The truth is, you’ll always have some patient no-shows. But you can take steps to reduce your no-show rate and prevent lost revenue. A critical first step in decreasing missed appointments is knowing your no-show rate. Once you have calculated your no-show rate, you can create a plan to lower it.
Why Do Patients Miss Appointments?
There are many reasons why patients may miss a scheduled appointment. They could have gotten confused about the timing or had an unexpected, last-minute issue arise. Some patients may feel they can’t miss work or personal commitments for a scheduled visit.
Unfortunately, some patients know they can’t make it, but don’t want to pick up the phone to call you and cancel. Over time, those no-shows can have a detrimental effect on your business. No matter the reason, every missed appointment costs your practice money and costs your staff valuable time.
Why Patient No-Shows Are a Big Problem
Patient no-shows are much more than just an inconvenience. In truth, high numbers of missed appointments have a significant impact on the quality and efficiency of care that practices can deliver.
When you experience a high number of missed appointments, several problems occur that affect both your practice and your patients.
- Decreased Efficiency – Every missed appointment disrupts the planned flow of daily activities.
- Reduced Resource Utilization – Missed appointments make it difficult to plan for the resources you need to have on hand.
- Longer Wait Times – Some practices resort to double booking to overcome the challenge of a high no-show rate which equates to longer wait times.
- Reduced Patient Loyalty – Patients who show up for scheduled visits build relationships with staff members and feel connected to your practice. If an appointment is missed, distance is created.
- Worse Health Outcomes for Patients – Patients who miss appointments may engage in less routine or preventative care, which can result in more chronic conditions and worse health outcomes.
How to Calculate No Show Rate: Use this Formula
The formula to calculate your no show rate is simple:
Patient No-Show Rate = Number of No-Shows / Total Number of Scheduled Appointments
If you want to track your no-show rate, you should create a data collection plan. A smart strategy is to look at appointment and no-show data at the end of each month for each provider. Tally up the total number of missed appointments. You can then calculate the total no-show rate.
Avoid these three common mistakes providers make when calculating no-show rates.
- Don’t include walk-in appointments in your total number of scheduled appointments
- Don’t include cancellations and re-schedules in your number of no-shows
- Don’t mark no-shows as “canceled”
How Patient Communication Reduces No-Show Rates
The good news is that you can take action to reduce your practice’s no-show rate. One of the best strategies to reduce no-shows is to implement a patient communication solution.
- Enhanced Communication
- Automated Appointment Reminders
- Improved Patient Engagement
- Reduced Phone Calls for Practices and Patients