Help patients remember appointments to save big bucks

Volunteers, care coordinators make reminder calls, offer transportation to cut down on no-show patients

Healthcare organizations take huge revenue hits when patients miss appointments, prompting hospitals serving low-income, urban areas to enhance their efforts to help patients remember appointment dates, Crain's Cleveland Business reported.

In fact, Akron General Health System loses almost $18,000 in revenue a month from cancer patient no-shows alone. But thanks to volunteers making reminder phone calls to patients, the hospital saw missed appointments for its cancer program drop 25 percent in September.

With a no-show rate as high as 25 percent in some service lines, Ohio's MetroHealth System now uses care coordinators to arrange patients' care and offers a van to bring patients to its main campus, the article noted.

Care coordinators and patient navigators often receive training to handle patient obstacles, including a lack of insurance and child care, that can cause missed appointments, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

Earlier this year, the Cleveland Clinic launched a same-day appointment campaign to fill empty slots from last-minute cancelations. "There's always somebody behind (someone who cancels) that needs access," Mary Curran, the Clinic's executive director of special projects, told Cleveland Business.

Hospitals having a problem with patients missing appointments can implement several strategies, such as evaluating their current reminder system for inefficiencies and charging patient copays in advance instead of struggling to collect late fees, FiercePracticeManagement reported last month.

For more:
- read the Crain's Cleveland Business article

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