First of all, let us define and state what an appointment is and the processes that happen before an appointment. An appointment is needed to visit doctors. To meet with a doctor, patients are required to make an appointment beforehand. Then the contact center staff and personnel at the hospital or health care centers deal with booking, re-scheduling/changing, and cancellations. When it is time to meet, appointment reminders for clients are sent to make sure they will not forget about it. This is important so that they can confirm or inform the contact center of any rescheduling or cancellations.
Over the last few years, there has been a growing attention about the no-shows in hospitals. Non-attendance has clinical and economical effects and consequences to the hospitals, and healthcare and medical providers. In fact, across the United States, between 5 and 30 percent of patients don’t show up for appointments. It might seem harmless to miss appointments but every year, these cost providers approximately $150 billion.
Hospitals track appointments misses through collecting data with the variables: class, time, and demographics. Age and distance were also tested as variables but studies showed that it does not have a major effect. Although the research revealed that it is hard to make an accurate and moderate/strong prediction on appointment misses.
As far as the research goes, here are the major findings from the data collected in appointment misses.
- Men are more likely to miss an appointment. They have a 2% higher rate of appointment misses compared to Women.
- Patients that are subsidized are bound to miss more appointments than private patients. However, private patients who are resident foreigners tend to miss 8% more appointments compared to subsidized patients.
- Time is one of the variables that has major effects on appointment misses. Appointments scheduled in the morning and afternoon are not likely to be missed. These are appointments booked from 8 to 9 AM and 12 to 2 PM. These times have a significant less appointment miss rate.
- Age did not have strong major effects because in the research, it was assumed that ages 21 and below are likely to miss appointments but when it was studied the assumption was proved to be wrong.
- The internal referrals from the hospitals from one department to another are significantly higher (10% more) than the average missed appointment rate.
On a personal level, what we can do to avoid appointment misses is to implement or incorporate an appointment reminder in our planning techniques to avoid no-shows or last minute cancellations.
Here are Some Benefits on why Appointment Reminders are Helpful
1. More efficient way to communicate with staff or personnel of where you have an appointment or meeting. Calls are easy to miss but notifications through text or emails are easier to read and go through. First, you can go back to it if you fail to remember important information. Second, it is just there on the notification center for you to read if ever you are busy doing something when you get it.
2. Using appointment reminders can help you plan ahead. Some appointments might require you to bring some documents or papers and appointment reminders have a feature where it can include such details.