One of the most common problems doctors want help with is dealing with cancelled or rescheduled appointments. If a doctor’s office has too much of this occurring it can wreak havoc on their daily production. Normally, when this is occurring it is a sign that the receptionist is not properly trained in scheduling appointments, managing the appointment book, or handling cancellations and rescheduling.
When you are getting a high volume of cancellations, you should ask yourself these questions:
- Does your receptionist immediately reschedule a cancelled patient?
- Does your receptionist ask the patient to put the appointment in their calendar, phone, or day planner so they won’t forget?
- Do you keep a record of the reasons behind cancellations for future reference and to implement any needed corrections?
- Do you have any sort of policy regarding cancellations that is part of the “welcome to the practice” information given to patients?
- If you have such policy, do you enforce it?
Here are some other questions you should ask yourself as regards appointment no-shows:
- What actions do you take when someone doesn’t show up for an appointment?
- Do you call the patient after a certain length of time, e.g., 10-15 minutes?
- Do you have any sort of policy regarding no-shows that is part of the “welcome to the practice” information given to patients?
- If you have such policy, do you show it to no-show patients the next time they come into the practice?
The doctors we deal with are all asked these simple questions, and many more, when they are dealing with cancellations, no shows, and reschedules. We recommend that you closely evaluate the management systems and training that you have in place with the staff members involved; then, fix or implement the proper procedures to reduce the amount of patients lost. This normally leads to increased production without any increase in marketing or staff expense, which, of course, leads to greater efficiency and net income in a practice.
If you would like more help dealing with canceled or rescheduled appointments or any other management topic, click here to schedule your 15 minute call online, and we will be more than happy to assist you.
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