Typical no-show rates in outpatient clinics are between 10-20%, with higher rates for follow-up appointments. Some patients decide not to attend scheduled appointments because they don’t think it’s necessary, or because it’s not convenient to come into the office. Others just forget the appointment was scheduled in the first place. Whatever the reason, no-shows diminish practice efficiency and cost providers money. Practice time, resources and revenue are all at risk.
No shows happen for a number of reasons. Patients that work full time often have conflicts arise unexpectedly that take priority over an appointment booked over the lunch hour. Busy families may be reluctant to pile the kids in the family SUV. To others the prospect of fighting traffic, sitting in a waiting room, seeing the doctor for ten minutes and then rushing back to work in unappealing
Most patients associate a visit to the doctor with high costs and long waits. In today’s world of on-demand services, asking customers to wait is no longer an option.
No-shows impact practices in two ways. First, and most obvious, is the lost revenue from the visit, along with the opportunity cost of the empty appointment slot which could have been filled by a patient that attended the appointment. Second, and harder to quantify, is the drag on practice staff and resources. Time spent calling out to absent patients could be better spent with patients or on other important administrative work.
Each missed appointment costs the practice about $100. Assuming a 10% no-show rate, in a practice that sees 25 patients per day, that’s $1,250 per week in lost revenue. Annually no-shows would cost this practice $65,000 – roughly equivalent to a full time Nurse Practitioner.
Practices that experience high no-show rates may try to offset missed appointments by scheduling extra appointments in proportion to the no-show rate. For instance, a practice that sees 100 patients a day with a 10% no-show rate will schedule ten extra appointments per day.
The problem with this tactic, especially in smaller and mid-sized practices, is that no-shows do not happen at regular intervals. They may be clustered in the morning, or on a certain day of the week. Over-booking causes long waits for the patients that do show up, reinforcing the notion that a visit to the doctor means a long wait. Patient loyalty is vital to smaller independent groups, and one bad experience can cost the practice a long-term patient.
Many practices call ahead or use automated reminders to engage with patients before upcoming appointments. This can be effective but time consuming, especially for smaller practices.
The American Journal of Medicine conducted a study on the effectiveness for different types of reminder calls. This study found high no-show rates of 23.1% in patients that received no call, 17.3% in patients that received an automated reminder, and 13.6% in those that received a phone call from a staff member. However, a small practice that sees 50 patients per day might be paying a staff member for hours of time every single day to reach out to patients ahead of time.
At the end of the day, patients miss appointments simply because it’s inconvenient. That’s why offering options for care delivery that fit the patient’s lifestyle is so important. Today, many patients choose telemedicine technology as an alternative to fighting traffic, sitting in a waiting room full of sick people, all just to speak with the doctor for a few minutes.
The problem for many practices is, that means losing loyal patients to new companies offering on-demand telemedicine services. Patients see a doctor they’ve never seen before, with little or no access to their medical records. In most cases, these on-demand video visits are paid for out of pocket. Patients are actively choosing to pay more for a telemedicine visit with a doctor they’ve never seen before than an in-person visit to their doctor.
With Chiron Health, practices can offer the convenience of video-visits to new and existing patients. The good news: Chiron Health video-visits have an overall no-show rate of less than 5%. Visits are covered exactly as they would be in person; patients just pay the normal co-pay. Given a choice between paying $50 out of pocket to see a provider they’ve never seen before who has no access to their health records, or paying the normal co-pay to see their trusted physician, wouldn’t they choose the latter every time?
Chiron Health makes it easy to reduce no shows by offering a convenient option for follow-up and minor-urgent care. Our platform plugs directly into your existing EMR and scheduling system, and best of all, you can be reimbursed the same as if the patient came into the office.