing, time consuming work that costs you a ton of money, time, and patient satisfaction. We’ve seen this again and again with the practices we work 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 this 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.
They’re costing you valuable time!
Cancelled appointments are costing you and your staff a ton of valuable time. You lose time trying to contact the patient to reschedule the cancelled appointment. 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. And, unfortunately, cancelled appointments and no-shows are costing you a ton of both, as well as your patient satisfaction.
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 along with it, so does your patient dissatisfaction. When patients do have to cancel for good reason, it’s difficult for them to reschedule their appointment.
Your patients are busy. One of the most common reasons patients cite for missing appointments is forgetfulness. Several studies have shown that phone and postcard reminders can be beneficial for patients, however, they’re 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?
Our Cancellation & Reminders products were 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 – text messaging and email. We automate the entire process from appointment reminders, to waitlist management, and rescheduling appointments. So, you save more time and money.
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! Luma Health works with many of the leading EMRs and PMs, offering automated waitlists, cancellation management, appointment confirmation texts, referral management, patient recall, and more.
Tashfeen Ekram, MD, is a radiologist, self-taught coder, healthcare innovator and Co-Founder of Luma Health. Contact him on Twitter at @tashfeenekramMD.