3 ways to reduce no-shows

Healthcare consultants frequently provide advice on how to reduce no-shows at physician practices. Ken Hertz, consultant with the Medical Group Management Association, confessed in a recent article for Monthly Prescribing Reference that even he misses doctors' appointments.

Using his unique insights from both sides of the issue, Hertz offered the following tips to keep your no-show rate as low as possible:

  • Analyze. It's the practice administrator's job to create a list of patients who miss appointments and identify common traits that may contribute to the problem. Do they share a particular physician who is chronically late? Are they lower income patients? To put all the puzzle pieces together, consider calling patients after they miss appointments to ask why.

  • Remind. Don't just remind patients they have upcoming appointments--determine the most effective time and way to do so. Patients often prefer reminder phone calls two days before the appointment. Try offering a touch-tone option to cancel or reschedule to get more from the calls. In addition, for those appointments scheduled way in advance, consider mailing reminder postcards a month prior to the appointments, a practice many dental offices find effective.

  • Communicate. When you set appointments with patients, tell them why. If you tell a diabetic you need to see him every three months to check A1C levels, for example, let him know what A1C levels are and what could happen to his health if you don't monitor the levels. 

To learn more:
- read the article