Your practice, that is you and your staff, have better things to do than chase phantom patients, abusive patients, non-complaint patients, or free riders.
It does not sound like a lot of fun, but it does not have to feel like a break up either. Analyze your patients’ behavior. Look at you volume to understand how much of it is no shows or cancellations.
A 50 dollar sign for no shows does not really help. Statements like no shows are really bad or cancellations are killing me, is of no use unless you know how often they happen, why, and what can be done to mitigate them.
Start with an analysis. If you do not have an EHR with reporting capability, start there.
When you quantify your no shows and cancellations (throw in there how many time the clinic cancels on patients), look at patterns. Do they happen in certain days of the week more than others? Do they happen with specific providers (or location) than others? Is your practice engaging patients in choosing their appointments or is your staff imposing times?
Another thing you must look at is the frequent flyers. Unless you have plenty of time on hand, and full control over productivity, do not waste time with patients that show up once a year, and do not show 10 other times. Patients that cancel are much better than those who simply do not show up, but keeping one appointment and cancelling 10 year is the same difference.
Now you understand the magnitude of the issue, discuss with your practice manager, partners, and other employees what it all means to the daily work flow. Brainstorm and devise a policy. After so many no shows and so many cancellations, do not be afraid to discharge the patients from your practice.
You have a business to run, and a payroll to honor. Do not feel bad for those who drag down your productivity; feel bad for your team that spins the wheel hard to little avail. Time spent chasing people who cannot keep their appointment is better spent caring for others who need to see the doctor, and to whom you keep saying you are busy.
If your no show rate is 10%, what sense does it make to keep telling potential new patients you are booked for the next 10 months?
You could spend time talking to your no shows and cancelling patients about what is stopping them from keeping their appointments. There are many resources for folks that need transportation, are struggling with their co-pays, or simply always remember their appointment after it passes.
Contact Us for a Free Practice Analysis. You may need help rethinking your processes and reevaluating the tools you have to attain the self-fulfilling career just like you imagined it before. You ow it to your team, and you certainly owe it to yourself.