Creating an exceptional experience for your patients involves convenient and efficient scheduling. Having a fine-tuned scheduling process will increase the likelihood of patients showing up for all visits, improving the profitability of your practice.
Here are some tips for smarter scheduling. Be sure to share these strategies with your office manager and front desk team.
1. Schedule First-Time Patients Within 24-48 Hours
Getting a patient to call your practice for treatment is a huge win, but you need to capture that business fast or else they’ll call the next physical therapy practice on the list. Ask your front desk staff to schedule patients within 24-48 hours of their call. If there isn’t any appointment times available, ask them if they mind being placed on the waiting/cancellation list.
2. Create a Waiting/Cancellation List
Cancellations can be much less frustrating if you have a waiting/cancellation list. Many EMRs have the functionality to create this list and notify patients of the available slot. If your EMR does not have this feature, you can create a spreadsheet your front desk can use to contact patients individually when appointment times become available.
3. Send Text/Email Appointment Reminders
Sending patients text and/or email reminders for their upcoming appointments is a great tool to improve arrival rates. If your software allows you to Include a link that patients can click on to cancel or reschedule their appointment times is even better. If your practice struggles with high cancellation/no-show rates, try sending reminders 2 times, once a week prior and again 24 hours prior to the patient’s appointment. You can increase the frequency of reminders until you find what works best for your business.
4. Schedule 100% of Appointments Per Plan of Care
A patient is more likely to make all their appointments if they can schedule them all at once. Scheduling appointments one at a time makes managing the scheduling difficult. If a patient’s plan of care calls for 2 visits per week for 3 weeks, get all 6 appointments on the schedule and automate appointment reminders with your EMR or third-party software. Scheduling per plan of care also helps to ensure the patient gets frequent visits to coincide with the plan of care and avoid any lapse in treatment.
5. Verify Returning Patient Information
When a patient returns to your practice for a different injury, your front desk should be reverifying their information regardless of how long it’s been since their last visit. Ask the patient if their insurance company or subscriber has changed. Never assume the patient has the same insurance or co-pay, spending the extra time to reverify the information on file will decrease the likelihood of denials and unexpected financial responsibility for the patient.
Cancellations and no-shows are unavoidable in a rehab therapy private practice but there are plenty of solutions to reduce the frequency in which they happen. If you struggle with high cancellation and no-show rates, give us a call at 508-422-0233 for a strategy call.