Patient Appointment No-Shows: Is Overbooking The Answer

August 20th, 2011

Although the rates can vary significantly , patient appointment no-shows are a problematic issue for many health care organizations and medical practitioners. Not only do they reduce productivity and so revenue, when the percentages are high no-shows can have a notable affect upon overall efficiency – Even resulting in increased health care costs for patients. Overbooking is often used as a way to counteract the negative effects of no-shows: And many have found this can significantly increase productivity. However, it can also increase the time patients are left in the waiting room: As well as result in overtime for staff – Which can be costly either way.

So how can this ´trade-off´ be avoided? If at all. How can a medical practice deal with no-shows cost effectively without affecting patient care and services. Over booking patient appointments can work with regards to reducing the cost of missed appointments. However, the cost of overtime and unhappy patients is not always ´cost-effective´in the long term.

Appointment Scheduling Software
While certain aspects of overbooking are positive in many ways this strategy does not resolve the problem of patient appointment no-shows: When all the patients arrive for their scheduled appointment another problem is created. Medical appointment scheduling software has proven to have a positive impact upon the efficiency of medical practice management overall. Not only can automated scheduling alleviate the pressure on the front desk by dealing with appointment scheduling, it can also ensure patient appointment reminder calls are made routinely. Reminder calls have proven to reduce no-show rates. The reason why they are not made is usually time: Staff simply do not have time. By utilizing a professional medical appointment scheduling system productivity can be increased without risking long patient waiting times or overtime.

Stay On Track
A tight ship keeps overall medical practice management running efficiently – It keeps things on track which is important for any sized health organization; although particularly for larger organizations; which is probably why so many are switching over to automated systems. Keeping track of patient appointments can also help to reduce no-shows. Advanced appointment scheduling software can provide the data needed to keep track of ´problem´patients: Those who persistently miss scheduled appointments – Allowing repeatedly offending patients to be dealt with individually. In addition, seasonal patterns can be addressed.

Overbooking can be a cost effective solution for some medical practices. However, if it is not working for you then it might well be time to try something else: To which medical appointment scheduling software might well be the´right´something else…

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