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6 Simple Ideas for Lowering No-Show Rates

HealthWare Systems Blog

6 Simple Ideas for Lowering No-Show Rates

Posted on Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Improving patient engagement and implementing other strategies for lowering no-show rates can improve your revenue cycle and reduce no-show appointments.

Implementing strategies for lowering no-show rates can improve your revenue cycle.

Lowering no-show rates can improve your revenue cycle.  No-show appointments have a negative impact on your revenue cycle and waste time and resources that could be allocated to other patients.

Here are six simple ideas to help you toward your goal of lowering no-show rates.

Send Appointment Reminders

Remind patients of their scheduled appointment one or two days beforehand with a text, email, or phone call.  Appointment reminders are especially vital for patients whose visit may have been scheduled months ahead of time. This addresses the issue of forgotten appointments, and if the day/time no longer works it gives the patient a chance to reschedule rather than become a no-show.

Offer a Pre-Pay Option

Patients are not likely to skip out on something if they’ve already paid for it ahead of time.  Allow them the opportunity to pay for their appointment, or a portion of it, at the time of scheduling or pre-registration.

Provide Incentives or Rewards

Offer a small discount to patients who pre-pay and/or show up for their appointments on time, enter them into a raffle for prizes, or present them with a small gift when they reach a certain number of appointments kept.

This is a positive way to encourage patients to keep their appointments, as opposed to the “punishment” of charging a fee for no-show appointments – a strategy that could backfire in the form of dissatisfied patients and that may only offset a small portion of the costs of the wasted appointment slot anyway.

Improving Patient Engagement

The more engaged your patients are not only with their health, but also by your facility in particular, the less likely they’ll be to forget or skip their appointments with you.  Improving patient engagement and keeping your facility at the forefront of patients’ minds can be accomplished through the use of social media in healthcare, health apps, public health campaigns, and personalized birthday and holiday messages.

Conduct Follow-Up Calls for No-Show Appointments

When a no-show does happen, be sure to follow-up with the patient.  This will help you in several ways: you can use the opportunity to politely explain the importance of keeping or giving notice for canceled appointments in the future and you can find out the reason for the no-show.

If a significant number of patients have similar reasons for no-show appointments, your facility can use that information to put plans in place for lowering no-show rates related to specific causes.

Research Transportation Options

One common reason patients give for no-show appointments is lack of transportation.  Research your area and create a resource list for patients of transportation options available to them (for example, many senior centers and churches offer free or low-cost transportation, the American Cancer Association provides free transportation for cancer patients in active treatment, and Pace offers a “Call-n-Ride” service in the Chicago suburbs for as little as $2.00).  Consider these additional solutions for addressing patient transportation needs as well.

Lowering no-show rates using the strategies above will improve your revenue cycle and better ensure that your patients are present to receive the care they need.


By Stephanie Salmich

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