8 Ways to Decrease Patients No-Show Appointments

Ways to Decrease Patients No-Show Appointments

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Decrease Patients No-Show Appointments or 11th-hour cancellations is a major problem for healthcare providers, it is a waste of time, resources, and money. There’s no way around them entirely, but there are some practical steps that practices can take to keep them to a minimum. If you offer the best healthcare in the whole world, it doesn’t mean anything if you can’t get the patients to your clinic door.

Patient no shows are very common in healthcare, with rates ranging from 10% to 30% in any given practice. Even appointments at Tele-health services like Hucu’s Secure Video Conference, experience patient “no-shows’  There are a number of reasons why people don’t show up to appointments. To do it right, you’ll have to continuously test different ways to see what resonates best with your patients.

The first thing you can do to combat no-shows is simply improving patient communication. 

Here are some tried and true best practices for reducing the number of no-shows.

Communicate Reminders in the Method the Patient Prefers

Telephone appointment reminders never hurt, but some patients are more likely to pay attention to a text like Hucu’s Most Secure Messaging App. Although it adds a bit of complexity, choosing the reminder method that the patient prefers can have a big impact on reducing no-shows. 

Everyone has a preference on how they communicate. For instance, I bet you could list off a handful of people you know who don’t like texting right now. On your other hand, you could list a vast number of people who live on their smartphones.

This shows you that people have different communication preferences. While trying to decrease patient no-shows, take this into account. When someone schedules an appointment with you, ask them their preferred method of communication. They’ll be glad to tell you and much more receptive of appointment  reminders catered to their preference. If you send reminders without asking about preference, you’re losing money.

Decrease Patients No-Show Appointments

By offering multiple methods of communication, like Hucu’s Most Secure Messaging App with , Secure Video Conferencing. Two-way texting is the best way to communicate with your patients. Within seconds you can have a conversation without having to pick up the phone. You will notice an immediate drop in patient no-shows. This really works when you ask them how they prefer to communicate. A study published way back in 2004 found that the no-show rate of those who received text or email reminders decreased by 35%. That study’s almost twenty years old and still holds relevance today.

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However, you must not overdo it with appointment reminders. If you send too many through multiple mediums, it gets overwhelming and could have a negative impact. You need the perfect mix of reminders sent at the right frequency with the preferred method.

Give them Strong Reasons for Follow-up Visits

To avoid a no-show, you can begin when the appointment is scheduled. If the visit is to be a follow-up, be sure to communicate the reason that an appointment is necessary, what will be discussed, and what additional actions can be expected. People are more likely to come to a follow-up appointment even if they are feeling better if they have a clear understanding of why it is important.

Implementation of Telemedicine Program

Although no-shows and cancellations are a big pain for practices, there are many true challenges that can make getting into the healthcare provider’s office difficult for patients. Missing time from work, finding child care, and wasting time or money in traffic are real-world concerns that lead to missed appointments. One way to take these burdens off patients is to implement a telemedicine program. Visits via video apps like Hucu’s Secure Video Conference are most efficient and are much easier, quicker, and less expensive for patients. Plus medicines can now be delivered by any delivery service and many pharmacies have easy-to-use virtual programs.. 

Keep a Tele-health Waitlist

If someone missed their appointment or informs you that they need to reschedule, your practice has an opportunity to fill the empty slot with someone on a waitlist. This list further protects your practice’s revenue.

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How can you make such a Tele-Health Wait List?

Stay in consistent contact with your clients and ask them the days of the week and times they’re usually available. That way, you might be able to avoid a no-show. If someone doesn’t show up for their appointment, check that list and reach out to the patients and see if they’re available for a Tele-health (Secure Video Conference) check-up.

Tele-health provides instant accessibility. In other words, it allows your clients to show up to the last-minute appointment without any added delays or stress. Not to mention, it also boosts your practice’s overall patient experience due to its convenience.

Using your daily appointments and “on-call” Tele-health schedule in tandem establishes a process that allows your team to fill in empty spots quickly upon no- shows. Not only that, but it also helps your patients keep their appointments even if they can’t show up in person.

Don’t Overbook, Keep a Slim Waiting Room

Your cancellation policy will ask patients to respect your time by giving notice if they have to cancel, it is reasonable for them to expect that your office will respect their time by minimizing the time they have to wait to be seen. This is another benefit of a Tele-Health program (Secure Video Conference), which tends to lead to shorter wait times for the patients who do need to come into the office. If the office is running behind for some reason, be sure to communicate that to patients so they know what to expect.

Unfortunately, most people don’t want to come to the doctor with the same level of excitement as going to watch a movie. That’s what makes it so vital for you to ensure you’re not overbooking your waiting room.

People often evaluate what’s valuable for their time .This is especially true in healthcare. A qualitative study found that 44% of patients view long appointment wait times as a sign of disrespect. A study found that the majority of people get agitated when it takes 30 minutes or longer for seeing the doctor. Keeping up to date with the latest techniques to speed up your waiting room.

See also  What is V1C (Virtual First Care)?

Identify Patients Who Regularly Miss Appointments

Make sure to identify the patients who are regularly no-shows or cancellations for their appointments. You may need to understand and remove the barriers that keep them unreliable They may also need a reminder about your cancellation policy. In extreme cases, it may make sense to discharge a patient who habitually misses appointments due to carelessness, but often there is a way to solve the challenge and turn the situation around.

Make Easy Rescheduling and Cancellation of Appointment process

Patients should understand how to cancel an appointment in advance or how to reschedule it. The more ways that they can do so, the more likely you are to get the notice that you need it. Online scheduling tools help, especially when used in conjunction with electronic appointment reminders via Secure Messaging App.

Don’t Schedule Appointments Too Far in Advance

If a patient needs to come in for a check-up in six months, you might consider waiting until closer to the due date to schedule an appointment. A lot about a person’s schedule can change in that amount of time and people are much more likely to forget about something that far away.


There are a number of reasons why patients do not show up to appointments, and there are real impacts on both health outcomes and your practice’s bottom line. The reality is you, as a care team member, have very little control over when and if a no-show occurs.

Building strong relationships can help you avoid the unfortunate situation of a patient cancelling at the last minute or not showing up at all. Equipping your care team with the right communication and scheduling tools can make all the difference.

The best thing you can do is have processes in place to help reduce no-shows and also have back up plans to fill the schedule if a patient cancels. 

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