Every healthcare practice experiences missed appointments, whereby an appointment has been booked, but the patient does not show up. The reasons for this range from simple forgetfulness to family emergency.

Often new patients have high rates of missed appointments because you haven’t had the opportunity to establish a practitioner-patient relationship. Sometimes the patient is not satisfied with a previous treatment and decides not to return, but does not want to cause trouble by discussing the situation.

Whatever the reason, missed appointments mean lost revenue for your practice, can delay the diagnosis because of inconsistent monitoring and treatment, and can keep other patients from seeing you. Continuing on from last week, below are more ways to help deal with missed appointments.

Cancellation Fee
Another way of dealing with missed appointments is to charge a cancellation fee for missed appointments. This serves will give patients the incentive to show up and make up for a part of the revenue you have lost. We recommend providing patients with a clear and comprehensive cancellation policy in advance, so that they are aware of the penalty for missed appointments. However, chasing patients for no-show fees can have its own cost in labour and resources, and may simply not be worth it.

Patient Engagement
The key to a good appointment record is patient engagement. Healthcare practices with the best patient relationships have the lowest numbers of missed appointments because patients who feel their time is respected will in turn respect your time. When scheduling appointments, allow the patient to take part in the process. Listen to what the patient wants and needs. Explain the importance and significance of their treatment plan, allowing them to be accountable. Having a good relationship with the practice will encourage patients to appreciate your time and hence reduce the rate of missed appointments.

Finally you may simply choose to do nothing. A missed appointment does not have to be a loss if you can fit it other important tasks instead. This can mean spending extra time with another patient, clear any built-up patient backlog, making phone calls to patients or doctors, or simply taking a break.