Physicians consider it unprofessional when their patients do not show up at the appointed time. No-shows tell upon the revenue, wasting not just the physician’s time but also that of the supporting staff. In order to overcome this issue physicians adopt methods like overbooking patient appointments, treating alternative patients, contacting the patient who did not show up etc. However, it is important to understand why some patients do not turn up, so that revenue and time are not lost.
Why don’t patients show up?
In order to fix no-shows, we need to first understand why some patients do not show up. There are several practices that are blissfully unaware of the no-show rate, nor do they spend some time analyzing patient visit statistics to arrive at a pattern. It would do well for practices to understand how great a problem the no-show phenomenon really is and specific instances when patients do not keep their appointments. Keeping track real-time helps in improving the figures in Family practice billing. This is possible only by taking 3 to 6 months data and analyzing it to detect patterns or trends. This will show which physicians suffer from the most number of no-shows, and which type of patients consistently misses their appointments.
Armed with this vital information practices can easily find out the primary causes for no-shows.Check if the front desk is functioning efficiently and remembering to make reminder calls to patients well in advance. The person in charge of scheduling appointments needs to book appointments well in advance. This can help in avoiding the sorry situation where patients are made to wait too long at the office. These reasons can have an adverse effect on the practice as they contribute to more no-shows resulting in loss of revenue for Family practice billing.
Here are some points that indicate reasons for plausible increase in no shows and ways that may help in reducing no shows by patients-
- There is no proper rapport built between the patient and doctor. There may be a string of new patients who believe in visiting different doctors in the same practice, expecting a range of collective opinions in order to choose the best. Some patients feel they do not know their doctor well enough to consider him or her a personal physician. If doctors take a few minutes extra to make conversation and built rapport it will certainly contribute to a reduction in the number of no-shows.
- Patients, more often than not do not realize the value of the services and the importance of the counselling they get during a visit. It pays for a doctor to take time to explain the condition and its seriousness so that the patient understands the vital need for a particular test or an extended course of treatment.
- Some of the patients may have had to wait a very long time to get the appointment. By the time they got the appointment, the need may have ceased to exist and they would not have bothered to even call up and cancel.
- Some patients have had horrid experiences waiting for a painfully long time in the waiting room. Such patients even tend to forget why they are there. Practices would do well to work on reducing wait times and ensure patients have a good experience when they visit for a consultation.
- Sometimes, the front office and other attending practice staff are too obvious in their coldness and do not give a personal touch when dealing with patients. Patients need to feel that they are being cared for right from the office staff level.
- Some patients do have transportation issues, conflicts with other schedules that happen to exist at the same time, forcing them to miss the least important one.
Although some of the reasons are beyond the control of practices and have a direct impact on the Family practice billing, most of the issues can be handled and resolved by the practices. Instead of feeling relieved when a patient does not show up on a particularly busy day, doctors should take no-shows seriously. They should monitor no-shows even when their days are fully occupied, so that in the long run they do not lose precious revenue attributable to no-shows.