PatientWay Blog

The real cost of no-show patients (warning: it’s worse than you probably think)

Written by Jay Lawrence on March 4th, 2013. Posted in Appointment reminders, Healthcare Technology, Hospital scheduling

Empty waiting room 233x300 The real cost of no show patients (warning: it’s worse than you probably think)

“Mr. Smith? The doctor is ready to see you. Mr. Smith, are you here?”

That lost money could have bought the country:

  • a new hospital, or
  • 115,000 hip replacements, or
  • cataract surgery for 800,000 people, or
  • 110,000 heart bypass operations.

Ouch!

It’s true: no-shows—also known as DNAs (Did Not Attend) and unattended appointments—are extremely costly to healthcare providers.*

Not to mention, an administrative nightmare. Patients who don’t attend their appointments:

  • interrupt the scheduling process,
  • disrupt the healthcare delivery system, and
  • waste administrators’ time trying to track down patients to fill the slot or rearrange bookings.

Benefits of automated appointment reminders

Studies show that automated reminders are an extremely effective way to reduce no-shows.

Not only do these types of reminders help reduce no-shows between 29% and 36%; but the majority of patients actually want to receive automated (email) reminders for preventative and follow-up care.

Ultimately, automated appointment reminder technology can help improve healthcare profits while enhancing patient care and simplifying office workflow:

  • Improved two-way communication. Patients can be informed by phone, email or text about a scheduled appointment, and can easily confirm if they will attend.
  • More advance notice. Patients can give facilities advance notice that they will not be attending—allowing the healthcare facility to fill that timeslot in a more timely manner, and maximize staff on shift.
  • Improved patient health/preventative care. By attending their appointment, patients decrease the chance that they are potentially delaying the identification and treatment of serious health issues.
  • Streamlining daily work for administrators. Automated reminder systems take the manual work out of administrators’ hands. This technology can even provide no-show statistics and analysis, which can then assist administrators with staffing requirements.

Take control of no-shows

A 2011 survey found that text or automated reminders cost less than US$.80 per patient—significantly less than the cost of missed appointments.

At that rate, automated reminder technology is a solid investment that can minimize lost revenue and wasted office time, as well as ensure patients get the best care they need.

* While the NHS represents a multitude of healthcare organizations, single hospitals like this one have lost more than $1 million in revenue due to patient no-shows.

 

Jay Lawrence

Jay Lawrence is the CEO of PatientWay, a leading provider of patient self-service technology and process improvement services.  Jay's vision of bringing measurable cost and time efficiencies to health care organizations, while improving patient and staff satisfaction, is quickly being realized as leading providers such as Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Southlake Regional Health Centre and the Stronach Cancer Care Centre, are just a few of the many that have adopted PatientWay technology. Jay is a recipient of the Ottawa Business Journal's Forty under 40 Award in 2009, Industry Canada Innovation Leader also in 2009, and Chair of the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) Path to Recognition (PTR) National Steering Committee.

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