No show appointments negatively impact both patients and providers. Patients that miss one appointment are 70% more likely to not come in for an appointment for an average of 18 months. This length of time can make health concerns chronic in older patients (Jain, 2019).

Why do Patients Miss Appointments?

One of the biggest reasons’ patients miss appointments is because they are not able to commute due to physical or psychological restraints. These individuals need other options for getting quality care like telehealth or home visits.

A study found with control for number of appointments that patients with long-term conditions are more likely to miss appointments. To properly treat and maintain these long-term illnesses it is important for providers to ensure patients come in for appointments. This issue is seen in many patients with mental health conditions (McQueenie et al., 2019). In order to reduce the number of no shows it is also important to know why individual segments miss appointments. For example, older patients should be given morning appointments because they miss appointments in the afternoon due to caring for grandchildren (Jain, 2019).

Providers have to face economic implications due to these missed appointments. A SCI Solutions study found that the US healthcare system loses approximately 150 billion dollars a year due to missed appointments. If a patient doesn’t come in for an appointment the provider still has to pay their staff, rent, and cost of equipment/resources (Jain, 2019).

Other Implications

Alongside the financial implications some doctors believe that no show appointments contribute to increased wait times (Glauser, 2020). These no shows also take the slot of other patients that need the provider’s time. Scheduling for one patient twice reduces how many patients a provider is able to treat.

No show fees for missed appointments is common practice. These can be seen as a punishment for patients. Many receptionists believe that doctors should speak with their patients to address this issue (Husain-Gambles et al., 2004). This intervention can negatively impact the patient-provider relationship. It is important to understand why patients miss appointments and re-evaluate this “offender” mindset.

Solutions

Reminder calls have been used by most providers and are done a day before the scheduled appointment. This isn’t the best option since many patients miss these calls (Jain, 2019). Repeated calls help to ensure the patient answer the call.

Our Reminder feature can be used to send outgoing messages to patients. This app helps lower no shows appointments. The app makes it easy to get in contact with patients and ensure they receive the message. Unlike a call a message can be responded to when patients have time. To learn more about our apps contact us at porton.connect@gmail.com

An added benefit of virtual consultations for patients that have physical burdens is that there is no commute required. Patients who are not able to visit clinics due to the many reasons mentioned will greatly benefit from being reminded through our service alongside the convenience of being able to do the appointments from their home.

References

Glauser, W. (2020, February 10). When patients miss appointments, everyone pays. CMAJ. https://www.cmaj.ca/content/192/6/E149.

Husain-Gambles, M., Neal, R. D., Dempsey, O., Lawlor, D. A., & Hodgson, J. (2004, February). Missed appointments in primary care: questionnaire and focus group study of health professionals. The British journal of general practice : the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1314803/.

Jain, S. H. (2019, October 7). Missed Appointments, Missed Opportunities: Tackling The Patient No-Show Problem. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/sachinjain/2019/10/06/missed-appointments-missed-opportunities-tackling-the-patient-no-show-problem/?sh=4ba6c1bc573b.

McQueenie, R., Ellis, D. A., McConnachie, A., Wilson, P., & Williamson, A. E. (2019, January 11). Morbidity, mortality and missed appointments in healthcare: a national retrospective data linkage study. BMC Medicine. https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12916-018-1234-0.

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