Why You Should be Focused on Solving Unfilled Cancellations and No Shows Now
Running a physician group can be overwhelming with a seemingly endless list of problems to solve. The question isn't what problems to solve, it's what problem to solve first.
Here are four reasons your physician group should be focused on solving the problems caused by cancellations and no-shows now.
1) Appointments are Foundational
Every problem a group needs to solve is predicated on having appointments. If you don't have appointments then there are no billing problems, IT issues, or MACRA requirements. No appointments mean no practice.
2) The Problem Isn't Recruiting New Patients to Make Appointments
By 2025 there will be a shortage of [90,000 physicians](https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/03/03/u-s-faces-90000-doctor-shortage-by-2025-medical-school-association-warns/?utm_term=.40b50fa82e21 target="_blank"). But forget 2025, there is a shortage now with the average patient waiting 3 weeks for an appointment. This shows that the problem isn't that there aren't enough patients (ie you should focus on recruiting new patients), but the problem is having your patients come in for appointments.
3) Cancellations and No-shows are Directly Impacting your Group Revenue This Second
The impact of many solutions is hard to quantify. For example, a product like Bitbehind that helps providers tell patients when they are running behind schedule will absolutely improve patient satisfaction. However, the quantitative impact on revenue is impossible to directly measure. Cancellations are different. If 1 provider has 1 cancellation and 1 no-show per day go unfilled, the practice is losing $78,000 annually. Filling those cancellations directly results in higher revenue and the efficacy of filling those appointments is easy to monitor. Want to find out how much your group is actually losing to cancellations and no-shows? Here is a guide to pulling a cancellation report using our instructions here.
4) Patient Wait Time is Many Patients' Biggest Complaint
20% of patients say their biggest problem is how long they have to wait to get a doctor's appointment. Those cancellations we've been talking about represent opportunities to shorten the patient wait time giving waiting patients earlier slots, while no-shows are patients telling you that your wait time is too long! Appointment wait time is not just a minor inconvenience, patients leave doctors because of it. Here is the first Yelp review a patient sees from a medical group that has a problem with cancellations and patient wait time.
The problems caused by cancellations and no-shows directly impact a group's bottom line and the ability to successful implement future solutions. These problems are not "the cost of doing business", they can be solved, it is a matter of a practice deciding that they should be solved now.