Most busy physicians know the pain of cancelled appointments and no-shows. It can be the most frustrating thing about owning a practice. No-shows can cost your business a lot of money if you aren’t careful – and perhaps the most surprising thing is that most of those no-shows are for follow up appointments.
Patients seem to be weary of the reasoning for a follow up, and some just don’t think they need it at all. So, how does a practice attempt to keep the no-show rates lower by making follow up appointments worth it? These tips can lead you in the right direction.
Use an online scheduler and send appointment reminders
Most practices are doing this, but it is important to do send these at the right time and on the right platform. Many patients get bothered by the constant phone calls and reminders each month, so the best way to be sure you aren’t offending is by asking how they want to be contacted. Some may prefer an email a few months before, some may prefer a text message a few weeks before and the week before. Patients are all different, so to help make sure they don’t get annoyed by your reminders – ask them first.
Additionally, one way to keep this process particularly productive, you can implement an online scheduler so people choose when they are available – and reminders can be sent automatically.
Don’t book patients so soon
We’ve all been there; the dentist clerk asks you when you want to schedule your next appointment 6 months from now, when you have no idea what your schedule looks like. Then 5 months and 29 days later, they call to remind you that your appointment is tomorrow. This is a surefire way to increase the chances of a no-show. Instead, send your patients on their merry way, then call in a few months when they might have a better idea of an upcoming schedule.
One of the big reasons patients don’t show for a follow-up is because they don’t find it necessary. However, it is standard protocol to assure that everything from the recent visit is going smoothly. So when patients don’t think it’s necessary, they probably find it inconvenient to go wait in a doctor’s office for a few hours.
Enter: virtual follow up appointments. This could be the modern practice’s saving grace. Most people have ten minutes throughout their day to have a chat on a computer. This saves everyone money, and time.
Following these simple tips can take your practices follow up rates to new heights, and no-show rates to new lows.