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How technology can address the patient no-show problem

November 30, 2019 - by Swati Bansal, Webmedy team

Did you ever miss or forgot your doctor's appointment? Ever felt like you got an appointment with the doctor at the time, which was a bit unfeasible or inflexible for you? According to statistics, it has been revealed that patient no-shows and appointment misses may cost a healthcare service provider up to $150,000 a year and with multi practices been following up could lead to loss of up to $1 million.

Considering industry-wise, the cost of no-shows in appointments might go up to a loss of $150 billion on an annual basis, concluding about 5% no-show rates at pediatrics and approximate 10-20% on urban family clinics. The specialty clinics may even address more than half of their scheduled patients missed appointments.

Healthcare service providers and clinics have been thinking now to integrate or devise an automated program that can remind patients of the significance of the process, how to get prepared in overall for the same, how to cancel or reschedule in any case of emergency or if they are not able to attend the appointment, in all letting them be flexible and decide by themselves without impacting patient privacy laws and norms. Every appointment means, fixing a particular time out of your schedule in the patient's name. The more the appointments will be, the time slots will be filled accordingly and appointment no-shows could impact both tremendously. Few practices even charge patients with a specific amount in case they missed the scheduled appointment without prior notice and skipping the same could result in a loss to hospitalization or the clinic cost care down the run.

What do you think - whose fault it is?

Well, the responsibility of taking an appointment or letting the healthcare service aware of whether you would be able to make it up on that day or not, is on the patient. But, if there could be a system or an approach that could ease out the concerns through proper communication and considering patient's preferences, then it will resolve all problems. Want to know of the different ways through which the problem could be fixed or resolved? Well, keep on reading and see how technology and proper system integration can help in getting rid of the patient's no-show problem.

  • Appointment Reminders - The system will let everyone know about the upcoming appointments and will send e-mail and text reminders whenever required. Even if the cancellations happen after putting reminders then indeed it is a good thing to move forward with. With this, it has been noticed that about 7% more no-shows were canceled when patients were reminded, otherwise, they could be the ones who may have not at all appeared in those meetings.
  • Simple cancellations or online rescheduling - The scheduling system integration is good to go to and also ensures that the appointment request is put on time for patients. In case of referrals or prescriptions, follow-ups might be required from offices.
  • Personalized visit guides - In addition to the appointment reminder texts and e-mails, in this approach, a personalized visit guide is going to come at your place providing all personalized information including location, time, directions, calendar reminders, parking, local amenities, appointment preparation and instructions, proper two way communication with the practice, and more, all focused on ensuring that the patient makes it to the appointment on time as well as with full preparation.

In a shell, these are some of the ways through which patient no-shows and appointment misses could be cut down as the technology is providing them the leverage of going for cancellations or re-schedule of appointments in case of unfeasibility. The no-show rates or number is after all not only about the revenue loss but in fact; real quality of life issues and concerns are involved in the process.

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