All healthcare facilities have them: missed appointments caused by patients who don’t show up when they’re scheduled to. However, many people may not understand that there is actually a cost associated with these missed appointments. Read on to find out the cost of missed appointments nationwide and the steps you can take to limit them in your facility.
The Actual Cost of Missed Appointments
As a healthcare provider, the time you spend with patients is crucial. Each provider can see only so many patients in a day or week, which means each time slot on your schedule is important. However, when patients are a no-show, it hurts not only the patient’s health but your facility’s income as well.
According to RoundTrip, missed appointments cost healthcare facilities approximately $150 billion each year. However, this isn’t the only cost of missed appointments you may face. Besides the money and time of your providers, it can also hurt your patients.
Just because a patient doesn’t show up for their appointment, it doesn’t mean they are feeling better or don’t have any health concerns. Most of the time, there are other reasons why the patient can’t make it to their scheduled appointment. This means they are missing out on the care they may need, leading to their overall health taking a toll.
Why Do Patients Skip Appointments?
There are a variety of reasons that your patients may not show up when they are scheduled to. A major reason is not having adequate transportation to get to their appointments. If they have no way of getting to the facility, there is no way they can keep a scheduled appointment.
Another reason could be not understanding why they need to keep their scheduled appointments. For example, if they did not receive clear instructions after being discharged or were unsure of what to look for regarding follow-up care, they may not think their appointment is a big deal. A healthcare follow-up survey can help uncover issues related to unclear instructions or confusing follow-up care. Notivate’s post-discharge surveys return results to your staff in almost real-time, so they can follow-up with patients who might not understand their post-discharge instructions.
Patients who do not understand the importance of follow-up care may not think their appointment is a priority and may skip it, which can lead to more serious health problems. If it isn’t a priority, other things such as work or family events may cause them to put their health at the bottom of their to-do list.
How You Limit the Cost of Missed Appointments in Your Facility
If you’re struggling with missed appointments in your facility, you could send automated appointment reminders via voice, text or email to patients. This makes the patient’s appointment a priority and prevents it from slipping their mind in exchange for something less important.
Another benefit of using appointment reminders is allowing the patient to cancel or reschedule with a simple text. By giving patients a chance to change their scheduled appointment without having to call your facility to do so, they will be less likely to become a no-show.
Notivate’s platform allows you to create a “waitlist” for patients needing an appointment. Using this feature, a patient in need can quickly fill a canceled appointment, and your facility doesn’t have to call patients to set it up!
Studies have shown that appointment reminders can significantly reduce missed appointments. For example, a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that sending appointment reminders via text message reduced no-show rates by 34%. Another study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that email reminders effectively reduced missed appointments by 26%.
Overall, limiting the cost of missed appointments in your facility is much simpler than it may seem. By setting up automated systems, you could save your facility thousands of dollars in missed appointment costs and help more patients get the care they need.
If you’d like to learn more about how the Notivate Health platform can benefit your facility, book a demo today.
Photo by Pepi Stojanovski on Unsplash.
When it comes time to refer your patients to other specialists, especially those in your network, you want to ensure that they still receive high-quality care once they leave yours. However, there are many issues a patient may run into before they make it to the specialist’s office. Let’s discuss what those issues may be and how introducing automated messaging can improve their overall experience.
Issues With Patient Referrals
There are many problems that your patients may run into when it comes time to send them over to a specialist. One of the biggest issues is patient adherence. The physician may face challenges in ensuring that the patient follows through with the referral. The patient may be reluctant to see a specialist, or may not have the time or resources to do so.
To ensure a patient follows up with a referral, it’s critical that you explain to the patient the importance of following up with the referral. Emphasize the benefits of seeing a specialist and the potential risks of not doing so.
In some cases, time is of the essence when referring a patient to a specialist. The physician may need to expedite the referral process to ensure that the patient receives prompt care and prevent the progression of their condition. Some conditions, such as cancer or heart disease, require early detection and prompt treatment for better outcomes. Referrals to specialists can help diagnose and treat these conditions in their early stages, which may be crucial in preventing their progression. In addition, early intervention and treatment of medical conditions can reduce the need for more complex and costly treatments in the future. For example, catching a cancer diagnosis early can lead to a simpler and less expensive treatment plan, while allowing it to progress may require more extensive and costly treatments, such as surgery or chemotherapy.
Good communication between the referring physician, the patient and the specialists is critical to ensure that the patient receives appropriate care. The physician must ensure that the specialist has all relevant information about the patient’s medical history and current condition because a lack of communication between the referring physician and the specialist can lead to suboptimal care and outcomes for the patient.
How you handle patient interaction once they are no longer in your care is critical. When it comes time to move from one doctor to another, it’s important for everyone to stay in the loop. Unfortunately, this transfer can sometimes lead to misinformation or lack of communication with the patient.
When a patient leaves your facility, you want to be sure that they understand the next steps for their care. While there are many actions you can take to ensure this, iincluding sending out post-discharge surveys, when a patient referral is involved, using automated messaging is one of the the best courses of action.
The Benefits of Using Automated Messaging with Patient Referrals
When patients receive timely referrals to specialists, they are more likely to be satisfied with their care. They will feel that their health concerns are being taken seriously and that their healthcare providers are working together to ensure they receive the best possible care. Automated messaging can fill in many gaps at your facility. It can provide patients with care instructions, and appointment reminders and prompt them to fill out information or surveys before or after their visit.
Another benefit of automated messaging is how it allows you to lead patient referrals and keep open communication between your facility, the patient, and the specialist. By utilizing a secure messaging feature, you can share details with the patient about who they need to follow up with after they leave your facility, and ask questions about that follow-up care. You can also take this opportunity to provide a seamless transition from your facility to the specialists by prompting the patient to fill out the necessary information that is shared with the new specialist.
By referring patients to specialists in your own network, you can also use Notivate Health’s easy and affordable platform to share communications beyond your facility. Using EHR-integrated technology, you’re able to share important patient information with other healthcare providers quickly, always ensuring that your patient’s information is passed on securely and that the new specialist is up-to-date with the patient’s needs.
The Importance of Communication
Communicating with your patients should be a top priority. Good communication is the only way to ensure that the patient receives the information they need about their health and that there aren’t any gaps or problems moving forward. It also ensures that moving from provider to provider is a smooth transition and nothing about the patient’s history or their ability to reach the new specialist is left out.
According to a study shared at the AMIA Annual Symposium, it was shown how beneficial implementing an electronic messaging system is to share information with patient referrals.
They explain that the results from their study were overall positive regardless of outside factors such as an additional workload or hardware issues.
Overall, using automated messaging with your patient referrals can improve how your facility handles these interactions as well as your overall patient interactions. The issues that come from transferring patients from one provider to another become lessened by using this type of technology.
If you would like to learn more about Notivate Health and how our platform can improve patient care, request a demo today.
Now more than ever, people want to build connections. They want to feel like their questions and concerns are heard and being responded to by the people and businesses on the other side. The idea of conversational messaging has provided a new way for consumers to communicate with the businesses they love. But what about in healthcare? Here is how you can promote conversational messaging with your patients.
At its most basic, health information exchange and data sharing have to do with how multiple organizations are able to access and share your patient’s private data. There are many aspects of this, but one of the most important is keeping patient confidentiality to ensure your facility stays compliant. Read on to learn about the health information exchange and what it means for your facility.