A doctor can often have a crowded waiting room full of patients. While this is great for business, all it takes is one or two patients being extremely late or not showing up for their individually scheduled appointment to throw the schedule off in a huge way. In a lot of situations, this can even cause the doctor or certain employees to lose work and pay when patients do not keep their appointments and is a major problem for the consistency of the patient’s care, as well. The following are some tips to help a doctor’s office to nip this problem in the bud.
Call for Patient Confirmation
It is common for doctor offices to call patients in advance to remind them of their scheduled appointments. The problem that this sometimes creates is that many may assume that getting the patient’s answering machine constitutes confirmation that the patient will show up on time. This is a bad policy, and it can create problems both for the doctor and any third-party diagnostic techs working for that doctor’s office. The scheduler must make sure they get ahold of a live person before concluding that the patient has been confirmed. If they aren’t answering their phone, make sure to let them know in the voice message that they need to call the clinic back so that you know they are still coming.
Another great way to remind a patient that they have a specified appointment they need to show up to is through follow-up text messages, emails and Conversational AI Software Solutions. This is especially important if you cannot reach a patient in person, because it serves as an additional notice that they may receive in passing. Just be sure to send out these reminders a couple of days before the patient’s appointment for best results. This will help to keep patients mindful that they have an appointment to be at even if their appointment date has accidentally slipped their mind. Having these reminders automated really is the best way to accomplish this on your end, as it gives your receptionist one less thing to worry about.
Charge a Fee
When it comes to providing incentives for patients to show up to their appointments and to be on time, sometimes a doctor’s office has to take measures that put an end to the late shows and no shows in a serious way. One way to approach this is to charge late fees and no-show fees. Remember, these patients are costing you both time and money when they are late or do not show up. When this type of behavior causes a patient to incur a personal loss for their negligence, this can often be enough encouragement to ensure the patient will be more diligent about keeping their appointments as scheduled. It is important to note that the patient needs to have read and signed a written agreement that obligates them to such penalties.
Some patients may be elderly and need assistance making it to their appointments on time—especially if they have mobility issues and need the services of a wheelchair accessible van. By providing an elderly pick up and drop off service, this can help to keep everyone on the same page by getting your patients to and from your office in a timely fashion. Lacking reliable transportation to doctor appointments is a serious issue for the elderly, and it negatively impacts their health as they are unable to keep important appointments. If you notice an elderly patient is often late or not showing up to their appointments, reach out to them and help them find services that can get them safely to their appointments in the future, as they may just lack transportation.
While no scheduling system is perfect, there are ways to mitigate your no-shows and late-comers using modern technology and providing the appropriate services. Some patients can be forgetful or else lack the motivation to keep their appointments when it is less convenient for them, whereas others lack the necessary transportation entirely. As the caretaker of the health of your patients, it is important to take steps like these to ensure that they are getting the help and medical expertise they need.