Imagine setting up an appointment with your patients and they agree to the time and do not show up. It can be frustrating especially when you have set aside some of your personal time to meet them. Unfortunately, some patients forget they have an appointment and this is why it is important to set a patient reminder service.
What else can be done to ensure patients show up for appointments and reduce cancellations?
Have a written policy
Let your patients know the appointments are guided by some rules. Give a specific time guide to allow the cancellation of the appointments. For example, no canceling the appointment two hours to the agreed time. If it is a refund policy, encourage the patients if cancellation is done on time, a certain percentage will be refunded.
Set up reminders
Frequently contact your patients by calling them to remind them of the said appointments.
Send text messages
Instead of calling often, send multiple text messages to remind your patients of the said date and time.
Look for a system that can provide a patient reminder service after a certain period.
Integrate machine learning
Use previous patient data to know who will show up for their next appointment and who will not. If a patient is not likely to show up, ensure they are constantly reminded to do so.
Reduce location difference
A patient who is not willing to use a long-distance travel mechanism such as a train is less likely to show up. Encourage a shorter distance coverage where they will take less time to show up.
We all love a little percentage of some price off. As a doctor, show the willingness to tend to your patients by giving them some percentage off. They will show up.
Encourage your patients to confirm their availability before making the actual appointments. This can be a form to be filled or the affirmation they will be available.
What to do in case an appointment is canceled
- If a patient is likely to cancel an appointment, a double book to ensure that time is not lost. If one missed the appointment, another can attend.
- Ask the patient when best they can be rescheduled for another day’s appointment. It will assist you to ensure the attendance is 100%.
- Enquire from them how they are progressing on their condition.
- Try to reach them out virtually and monitor if they need any assistance.
- Use the waitlist to fill in unfulfilled appointments. This saves both time and resources.
- Try to convince them to attend their appointments.
In conclusion, we might get issues that will force us to change appointment plans. If you cannot avoid the issue at hand, it is okay to cancel the appointment through the right channels. On the other hand, if you can show up for a scheduled appointment, save your doctor the time and attend to it. It will save both your time and theirs.