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.