In a recent New York Times article, Dr. Barron Lerner, M.D, stated, “when I schedule tests and follow-up visits, I expect that they will occur. As such, one might assume that there are foolproof systems in place to ensure follow-up. Yet this is far from the case.” He goes on to say, “from a legal perspective, rescheduling needs to occur”.
Patients are missing appointments, and then they are taking legal action against their doctor when bad things happen. Clearly, reducing no-shows, especially for referral appointments, is vital to delivering quality health care. Moreover, failing to do so not only creates gaps in care, but also creates a dangerous legal gray area that it’s best to avoid.
Here are five ways technology can be implemented to reduce no-shows:
Book at the point of care: Providers need a system that can ensure a patient has an appointment booked for a follow-up visit when they leave the point of care. Commonly, patients are given a slip of paper with a phone number and then are left to schedule the follow up on their own. Instead, they need an appointment booked and confirmation sent to their email before they ever leave the doctor’s office.
Automate reminders: Automated reminders via email, phone, and text are essential. Appointment reminders are proven to reduce no-shows.
Predict the offenders: Machine learning algorithms can be implemented once your digital network is in place to predict when patients won’t show. Armed with this data, staff can then accurately double book or take additional action to remind likely no-show patients.
Remove frustration: A study of nearly 35,000 online reviews of physicians nationwide has found that customer service is patients’ chief frustration. Provide patients with self-service options, like online scheduling and re-scheduling, to empower patients to control their healthcare experience and engage hassle free.
Reduce lead times: There is a direct correlation between lead times and no-shows. When patients are forced to wait for a long amount of time before they can see a doctor, they tend to forget. Integrating provider calendars into a cloud-based scheduling hub provides an unprecedented opportunity to optimize provider utilization to cut lead times in half.
To learn more about how cloud-based scheduling technology can improve your operations, check out our guide, Improving Health Outcomes & Reducing Lost Appointments.