The cause and effect of missed appointments

For a long time it seemed that repeated “no-shows”, or visit non-adherence, were the incurable headache of the medical field.

Not only do they waste the office and other patients’ time, but the financial loss carries an additional heavy burden. No-shows cost an annual $150 billion to the national health-care system, and the industry has been paying closer attention to what exactly is at stake for individual practices.

While the causes of missed appointments range from financial strain to fear of treatment, studies reveal that scheduling systems and administrative practices play a crucial role in minimizing the rate of missed appointments. Knowing the effective, preventative steps a practice can take to maximize time and effort can assure quality care and reliable profit. See how Telio Reminders can improve your bottom line today.

Wasted time and wait lists

A practice should run like a well-oiled machine, with physicians, staff and patients communicating and maintaining a schedule effectively, in order to offer the highest quality care to the most amount of people. When a patient reserves time in a physician’s schedule and then does not show up, it creates an unused gap where productivity is lost.

A 2017 national survey revealed a staggering 30% increase in the time the average patient now has to wait when trying to make an appointment, with a 24-day wait before he or she is able to receive care.

As wait-lists fill up with patients seeking medical attention, maintaining a consistent appointment attendance is crucial for both doctor and patient.

Missed appointments affecting the bottom line

So how much are all of these no-shows costing an individual practice?

While it depends on the size and speciality of each office, MGMA offers a simple equation for calculating potential loss: “Take your average number of patients seen in a month, multiply it by your no-show rate, and then multiply that result by your average revenue per appointment”.

An article from MedPageToday used this equation when detailing the financial effects of missed appointments for a suburban pediatric practice in Chicago. The practice reported a 4% visit non-adherence rate, which is below the national average, that amounted in an outstanding $43,500 loss over one year’s time. With an estimated 5-8% rate of no-shows in medical practices across the country, the accumulated lost revenue does an enormous disservice to the medical industry.

However, most experts agree that there are proficient ways to minimize loss by an increase in detailed administrative efforts. This includes personalized text and call reminders that not only remind the patient but request a confirmation, as well as implementing a data analytics system which keeps an organized catalogue of all appointment details. These efforts, in combination with attempts to understand the root causes of a patient’s non-adherence, have been proven to successfully decrease the number of no-shows and increase profit margins.  

Combatting missed appointments

Regardless of the location or size of one’s medical practice, missed appointments continue to be a nuisance to all physicians. But today’s improved understanding of why they happen has given  our developers the ability to design an intuitive app that helps to lower the frequency of no-shows.

Telio utilizes advanced appointment reminder software to offer data analytics and personalized content.

To find out more about creating an effective strategy against missed appointments, visit Telio Reminders.