Has technology made canceling easier for patients?
In modern day practice, it’s nearly impossible to come by a patient that doesn’t have access to a smartphone. Reaching your patients has never been easier, so why is it hard for practices to reduce, or prevent, last minute cancellations? Before we can strategize ways to improve appointment fulfillment, we need to look at the broader reasoning behind why patients cancel.
Outside of unexpected life events, are a few controllable reasons why patients would cancel an appointment:
- Staff isn’t proactive towards reminding patients
- Appointment reminders are not reminders
- Patients aren’t committed towards the appointment
- Financial hardship
Chances are, your practice is experiencing one - if not all - of these reasons, but don’t you worry, we’ve laid out ways you can control these outcomes.
We can’t prevent every patient from canceling, but we can do our best to minimize the occurrence. While there are seemingly endless reasons why patients would cancel, let's focus on what we can control:
- Training staff
- Automated messaging
- Patient relationships
Having trained staff ready to handle any short notice cancellation can resolve most of the issues with last minute cancellations. Every patient you have, comes with a different amount of commitment towards their oral health. The majority of patients know they should visit their dentist twice a year, but how many of them know the ‘why’ behind their visits?
Automated messaging is one of your most powerful resources, but when reminders have the option to cancel an appointment, it’s no longer a reminder. We want to be as convenient as possible for our patients, but there’s a fine line to walk. Reminders should be just that, a reminder.
Your relationships with patients is at the core of their commitment. Celebrating patients when they put in the effort to nurture their oral care, is a must. When a patient feels recognized, their confidence will be the difference in keeping appointments.
There’s more to explore when it comes to last minute cancellations. See why it happens, and learn how you can quickly fill these last minute openings, by downloading our free eGuide!