No matter how hard you try, your chiropractic office will experience no-show appointments at some point. There are a variety of reasons, such as a patient being sick, not having a babysitter for their child, not being able to take off from work, or just forgetting about their appointment. Healthcare clinics and practices experience an estimated 18.8 percent of no-show appointments, which adds up to $150 billion annually. Keep reading for some tips to reduce the number of no-show appointments at your practice, which will save time and money.
Tips to Reduce No-Show Appointments
1. Set Up Appointment Reminders
If you haven’t implemented these methods, appointment reminders are an effective way to help patients keep, remember, and show up for their appointments. There are a few options to do this as mentioned below. It’s a good idea to use a few different notification methods, which will reduce the risk of no-show appointments.
- Appointment Reminder Cards – It’s a good idea to write on physical appointment reminder cards for a patient’s next appointment. This will help them have a visual reminder at home and act as a subtle advertisement for people that come over to your patient’s house. The reminder card should have the day and time of their appointment, who it’s for, what the appointment is for (i.e. maintenance care), and your contact information, including your practice name, address, phone number, hours of operation, email, website, and social media channels.
- Email Reminders – Like a physical card, it’s helpful to receive an email to patients about their upcoming appointments. Inside the email, include a calendar attachment and link. This allows patients to easily add their appointment to their calendar of choice, such as Google Calendar, iCal, or Outlook.
- Phone Calls – For patients that are not tech savvy, they will appreciate a simple phone call reminding them about their appointments. It’s best to call patients a day or two before the appointment, so they are less likely to forget.
- Text Messages – In today’s digital age of smartphones, many patients are more likely to respond to text notifications compared to emails or phones. This is a direct reminder that you can send out one or two days before their appointment. By doing this beforehand, patients have enough time to cancel or reschedule their appointments as needed. You may also send a follow-up reminder the morning of their appointment. Just be careful not to send too many messages, as this can annoy patients.
2. Create a Missed Appointment or Cancellation Policy
Like any doctor’s office, it’s imperative to have a missed appointment or cancellation policy in place. This will let new and existing patients know your rules about no-show appointments. In general, most practices allow their patients to reschedule or cancel their appointments if done 24 to 48 hours before their scheduled appointment. If done outside this timeframe, practices may charge a cancellation fee or suspend a patient after a series of no-shows. Some patients may think this is harsh, but it’s necessary to encourage patients to respect the practice’s time and ability to stay in business.
You should make it easy for patients to understand and remember this key policy. It’s recommended that you include it on new patient paperwork, an office sign, and your website. If it becomes an ongoing issue, consider mentioning it on your social channels and verbally to patients at your office or over the phone.
We hope this article gave you a few pointers for how to deal with no-shows at your practice. It’s never easy to have to penalize your patients for not following your office policies. However, these appointment reminders and policy implementation tips will make it less likely for patients to forget or cancel their appointments at the last minute. If you would like to learn more about how we are helping brand the future of chiropractic, contact Brand Chiro today!