Endo Mastery

FOUR TIPS TO PREVENT RESCHEDULING, CANCELLATIONS AND NO-SHOWS

Every schedule change requires a scheduling coordinator reaction. Plus, unexpected downtime due to cracked teeth, non-treatment and last-minute cancellations/no-shows can be very frustrating when suddenly there is a big block of open time in the middle of the day.

DEBRA MILLER | DIRECTOR OF COACHING

There are various strategies we teach our coaching clients for filling those open appointments. In this article, however, I want to share four tips on how to prevent rescheduling, last-minute cancellations and no-shows in the first place.

  • Appoint with a specialist mindset: If you begin appointing a patient by asking when it is convenient for them to come in, you are giving patients the impression that your schedule is wide open and flexible. In fact, you want the opposite perception: Patients should feel your time is a valuable opportunity for them. The best approach is to always know when your next available appointment time is before you pick up the phone. Offer the time; if your first option does not work then move to your next preferred option.
  • Appoint as soon as possible: The least amount of time a patient has to wait for an appointment, the happier the patient and referring doctor will be, and the easier it is for the patient to maintain their commitment to the appointment. Your scheduling template should be structured to prioritize patients in pain, productivity goals and referral relationships. Within that context, you want to appoint the patient in the first available appointment that best meets all your scheduling objectives, while reserving time slots for top referring doctors and extreme pain patients.
  • Appoint with value: If patients have any uncertainty about what is going to happen during their appointment such as if diagnosed a root canal will be performed that day, how long it will take, their insurance coverage, and their out-of-pocket fee or copay, then that leads to patient doubt, schedule changes and no-shows. Appointing with value means having a substantive conversation with the patient at the time the appointment is made so they are fully informed and committed.
  • Stop “confirming” appointments: Your practice needs to communicate that appointments are confirmed when they are made. After that point there should be no communication about confirming, rescheduling or cancelling appointments. All those things simply invite patients to change their minds. However, we know our schedule stability improves when we remind patients of their appointment 24 in advance. Call the patient the morning before their scheduled appointment and ask them if they have any questions about their appointment or copay for tomorrow. If you have to leave a message say it is important that they call you back before 5:00 pm so you can speak to them directly.
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With these objectives in mind, you can work toward reducing schedule changes and downtime. For Endo Mastery clients, we go into strategies around these tips in detail when we coach teams on how to communicate about appointments, how to make appointments that patients keep, and how to manage the schedule to achieve more responsive patient care while improving productivity.

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