You know that last-minute cancellations and no-shows are costly for you and terrible for patient care and satisfaction. Most practices — some still using legacy scheduling systems and attached to old processes — are just living with the frustration and revenue loss of this chronic problem, chalking it up to a “cost of doing business.” But some tech-savvy practices are mitigating or even solving the challenge.
Let’s take a look at some of the creative approaches these practices are taking.
Reminders, Reminders, Reminders
It happens — patients forget their appointments. That’s where appointment reminders come in. Practices have seen moderate success in reducing appointment no-shows by adding text, email, or phone reminders to the scheduling process. Most automated reminder systems can be customized to deliver messages via any modality that is right for your patient population.
Telemedicine and Phone Visits
Another reason patients no-show? Accessibility. Common barriers include limited transportation options and illness of a family member. One solution when patients simply cannot get to you may lie in the embrace of telemedicine.
Today, 48 states and Washington, D.C., provide some form of Medicaid reimbursement for telehealth services, and 32 (plus D.C.) have some form of private payer policy in place. Some reports indicate that seven million will use telemedicine services in 2018 (up from just 350,000 in 2013). It’s about better service quality, and getting started may not be as costly as you think.
Appointment Management and Scheduling Software
By the time 2020 rolls around, two-thirds of U.S. health systems could be offering digital self-scheduling, and almost as many patients could be booking their medical appointments online.
Self-scheduling is beneficial to patients and providers alike. Patients feel it’s easier to manage their appointments and can do it from their mobile device, and providers save time and money by fielding fewer phone calls. Plus, as the telephone ceases to be the primary tool used on smartphones, scheduling appointments by a touch of the screen is going to be the new normal, and for many, it already is.
Simply put, practices that take advantage of technology like appointment reminders, telehealth services, and self-scheduling systems offer better patient service, and are better able to reduce missed appointments.
Want to learn more about how digital tools can help you reduce costs and make scheduling more convenient for your patients? Contact us today.