One of our eye care provider group customers was facing a high no show rates within its patient population. While they didn’t really have their no show taste pinned down, they were already aware of the challenges they were facing with their no show rates.
To combat their challenge with no show patients, the practice personnel had started to overbook patients. This is very much in line with what other practices were doing as well. It’s considered an industry practice. However, the approach typically leads to a “feast or famine” patient flow. Many a time, overbooked patients actually did show up. This led to extreme crowding in the waiting rooms. This in itself had patients extremely unhappy with the long wait times.
Unhappy patients invariably led to them misbehaving with the practice staff. Unhappy patients also led to no reviews. In some cases, this led to the practice getting bad google reviews as well.
Finally, practice management was also having trouble forecasting revenues due to the variances in patient visit volumes.
When we first engage with this eye care customer, we ran some analytics on their appointments over a period of 12 months. We discovered:
- no show rates were at 35%. Out of 10 patients, about 3.5 didn’t show up
- Overbooking was done at approximately 50% (higher than needed)
- No shows were primarily in the mid day timeframe
- Appointment reminders were sent automatically from the EMR but no one tally monitored the patient responses, not took any additional steps to ensure that the patient was truly engaged and did actually show up
It’s an established fact that half the patients in most EMRs are landline numbers. EMRs send appointment reminders via text messaging. These don’t reach the patient’s landline.
NisosHealth patient contact center team instituted “appt reminders” that were multi-touchpoints and multi-channel. We sent reminders on a cadence of 7 days before the appointment, 3 days before and finally, on the day of the appointment.
We ended up using EzWebTexting to send patients text confirmations, reminders. For landlines, we dialed them automatically and still allowed the patients to press 1 to speak with someone from the patient contact center team immediately.
This alone reduced the no shows to < 20% (50% reduction)