The problem of patient no-shows is every medical practice’s problem. The average in US is around 10%. Just to put things in perspective, if you see 30 patients every day, then 3 of them will not show up for their appointments.
Huge Financial Losses
Essentially, this means around 15 no-show patients per week. But keep in mind that when a patient fails to show up for an in-practice appointment you lose both time and money. Physicians usually block 30 minute windows and charge about $150 per visit. A patient no-show means losing out on those 30 minutes and $150 potential revenue. If you are a single or group practice, even this small loss becomes a significant revenue loss while aggregated all year-round.
Let me show you a little math-
The bottom line: no-shows cost practices a lot of money!
Extraordinary Legal Risks
Patient no-shows not only have financial implications, but also severe legal risks too. Believe it or not, patients who miss their appointments can create far bigger problems than you might imagine. If a medical practice fails to follow-up with their no-show patients, they might face serious allegations, including failure to diagnose, delay in diagnosis or negligence.
The matter could get worse if there is a risk to patient’s health at-hand. For example, if there is a no-show for a scheduled follow-up visit, and it turned out to be a critical health issue later, you are in trouble if you didn’t follow up back on it with the patient.
In such a situation, the legal system looks at questions like,“How much did you really know about the patient’s health condition?”
As a rule of thumb, medical practices should always follow up with patients who don’t show up and try to document the reason of no-show. It is an important risk mitigation aspect. Moreover, the practice should try to see such patients again, with records demonstrating such efforts were made.
This scenario may sound unfair to medical practices and patient who fail to show up. However, it is still best to follow-up with patients rather than face the liability.
How to overcome these issues?
First and foremost, it is important that medical practices give plenty of reminders to patients. The problem is patient appointments are scheduled over a period of weeks or months in advance, and the reminders are sent immediately after the follow-up is scheduled. By the time reminders are due, patients frequently have forgotten about the follow-up visit. The reminders must be sent just before the day of the appointment, within a window of 24-48 hours prior to the appointment.
Text messages and human phone calls are more effective reminders than automated bot calls. Don’t forget that your patients are human. Lastly, if the patient fails to show-up, don’t forget to follow-up and record your effort.
Isn’t this all so complex? Well, unfortunately it is and it consumes lots of resources and time. So, what shall you do?
You should think of a solution such as Klara for following up with your patients. Using Klara, you can schedule online appointments with your patients. This means your patients can now consult you online. For patients, it means there is no commute or waiting time! Given the convenience of Klara, patient response rate increases drastically and if there is a no-show you can simply follow-up with the patient using a secure and smart communication channel. Most importantly, you efforts are digitally recorded.
Klara intelligently sends reminder to the patients; not only before the online appointment date, but also after it is overdue. In case, your patient still fails to respond to the online appointment, Klara’s patient care team personally calls the patient on your behalf in order to check with the patient. All in all, Klara brings you financial benefits and flexibility and improves your patient satisfaction. Most importantly, Klara keeps your legal risks at bay!