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8 Secrets for Reducing Patient Appointment Cancellations and No Shows


It’s no secret that cancelled appointments are a cause of frustration to every practice. Everyone has their own plans, convincing your patients to strict to appointments, for routine and non-urgent visits can be a challenging task. Approaching work deadlines, social commitments and family obligations can all seem prime important in patients’ minds than a routine dental hygiene appointment.

Missed appointments can be harmful to your practice, it can affect your profitability. At the same time, your patients will also suffer by not getting the right care at right time.

If cancelling appointments is common at your dental practice because your patients are busy and unable to manage time, we’ve got 6 tips that can help you improve your show-up rates and also improve your relationship with your patients.

1. Send appointment reminders to patients

Telephonic appointment reminders are most helpful, but many patients prefer a text message or email for reminders. It is a bit complex to choose the reminder method that the patient prefers, but it can greatly reduce no-shows. You can also establish an automated appointment reminding system. This will ensure that your patients are getting reminders without your much involvement.

Also, if you want to know in detail, why your patient are not returning, then read our blog here you can get few main reasons of it.

2. Give them right reasons for follow-up visits

This is an important step to avoid no-show patients. It can begin. If the appointment is to be a follow-up, be sure to tell them the reason why the appointment is necessary. Communicate to them what will be discussed, and what extra actions can be expected. Patients are more likely to come to a follow-up visit if they have a clear understanding of why it is critical.

3. Go for a Telemedicine Program

Though no-shows and cancellations are a big source of frustration for practices, there are many real challenges that can make visiting your dental practice difficult for patients. Finding child care, missing time from work, and wasting time in traffic are practical issues that cause missed appointments. One of the most effective ways to take these burdens off patients is to opt for a telemedicine program. Appointments via video are much easier, faster and comfortable and less expensive for patients. It’ll eliminate multiple reasons patients fail to show up.

4. Implement a Cancellation Policy

It is a good idea to charge a fee for no-shows and last-minute cancellations. Opinions on implementing this option might be different. If you decide to do so, it will be helpful to have a written cancellation policy that every patient will sign. It should reflect the reason clearly that no-shows are bad for dental practice and harmful to patient health outcomes as well. It should ask the patient to give a reasonable notification period if they want to cancel or postpone an appointment.

5. Reduce wait times

Your cancellation policy will tell the patients to respect your time by giving prior notice if they have to cancel the appointment. It is also reasonable for them to expect the same from your side. You can also respect their time by minimizing the wait times. In such a situation, the telemedicine program seems to be effective because it leads to shorter wait times for the patients who don’t feel the need to come to your practice. If your practice is running behind for some reason, don’t forget to communicate the same to the patients so they know what to expect.

6. Identify patients who usually miss appointments

If you want to reduce no-shows in your practice, track no-shows and cancellations. Identify particular patients who frequently miss appointments. Try to find the reason. You may discover a barrier that is restricting them from making it. You may also need to remind them about your cancellation policy. In rare cases, patient habitually misses appointments due to negligence, but often there is a way out to find a solution and turn the situation around.

7. Make it easy to cancel or change an appointment

Patients should have the knowledge of how to cancel an appointment in advance. They should also be given the option to reschedule it. Sincere patients will always inform you in advance.

8. Do not book appointments too far in advance

If a patient wants to come in for a check-up in 6 months, you might be waiting until closer to the due date to book an appointment. A person’s schedule can be changed in that amount of time and also, such things skip from people’s minds when the appointment time is far away.

If want to know more how to keep rolling in patient, then read our blog on 5 smart & effective way to keep patients rolling in.

Final thoughts

If you implement these 8 secrets in your dental practice, you will definitely be going to actively engage with your patients in a fun manner and schedule more appointments in a cost-effective way. You will see an increase in your website traffic to get back your retargeting audience

If you need a dental marketing agency that can help you with an effective marketing plan to book high-quality new patients that respect your time and minimize no-shows then call One Stop Dental Marketing on 1300 867 699.  We also offer PPC, SEO, Website Design, Social media marketing services. Feel free to reach out to us. We are just a call away.

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