Scheduling Nightmares: The Canceling Patient
The Monday morning “huddle” business meeting reveals three possible problematic patients, and your blood pressure begins to rise. Dr. Worry says to the Business Coordinator, “Were these patients confirmed? They all have a history of cancellations so why are they on the same day? Please call them this morning to make sure they are coming.”
The Business Coordinator explains that all were reminded electronically, but only two have officially confirmed by email. The Business Coordinator picks up the phone and calls the unconfirmed patient, only to be told that he had a last minute meeting at work and cannot come. Now her blood pressure rises as she says to the patient, “Mr. Smith, I sent you an email reminder and you are supposed to confirm your appointment when you get it.” Mr. Smith replies, “I intended to come, but I never get notice for these meetings and this is priority.” The Business Coordinator reschedules his appointment, knowing full well this same scenario will most likely be repeated.
Most practices have patients who they cannot count on to keep regularly scheduled appointments. Some have very few and some have many. The practices that have few have a written protocol or system for management of this type of patient. The first contact a new patient has with your office is the time to explain how appointments are handled. This way the patient will understand what is expected of them and what the practice philosophy is in regards to keeping appointments.
The following are some scripts that will help you communicate to your patients the importance of keeping scheduled appointments.
Cancel last minute or same day:
Or for repeated cancellations or no shows:
If you have an opening the next day that you cannot fill, say to that patient: Mr. Brown, could you do me a favor and take the 10:00am that I have open tomorrow? Or, look to see if there is a family member due that could take the patient’s place. If the patient continues to be non-compliant and doesn’t work with you on a better solution, you need to decide whether you wish to keep this patient in the practice.For professional business training, scripting and role playing, sign up today for McKenzie Management training customized to your needs. You can come to us or we can come to you. Details can be found HERE. Forward this article to a friend
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