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In today’s health care environment patients have more responsibility for paying their medical bills. In the new environment, patients are responsible for paying higher copays and have high deductibles. With the decrease in reimbursements from the insurance companies, medical practices must run a tight schedule in order to maximize the revenue that they generate. An important aspect of practice management is to ensure that patients show up for their scheduled visits. It is not uncommon for patients to not show up for their visits without providing notice to the medical practice. A no show from a patient means a loss of revenue that can be important to the financial well-being of the practice. Moreover, a patient no show prevents the medical practice from collecting copays from patients and sending a claim to the insurance company.

In order to reduce patient no-show, medical practice must put in place a process to discourage patient from missing scheduled appointments. This process can be broken down into four simple steps.

The first step in the process is for the medical practice to develop a patient no show policy and make patients aware of it. The practice must make an effort to stick to the rules in the no show policy at all times to ensure that patient no shows are minimized. The patient no show policy should be as simple as having rules for cancellations, missed appointments.

The second step in the process is for the practice to communicate the no show policy with its patients. The no show policy should documented the practice’s policy regarding no shows along with consequences of missed appointment. Some practices charge a certain amount for missed appointments. The policy is to be reviewed and signed by the patient. Patients must provide enough notice to the practice if they need to cancel an appointment.

The third step in the process is for the practice to make calls to patients scheduled to be seen 24 hours before their scheduled appointment. Calls can help catch cancellations giving the medical practice enough time to schedule the cancelled slot with another patient.

The fourth and final step in the process is to communicate with patients that failed to show for their appointment. Communicating with patient that have missed appointments helps build rapport and trust. At the same time, it allows the practice to check any unusual situations behind the appointment have been missed.

It is important that practices communicate with their patient the importance of showing up or making arrangements in the case that an appointment needs to be missed. Opening a dialog with patients regarding the importance of showing up will improve a practice’s bottom line.

To recap, some best practices for preventing no shows are:

1. Develop a no show policy and make patients aware of it.
2. Communicate the no show policy to all patients.
3. Make appointment reminder calls to all patients 24 hours before their appointment.
4. Communicate with patients that fail to show up for their scheduled appointments.

At Vitruvian MedPro Consulting, we are more than medical billers. We are certified medical reimbursement specialists by the American Medical Billing Association. We can help medical practices at any stage of the revenue cycle management process. Our goal is to help medical practices improve cash flow and focus on patient care.

Please visit our medical billing page to learn more about our services at: Medical Billing Services

We are currently offering a free practice analysis to help medical practitioners determine whether it makes sense to outsource their billing. Gives us a call at 781-454-7406 and schedule your free demo.

At Vitruvian MedPro, a Brookline, Massachusetts medical billing and practice management company, we work with independently owned medical practices on any aspect of their revenue cycle management. Besides medical billing, we help medical practices with their coding, account receivables and HIPAA compliance. We make sure that practices receive the highest reimbursements from the insurance companies.

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