Many factors can prevent patients from attending essential healthcare appointments, such as fear, a busy schedule, forgetfulness, ignorance, or poor communication. However, it is a medical practice’s responsibility to encourage its patients to schedule appointments when they are sick, injured, or worried about a potential health issue.
Don’t allow a patient to fall through the cracks. Read the following five tactics to encourage patients to attend appointments.
- Introduce a Patient Engagement Solution
It is common for patients to forget about making a follow-up appointment or returning a practice’s phone call. Rather than losing a patient, introduce a patient engagement solution from Brevium (https://www.brevium.com) to encourage their return. The customized system will allow you to reactivate patients by sending communications via text, live calls, auto-calls, emails, or postcards.
- Create a Cancellation Policy
Prevent no-shows and cancellations by creating an effective cancellation policy. Many practices make it too easy for patients to cancel an appointment at the last minute. While caring for patients’ health is its primary goal, missed appointments can slow down medical care for other patients who need a diagnosis and treatment.
Make it harder for your patients to cancel by setting strict rules for cancelation or no-shows. For example, inform them they will be unable to make an appointment for three or more weeks if they cancel at the last minute. Even if they still cancel, they will be less likely to do so in the future. The policy will inform them that the practice’s time is valuable and there are repercussions for wasting it.
- Optimize Waiting Times
The last thing a patient wants is to wait longer than necessary for a scheduled appointment, especially as they might feel worried about a health condition or are struggling with an illness. Prevent frustration or losing patients by attempting to improve your practice’s patient flow. Optimize each doctor’s schedule to ensure they can meet patients’ needs while preventing delays.
- Improve the Patient Experience
A friendly, relaxed, and welcoming environment will allow patients to enjoy attending the practice, even when they feel under the weather. For example, provide an attractive interior, comfortable seats, and entertainment, such as a TV, up-to-date magazines, or daily newspapers.
Patients who develop a genuine rapport with staff and feel welcome are more likely to schedule follow-up appointments and less likely to cancel or be a no-show. Encourage your employees to greet every patient with a smile, project a friendly yet professional demeanor, and go above and beyond to support the patient experience.
- Schedule Appointments In-Person
In addition to sending appointment reminders and engagement messages from the practice, encourage your staff to schedule follow-up appointments with patients before they walk out the door. It will prevent a patient from forgetting to schedule another important appointment or tests that could protect their health. Plus, they are more likely to remember an appointment made face-to-face with a staff member over a follow-up scheduled via a website or phone call. Having friendly and welcoming staff in your reception area is going to aid this process.