AllMeds EHR PM RCM

Every year, the American health care system loses $150 billion to missed appointments. According to Health Management Technology, this equates to approximately $200 in lost revenue per patient no-show.

As pervasive as this problem may appear, independent practices can take tenable steps to protect their revenues from diminishing as a consequence of missed appointments. Apply some of these digital practice management and scheduling tips and techniques to transform lost value into new revenue opportunities.

Preempt Clerical Errors with Central Scheduling

The importance of having a streamlined scheduling process cannot be overstated. Before a practice can tackle the more complex problem of no-shows, they must do everything in their power to preempt clerical errors that may result in a lost appointment slot. According to recent research that appeared in the Clinics in Surgery journal, 10% of missed appointments directly result from clerical errors.

Solving this problem requires a centralized, well-organized scheduling system that is uniquely suited to the nuances of health care. Many clerical errors are simple in their nature: double-booking, accidentally selecting the wrong date, sending an appointment reminder to the wrong contact or through a non-preferred communication channel (e.g., text instead of email). It's crucial that front-desk staff have the ability to manage schedules in a streamlined way that helps to nip these problems in the bud.

Others errors, however, are more complex. Consider what happens if a patient referral or authorization is required for a certain appointment, and a time slot is mistakenly scheduled without verifying that information first. The practitioner loses that appointment and the patient is inconvenienced. Critical pre-appointment data should ideally be verifiable in the same window as your scheduling tool so that your staff don't overlook key details that may disrupt operations later on.

It's also worth pointing out that better scheduling management isn't just about preventing loss; it's also about creating new opportunities to improve patient flow – for example, the ability to assess patient volume on a macro level and find days of greatest availability by scanning a month view of your calendar. This ensures that the front desk never misses a free time slot for patients who are willing to schedule weeks or months in advance. A week view, meanwhile, can ensure that patients who express urgency get slotted into any available appointments for that week.

Practices also benefit from the ability to search schedules by provider. Some patients may have a preference or a need to follow up with a certain physician. Front-desk staff shouldn't have to dig to identify availability for a specific provider. That information should be readily available with just a few clicks. If it's not, then it may be time to renovate your practice management strategy.

Streamline Pre-Appointment Tasks

Another key aspect of patient scheduling is the ability to have a patient-flow view on the same window as your appointment calendar. This is helpful for making sure that a practice has everything it needs to confirm a patient is ready to be seen:

  • Eligibility
  • Estimates for patient cost
  • Referrals and authorizations
  • Up-to-date contact information

The ability to verify the status of this information on one screen simplifies the immense multi-tasking, data entry and the scheduling involved in a front-desk worker's day.

Of course, all of that won't prevent the biggest problem of all when it comes to missed appointments: patient no-shows. As many as 30 percent of appointments can be lost each year in the U.S. as a result of patients simply not showing up at the agreed upon time.

Still, there are a few ways strong practice management interface prevents these no-shows from happening, and they don't add work to office staffs' already full plate:

  • Automatic scheduling verification: Send an email or text message with the click of a button as soon as an appointment is scheduled with a request for confirmation.
  • Automatic appointment reminders: Schedule automated appointment reminders a day or two in advance through a preferred communication method (phone call, SMS, email, etc.). A simple prompt such as, reply with "C" will give the patient an opportunity to confirm. Your patient flow view on the calendar will update accordingly without any intervention.

A little reminder can go a long way.

When All Else Fails, Lean on Your Wait-List

If, despite doing everything, you still get day-of cancelations and no-shows, there's a final measure that can be taken to salvage that time slow: Refer to your wait-list.

During scheduling – whether that happens online or over the phone – patients can indicate interest in coming in sooner than scheduled if possible. Should you receive a cancelation the day before or the day of a visit, you can contact someone on that wait-list.

A tool like AllMed's Specialty Practice Manager will automatically populate a newly erased appointment slot on the calendar with a possible alternative pulled from the wait-list. This makes it easy for staff to fill the gap in the schedule as a last-ditch effort to avoid missing out on revenue.

When life gives you missed appointments, schedule over them.

 

 

 

AllMeds EHR PM RCM

Of course, all of that won't prevent the biggest problem of all when it comes to missed appointments: patient no-shows. As many as 30 percent of appointments can be lost each year in the U.S. as a result of patients simply not showing up at the agreed upon time.

AllMeds Specialty Practice Services

AllMeds Specialty Practice Services

AllMeds Specialty Practice Services

AllMeds Specialty Practice Services