Saving Lost Appointments

Posted by Matt Berns Friday, January 20, 2017

Optimize physician calendars by saving lost appointments

When you have access to your scheduling data, you will often be surprised by the types of trends that emerge. 

We recently sat down with one of our partners, a large health system, and noticed an interesting trend in their scheduling history. 14.6% of all open inventory that remained unbooked at appointment time -  was at one point booked and then cancelled 72 hours before the start time. In other words, almost 15% of unfilled appointments were being canceled with a three-day notice. Take a look at this interactive chart which demonstrates the hourly breakdown of when the cancelations occur:

Given the percentage of inventory that is re-opened with a three-day notice, it makes sense to make it available for booking by offering these late cancellations to patients booked further out – effectively reducing lead time and recapturing inventory. To accomplish this, we developed the following workflow for the health system:

  1. Identify appointments cancelled at the last minute through MyHealthDirect’s interface to your practice management system
  2. Automate a text message to patients who have opted in to a “waitlist” for an earlier appointment. The order of patients receiving the message is based on a machine learning model that adapts and identifies the patients most likely to accept.
  3. Book the slot with the patient that accepts the appointment.
  4. Cancel the patient’s prior appointment and repeat the process again.

The takeaway here is that a real-time view of your scheduling data allows you to identify opportunities that drive demand to match excess supply. For a big health system, it can have significant implications. Patients also get the opportunity to be seen quicker, which is in their best interest as well. 

To learn more how patient access solutions are helping one of the nation's largest health systems drive revenue and market share gains, download our free Patient Acquisition case study.

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Topics: Patient Engagement, Patient Access, Data Analytics, Calendar Optimization, Lead Times, Provider Utilization

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