By Stericycle Staff | Jul. 13, 2016

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Most practices are guilty of it. Many believe it saves time and money. Some even believe it will help reduce no-show rates.

What is it? Overbooking.

It happens in offices and practices across the world: you worry about your no-show problem, so you overbook for certain appointment slots, hoping that if one patient doesn’t show up, you have another lined up and ready to go. We understand your logic behind this practice. No-shows are a pain, and overbooking gives you an opportunity to make up that lost revenue. It all makes total sense, right?

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that idea has been proven wrong. Studies show that while overbooking often increases expected profit, patient no-show rates actually increase more with overbooking. This is because overbooking increases the wait time in the office to see a doctor. The average wait time to see a provider is 22 minutes, and overbooking can increase this dramatically. It has also been shown that patient satisfaction scores drop every 5 minutes they spend in the waiting room. Rather than fixing your no-show problem, by overbooking, you’re actually making it worse!

The good news? There are solutions that alleviate the need for overbooking: appointments. Instead of planning for patients to miss their appointment, make sure they don’t. Appointment reminders are proven to reduce no-show rates and make schedules more reliable – in one orthopedic clinic, they reduced the no-show rate by 13.7%, and in another instance, a large neurology practice was able to use their reports from their appointment reminder solution to create a more efficient staffing model.

PatientPrompt is an automated appointment reminder solution that was built with reducing no-shows in mind. PatientPrompt reminders always ask the patient to confirm the appointment within the reminder and updates your schedule in real-time so you can plan for that patient. Appointment reminders are available in emails, texts, and professionally recorded voice calls to your patients to ensure that they receive the reminder. The system allows users to design an escalating protocol or reminder delivery schedule that meets organizational and patient needs. For example, a practice with a significant no-show rate may need to send an email reminder 5 days before the appointment, a voice call reminder 2 days before the appointment and a text the day before to ensure they’ve exhausted all possible opportunities to ensure patients show up. Flexibility and customizations are essential to lowering no-shows and taking the guesswork out of your schedules. Know who is going to be there and who needs to reschedule before the time of the appointment!

Don’t waste any more of your time or your patients’ time with overbooking – give us a call today.

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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