If You Can’t Beat Them, Manage Them – Cancellations Part 2

Part 2 of a 2 part series on Cancellation Management.
Click here to read part 1.

Last week we explored various methods our clients and prospective clients use to manage cancellations in healthcare. Appointment cancellations, however, are not unique to our field. Here are a few trends in other industries. Would these work at your practice?

Broadcast on Social Media

Salons ask their loyal customers to follow them on social media and then post any new appointment availability. It’s a pretty slick and technology-savy way to reach your clients:

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Airline Industry Tactics

The airline industry has been managing cancellations for decades to maximize their bottom line through overbooking, a non-refundable fee, and dropping prices.

Overbooking

Overbooking is one of the most common ways to reduce cancellations. Airlines always play the numbers game when pricing tickets and overbooking. Getting bumped from a flight is an unpleasant customer experience, yet airlines have found the financial benefit still outweighs rebooking customers with incentives. Overbooking is used by some clinics, but often results in disgruntled patients and increases wait times.

Nonrefundable Fee

With a non-refundable ticket, the flyer pays money even if they don’t show. This is similar to the cancellation fees clinics charge, yet airlines still see up to 10% no-shows.

Dropping Prices

Just like in healthcare, last minute unused capacity in the airline industry loses revenue; historically, fares steeply rise close to the date of departure. But, under the guise of Priceline and similar sites, the airline industry offers steep discounts. This can be a tricky practice as it can cannibalize those paying a premium price. We have yet to see this more challenging method in medicine but perhaps hungry practices will explore price reductions by waiving copays.

While not all of these practices may successfully transfer to the healthcare market, we at Luma Health continue to examine new ways to create a seamless experience for your patients and staff. We’d love to hear what your practice does to manage cancellations — drop us a line.

Tashfeen Ekram, MD, is a radiologist, self-taught coder, healthcare innovator and Co-Founder of Luma Health. Contact him on Twitter at @tashfeenekramMD.

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