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Ending No-Shows…Tech May Help Maximize Patient Reliability

Appointment no-shows are a frustrating reality for many medical practices. A recent article published in Medscape looked at the current trends for getting patients in the door. The typical methods for reminding patients, such as mailed appointment reminders, personal and automated phone calls, fees for missed appointments, overbooking, or some combination can be helpful, but some early adopters of more modern tools say they are helping them reduce their no-show rates.  The new world of appointment reminders include texted reminders and patient self-scheduling. The Cleveland Clinic has introduced a text-based system that uses an opt-in approach. Eric Lozier, who oversees the clinic’s texting program, says texting is invaluable because it represents a two-way conversation. “It’s more than an appointment reminder. It’s really an appointment confirmation system, because the patient is responding and saying yes, they’re coming.” However, programs such as this one are difficult to apply broadly because the opt-in approach may end up saddling patients with fees from their texting service. Lozier states that texted appointment confirmations are sent for only about 1000 of the Clinic’s 30,000 daily appointments. Of the 1000 texts sent, roughly 600 patients confirm and some 40-50 cancel.

Online schedule or patient self-scheduling are two other tools that may help encourage kept appointments. Accenture estimated that in 2014 patients self-scheduled only 2.4% of the 11% of appointments that could be self-scheduled. Thanks to consumer demand and emerging technologies, by the end of 2019, Accenture predicts that nearly 38% of patient appointments—almost 986 million—will be self-scheduled. Other bonuses of using a patient-directed scheduling system is the availability of the system after business hours. When patients have the convenience to do their own scheduling, show rates soar.

 

Byline: Martha L. Sikes, MS, RPh, PA-C

Posted: October 31, 2016

Source: Medscape
Adapted from the original article.

[Image: Pixabay / Geralt]




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