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  • Michelle P.

Patient Cancellations/No-Shows and What You Can Do About Them

Updated: Jul 27, 2021

With the unpredictability of life, patient cancellations are a regular occurrence for healthcare providers everywhere. It can be easy to see why patients' lives are hectic and unpredictable, especially in the lingering uncertainty of today’s world. This can mean problems for healthcare practices which result in loss of money, resources and time.


It is estimated that the healthcare industry loses $150B from missed appointments alone. That is a tangible cost that is reflected in the bottom lines of every healthcare provider in the US. What cannot be calculated are costs associated with lack of access to healthcare and health disparity among lower income and higher risk patients which leads to lack of health equity.

The pathway to solving this problem is making it as easy as possible for patients to book and reschedule appointments at times that work for them. For example, it is not unusual for some complex diagnostic procedures to take 3+ months from referral to appointment. During that time, there is an emotional toll that waiting takes on the patient and many things in that patient’s life may change. No one likes being sick, and waiting for that long a period of time to be seen has both physical and mental consequences.

There are several ways to minimize the impact of the discussed issues. While there is no one perfect solution, implementing any of the following may be beneficial for your practice.

Automate Your Waitlist

Did you know that you can automate your waitlist? WaitLess Medical may provide the solution you need. WaitLess Medical is an automated HIPAA compliant cloud-based software platform that keeps a doctor’s office or procedure schedule full with patients looking for cancellations. A Web App notifies patients of cancellations based on their availability, which allows cancelled slots to be filled with ease.


Open Access to Appointments

Try to make sure that patients can get access wherever it is possible to provide it. Restricted access to appointments is one reason that a patient cancels or no shows. It’s beneficial when providers’ offices decrease barriers to appointment access for patients.


Confirm Your Appointments

Reminding your patients that they have an upcoming appointment helps reduce cancellations and no-shows. This is especially true if the patient scheduled the appointment far in advance of the actual visit.

Have a Clear Cancellation Policy

Make sure that patients understand your cancellation policy. You can minimize cancellations and no-shows by having patients read and sign a statement of your cancellation policy. Regardless of what suits your practice best, it is important to make sure patients understand that their appointment times are valuable.

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