6 Strategies to Help Patients Keep Their Appointments

It’s no secret that keeping appointments is a challenge for many patients. According to statistics, about one-third of all appointments are missed or canceled. This can be costly for both the patient and the provider. This article discusses strategies to help patients keep their appointments.

1. Implement Proactive Scheduling

Proactive scheduling is calling patients a few days in advance to remind them of their upcoming appointment and confirm that the time and date are still convenient for them. Health can send appointment reminders via text or email. This works for small healthcare services that can take the time to contact each patient individually. For example, a solo physician or a dentist appointment. Big healthcare facilities can use a voice broadcasting service to automate calls and messages to be sent to patients. Voice broadcasting services will allow you to record a message and send it to a large group of people at once. This is a great way to remind patients of upcoming appointments or follow up on missed appointments. Voice broadcasting is a cost-effective way to reach out to patients. It’s important to remember to include any essential details about the appointment, such as the date, time, and location.

2. Offer Virtual Appointments

With the COVID-19 pandemic, many providers switched to virtual appointments. This is an excellent option for patients who have trouble keeping track of their appointments or live far away from the provider’s office. Virtual appointments can be done over the phone or through video conferencing software like Skype or Zoom.

Some patients might resist virtual appointments because they’re not familiar with the technology or prefer in-person visits. It’s essential to explain the benefits of virtual appointments and how easy they are to use. You can offer a trial period where the patient can try a few virtual appointments before making a decision.

3. Keep a Telehealth Waitlist

When using a virtual appointment system, you can keep a waitlist of patients who want to be seen as soon as possible. This is useful for patients with urgent needs or last-minute cancellations. When a patient cancels their appointment, the provider can offer the spot to someone on the waitlist. This helps the provider who can still see patients, and the patient doesn’t have to wait for a last-minute appointment.

Telehealth waitlists are first-come, first-serve. Patients who are proactive about their health are more likely to get an appointment sooner. You can promote your telehealth waitlist on your website or social media to encourage patients to sign up.

4. Offer Ride Service

When transportation is a barrier to appointments, you can offer ride services. This could be through a rideshare program like Uber or Lyft, or you could have your fleet of vehicles. You can partner with a local taxi company.

Ride services benefit patients who live in rural areas or don’t have access to public transportation. You can promote your ride services on your website or social media or include information about them in appointment reminders. Offering ride services make it easier for patients to get to their appointments and ensure they don’t miss out on essential healthcare.

5. Incentives

An incentive is something that motivates someone to do something. Incentives can be a great way to encourage patients to keep their appointments. Be sure to choose an incentive appealing to your patient population. Examples of incentives include gift cards, gas cards, or even lottery tickets. In healthcare facilities, appropriate incentives can be a discount on services or something as simple as a free coffee.

These Incentives can be given to patients when they make their appointment, show up for their appointment, or refer someone else to the practice. This is a great way to show your patients that you appreciate their business and are willing to go the extra mile to help them get the care they need.

6. Schedule Appointments at a Time that’s Convenient for the Patient

People love the feeling of acknowledgment. Scheduling appointments at a convenient time for the patients is a way of doing just that. This could be first thing in the morning or later in the evening when they’re done with work. It could also be on the weekend.

When patients feel their time is being respected, they’re more likely to respect yours and show up for their appointment. Many practices offer extended hours to accommodate patients’ schedules. This is especially true for working patients who may have difficulty getting to appointments during regular business hours.

Health appointments are essential, but they can be challenging to keep track of. Patients with busy schedules or transportation problems can miss their appointments, which can be frustrating for the patient and the provider. But, preventative care can help patients avoid serious health problems down the road, so it’s essential to ensure they keep their appointments. 

These strategies are designed to help improve the likelihood that patients will keep their appointment with you. The most important thing is to be flexible and understanding. Being understanding and accommodating shows that you care about your patients and want to help them. By respecting the patient’s time, providing reminders, and offering incentives, you can create a system that works for the healthcare facility and the patient.


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