By Stericycle Staff | Jul. 26, 2016

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It is an inevitable part of every practice: patients who do not show up for their appointments. Whether it is because of transportation or logistics issues, patients feeling better or too unwell to come in, or just plain forgetting their appointment, no-shows have a huge impact on a practice – as the following post shows.

Financial Cost

Your no-show rate has an obvious impact on your financial bottom line. It’s estimated that no-shows can cost the healthcare industry more than $150 billion a year. If a pediatric practice sees 100 patients a day at an average appointment cost of $125, with a 13% no-show rate, the practice would lose $32,500 each month! The cost implications for practices who see more than 100 patients a day and who have appointments worth more than $125 are even greater. But no-shows have significant revenue impacts for all practice sizes!

You know better than anyone that certain appointments require valuable and often limited capacity equipment. Every time one of these resources goes unused or is wasted after being prepared for a patient who “no-shows”, you lose revenue for your practice.

How to calculate the financial cost of a no-show:

Take your average number of patients you see a month, multiply by your average no-show rate, and multiply that number by your average cost of an appointment. Don’t worry if that number is disturbing – there is hope.

Read how Cardiovascular Institute of the South reduced their no-show rate by 25% and saw 300 more patients monthly, resulting in an increase in revenue of $147,688 a month!

Operational Cost

When a patient doesn’t show up for his appointment, it creates an inaccurate schedule full of holes. This makes it next to impossible to build reliable staffing schedules. Unreliable schedules result in decreased provider and resource productivity – the practice is not operating at full capacity. Read our case study on how Dent Neurology was struggling to build reliable schedules that resulted in wasted resources and revenue.

Staff may also spend time trying to book another patient to fill the appointment time, which takes time away from other tasks. Your staff might even resort to double-booking, a tactic that we’ve already established almost always has a negative impact on your practice.

Patient Cost

For patients who do show up on time for their appointments, they may experience longer wait times if the schedule was overbooked in an effort to eliminate wasted resource, or if staff decide to wait for the no-show patient to arrive. Furthermore, long wait times can be a result of poor staffing models. If you staffed expecting your typical 15% no-show, but on this day you only had a 5% no-show rate, your patients would feel the burden just as much as your staff do.

Additionally, no-shows also restrict access to care because the practice’s schedule, and therefore capacity for new patients, is not reliable. Patients could wait weeks for an appointment slot that ends up being available due to a no-show. Learn how Madison Avenue Radiology was able to go from 800 of their 1,000 patients a month showing up to 925 patients showing up.

It’s not new news, patient no-shows are costly in more than one way, but there is good news. There are solutions available to help you solve for all of these costs.

Instead of going the route of overbooking appointments or spending precious office hours making manual reminder calls, use automated appointment reminders to reduce your no-show rate.

PatientPrompt offers automated (no staff time required!) appointment reminders delivered through email, voice call, or text message. Patients can confirm their appointments easily or contact your office to make other arrangements. Since the platform integrates with your practice’s EHR, your schedule is instantly updated. This allows you to see your confirmed schedule in real-time, helping you improve your schedule accuracy and staffing decisions.

It really is that easy! Let us show you how.


Stericycle Staff

Author: Stericycle Staff

Stericycle has been delivering communication services to North American companies for over 25 years. Since 2011, we’ve been blogging about how to deliver best-in-class communications to patients and consumers – providing practical advice and current best practices for both healthcare and commercial organizations. We hope you enjoy and keep reading!
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