The Reminder-Waitlist One-Two Punch For No-Show Appointments and Cancellations

In our recent blog post we talked about how no-show appointments and unfilled cancellations may be costing you too much money, staff time, and patient happiness. In fact, we estimate it’s costing the average clinic or practice over $150,000 per provider, per year; 17 and a half business days per provider, per year; and an excessive amount of patient health and happiness. 

The good news is there is a simple, effective solution to minimizing no-show appointments and the impact of cancellations on your business, and it’s what we like to call the reminder-waitlist one-two punch.

Here’s how it works. 

Relying on hefty penalties or denying medical care to reduce no-show appointments is not effective. Automated appointment reminders are the best way to reduce no-shows.

Part 1: Reminders

First, send your patients appointment reminders to address the leading cause of no-shows. Over 25 percent of patients miss appointments simply because they forget, and when you account for confusion about when and where an appointment is supposed to be, that accounts for half of no-shows.

Unfortunately, relying on hefty penalties or denying medical care to reduce no-show appointments is not terribly effective. First of all, your no-show policy is doing you no good if your patients don’t know what it is, and surveys show about half of patients don’t know their doctor’s no-show policy

Automated appointment reminders are a better way to reduce no-shows, but it’s important not to rely solely on one-way, robotic, synchronous reminder services. First, they limit your ability to provide the information your patients are looking for—from directions to pre-procedure prep instructions. They’re not customizable, so patients may feel like it’s coming from a robot and not their trusted provider. And they go out all at once, resulting in a massive influx of inbound calls with questions and concerns. 

A better approach uses smart, text message reminders to help get patients to their medical appointment—and bring revenue to your practice. Reminders that work should check these boxes:

  • Seamless EHR integration
  • Automated to send SMS reminders at the optimal times, no constant monitoring required
  • Personalized to each unique patient based on their information, their appointment, and their provider
  • Two-way, so patients have the ability to respond to ask questions

Watch our on-demand webinar to learn more about how to leverage reimbursable HIPAA-compliant virtual visits to deliver care and minimize appointment backlogs and cancellations.

Part 2: Waitlists

Second, use a smart waitlist to fill empty slots in your schedule. Sometimes life happens and you have to cancel an upcoming appointment. By making it simple for patients to cancel or reschedule, you can help make your patients’ lives easier. Plus, it allows you to proactively fill those empty appointment slots ahead of time so you don’t leak revenue.

An effective, truly intelligent waitlist does not involve lengthy spreadsheets, endless phone tag, and manual calendar updates. Managing a waitlist should take minimal staff effort and time and be easy for patients to use. The result should look like filled provider schedules for you and quicker appointment times for patients.

Here’s what a smart waitlist looks like:

  • Allows patients to add themselves to a waitlist or staff to add patients themselves
  • Automatically send patients waitlist offers if the provider and appointment type of the empty slot match their needs
  • Allows patients to respond via text message
  • Seamless, two-way EHR/PM integration that updates your providers’ schedules automatically

We don’t just think the reminder-waitlist one-two punch is effective, our partner clinics and systems have lived the results. A coordinated approach to filled schedules has resulted in a 79% drop in no-shows at a Texas clinic and 50% at a Florida OB-GYN practice, 20% of waitlist offers filled among all customers, and 18% greater patient satisfaction scores than the industry average.

Interested in learning more about our approach to no-shows and cancellations? First, check out our webinar series, No More No Shows!, here. Then, use the form below and we’ll respond with any questions you may have.

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