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Friday Oct 19, 2018

Improve preventive care by reducing missed and canceled appointments: four tips

No-shows and canceled appointments represent not only lost revenue but also missed opportunities to help patients manage their health. No-shows are especially problematic for preventive care appointments, which are often scheduled weeks in advance as opposed to the same day.

To improve the rate of successful appointments, practices should consider making four changes:

1. Let patients schedule a preventive visit when it works best for them, whether that is days or weeks into the future or the same day they call. Most practices don’t allow for same-day preventive visits, and the longer the wait for an appointment, the greater the likelihood that patients will forget.

2. Send letters or emails to patients who miss their appointments asking them to reschedule at their convenience. Although this won’t solve the problem of the already missed appointment, it can prevent future missed appointments. Make sure your message features the practice’s phone number or patient portal scheduling address prominently, and use language that isn’t confrontational (e.g., advise the patient of a “missed” appointment, not a “failed” one).

3. Instead of relying only on automated appointment confirmation phone calls, have front-office staff make live “warm calls” the day before the patient’s appointment.

4. If a patient arrives more than 20 minutes late, don't turn the patient away, which may be the last time you see him or her. Instead, have the front office contact the patient’s physician to determine whether he or she can still see the patient.

Adapted from “Remove Roadblocks and Improve Access to Preventive Care."

Posted at 09:00AM Oct 19, 2018 by FPM Editors

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