No-shows and last minute cancelations disrupt operations, increase staff stress and ultimately reduce revenue for a practice. The good news is that there are effective ways to reduce missed healthcare appointments, which will help patients stay on schedule and improve patient loyalty.

It starts with better scheduling. “The longer it takes to get an appointment, the more likely someone is to miss it,” primary care physician Christine Kistler, MD told athenahealth. Providing patients with flexible appointment options is key, including weekend appointments and making it as easy as possible to self-schedule online.

Providers can also encourage patients to show up by offering incentives, such as a discount on future services or gift cards. “People are much more likely to show up when they feel like their time and effort is appreciated,” says Kistler.

Lastly, it’s important for practices to have a well-communicated cancellation policy and make it easy for patients to reschedule an appointment. This will prevent patients from unintentionally missing their appointments and allow providers to backfill their schedules with other patients.

Of course, there are times when a patient will forget an appointment or need to cancel last minute due to an emergency. In these cases, it’s a good idea to keep a waitlist of patients who are willing to come in on short notice. Then if an appointment is cancelled or a patient doesn’t show up, the provider can easily call one of these patients to fill the empty slot. reduce missed healthcare appointments

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