NOTE: The following is an excerpt from TeleVox’s report, “Top Challenges for Medical Practices: Results and Observations from the 2015 Practice Readiness Survey”, a survey of nearly 500 healthcare professionals and the common problems of practice management they anticipate to be most challenging in 2015. Download the full report
Thinking about appointment notifications, which of these common problems do you feel will be most challenging to your practice in 2015?
Here is how survey participants responded along with some additional thoughts on the top three ranked answers:
#1 – Lost revenue from broken appointments
Top answer for: Dermatology, Family Practice, Internal Medicine, OB/GYN, Ophthalmology, Urology
Nearly half of survey respondents chose this as their #1 challenge, and it was also the leading response for subsets of respondents in numerous medical specialties. Depending on the size of the practice and appointment volume, no-shows can cost a practice thousands of dollars per week. Appointment reminder strategies that include multiple reminders through multiple communication channels (phone, text, etc.) have proven successful in keeping broken appointments to a minimum.
#2 – Low response to recall efforts
Top answer for: Cardiology, Pediatrics
Recall communications have long proven their value in a medical practice, as relying on patients to remember and schedule these follow-up visits has historically delivered poor results. Aside from being an additional revenue opportunity for the practice, these visits are also critical to the treatment and ongoing health of patients. A focus on consistently connecting with patients about recall visits will play a large role in making sure these appointments happen on schedule.
#3 – Not enough staff time to call patients
Related to #2 above, connecting with patients over the phone has outperformed other contact methods in terms of no-show prevention and appointment scheduling. The trick for practices that chose this as their greatest challenge is finding staff bandwidth to support manual outreach efforts and balancing the communication with other high priority tasks in the practice. More and more organizations have adopted an automated solution to deliver routine communications, including 55% of MGMA’s “better performing” practices. These solutions ensure that important communications are delivered on a consistent basis.
Additional challenges listed:
- Keeping updated patient contact information
- Need a way to reach patients via text message
- Not connecting with enough patients with our reminder phone calls