Patients unable to keep their appointments, No-Shows that is, and those who cancel their appointments late pose a lot of challenge to their Providers where the Medical Practice Front-Desk Staff typically has to work hard to fill the slots that open up as a consequence. The result mounts to inefficiencies that by some account costs the U.S. health-care system more than $150 billion a year! Yes, you read that number right. It is a BIG enough number to stir one’s mind. Unfortunately, however, this statistic is at least four years old and the actual cost, in fact, could be higher!
Let’s put this inefficiency into perspective. A typical Pediatric Clinic in winter season has its office waiting room filled with sick kid patients accompanied by their parents. A single Physician in such a Practice could see dozens of patients daily experiencing a no-show rate of less than 5%. This no-show rate does not seems to bother the Practice Administrators and Staff as there are always more patients waiting to be seen by doctors. The demand in such case definitely surpasses supply and the Practice Staff do not have to bother themselves with the burden of filling empty appointment slots as those slots almost always get filled by other patients.
However, some urban family clinics along with certain outpatient and surgical clinics face no-show rates that can be as high as 50%! For a specialty surgical clinic, for example, which only schedules say on average 10 patients on a given day, a no-show by 4 or 5 patients (40-50%) could pose a serious dent on the Clinic’s revenue and would force the Clinic Staff to resort to measures that would require them to spend extra time to find patients who could fill those slots, which in all honesty, might not be practical enough to realize.
Take, for example, a 70 year old woman patient who requires a non-surgical endoscopic procedure (Colonoscopy) to examine her digestive tract for evaluation of Polyps (growths in the colon). The patient’s preliminary medical profile and historical health factors diagnosis is deemed as high-risk for possible development of Colorectal Cancer which is the third leading cause of cancer deaths among American men and women. The test requires the patient to limit or eliminate high-fiber foods for a few days before the colonoscopy and take laxatives by mouth to clean out the colon. It might also require prescribing the patient a clear-liquid diet for a day before the procedure to ensure further cleansing of the bowel for the procedure to be considered successful. The point here is that prepping for a Colonoscopy procedure is not as simple as one might imagine and if the patient could not follow the strict preparation guidelines for whatever reason or becomes afraid of the procedure then she could easily decide to cancel right on the day of the procedure or in the worst case might not show up at all (a no-show).
A patient missing her appointment in such a case might not necessarily have a conflict. However, her missing an appointment got another patient bumped out of the slot that was not utilized, resulted in undue and extra work required by the Clinic’s Staff, and caused revenue loss to the Clinic and the healthcare system. A single no-show does not stop there as the patient missing an appointment in most cases could result in a further deterioration in health down the road causing unnecessary strain on the patient as well as the healthcare system when the medical conditions worsen requiring admission to urgent and acute care facilities.
At AppointmentNotify, our aim has been to devise a practical solution to the problem of no-shows and late cancellations that helps both Patients as well as their Providers. We figured that the solution to this problem cannot be optimal unless both Patients and their Providers share the burden of responsibility of honoring an appointment. With this in mind, we set out to identify the needs of both these stakeholders and how we could best serve those needs using a technology solution. Our goal has been to offer a solution that is simple to use and balanced enough to let both Patients and their Providers engage better with access to each other to establish a long lasting and healthy relationship for both. We hope you like our approach when you eventually get to see and use the solution after launch!
To Health & Happiness,
From the Team @AppointmentNotify