Last-minute appointment cancellations are frustrating. But more than that, they are expensive. Not only do you lose the revenue expected from the visit, but there are also other financial costs to a canceled appointment – the biggest of which is your and employee time.
Having a strategy to keep patients from canceling appointments is a great way to improve your team’s efficiency and save wasted effort.
1. Give reminders: Send appointment reminders at least six days before the appointment. It would be great if you could repeat these reminders 46 hours before the scheduled appointment. Try using phone calls for the final reminder. Make sure these phone calls do not offer an option to cancel appointments. These calls should simply say that you are looking forward to seeing patients on a specific day at a specific time. This approach will leave patients thinking about honoring their appointments, not canceling them.
2. Reward patients who always honor appointments: Positive reinforcement will help modify patients’ behavior better than negative reinforcement. If you have a patient that is often late to appointments or has multiple cancelations in the recent few months, you must do something to dissuade them from repeating this behavior. You can consider giving a gift card or a complimentary consultation to show how much you appreciate them for valuing your time.
3. Encourage patients to self-schedule: With advances in technology, self-scheduling can help you reduce the number of cancelation due to patients’ busy schedules. As the majority of patients prefer to schedule appointments online, a lot of medical practices have started offering real-time, online patient scheduling.
Are you looking for more tips to keep patients from canceling appointments? Call us for a complimentary consultation!