The Truth About No-Shows

Studies show that forgetfulness is the most common reason for patients missing appointments.

Staggeringly, no-show appointments cost the U.S. healthcare system $150 Billion dollars per year. Countless studies have been done on no-shows across different demographics and populations, but a few trends stand. A 2016 study in The Journal of Family Medicine and Disease Prevention notes that While some patients miss appointments due to lack of transportation, others are unable to wait a long time for an appointment and have to walk out. However, the overwhelming majority of patients no-show an appointment because they forgot.

An average of 25 hours a month are lost per physician for no-shows. This means that a physician is losing anywhere between $4,000-$15,000 per month due to delinquent appointments. The Journal of Family Medicine study also indicated “that forgetting about the appointment or patients not being sure that they had an appointment was the most common reason for missing an appointment.” At 37.6%, forgetfulness is the most common reason that patients are no-shows, but also the most preventable.

Reason for Missed Appointments

Another study with Geneva University Hospitals affirms this finding. Their study illustrates that the easiest way to prevent this problem is to send reminders. In the Geneva hospital study, patients were contacted by SMS, phone, or post, and they were able to decrease the number of no-shows substantially. 

Other benefits of text messaging reminders to combat no-shows include:

  • Mosts texts are read within 5-15 minutes

  • The response rate for text messaging is 209% higher than it is for calls

  • 79% of patients want to communicate via texts with their provider

The data comes to a clear conclusion: “Patients should be prompted via text messages, phone calls and mailed appointments to remind them of their upcoming appointments. Efforts should be made to encourage better communication between healthcare providers and the patients.” 

DOCPACE prides itself on our automation and patient communication tools. Schedule a demo today and make no-shows a part of the past. 

Leave a Comment