Filling the Schedule in your Rehab Facility
Many outpatient rehab providers are in highly competitive areas and must work hard to maintain an edge. If you’re in such a region, you know that efficient, accurate scheduling, along with avoiding no-shows once patients are on your schedule, is the first line of defense against your competition.
In any setting involving scheduled appointments, there is a chance that the person scheduled will fail to show. According to one study, the two most common reasons patients miss primary care appointments are forgetting and miscommunication.
To counteract both issues, most outpatient rehab practices rely on systems that confirm appointment details and remind of appointments when they’re approaching. An automated system that allows providers to connect with patients using a variety of methods—text, phone call, email, and mail—is likely to be most effective.
For greatest efficiency, your system should capture all your patients’ contact information, as well as their preferred types of reminders, and then generate and send the reminders at predetermined intervals prior to each appointment. While it may not result in 100% attendance, studies show that reminder systems “improve appointment attendance across a range of healthcare settings and patient population sub-groups.”
Replace canceled appointments
Another result of a reminder system is that it can trigger some potential no-shows to cancel their appointments instead. Although cancellations are not ideal, they are preferable to no-shows because schedulers then have opportunities to fill vacated appointment times.
In fact, a quality outpatient rehab system should be designed to initiate requests to fill canceled time slots with patients from a wait list. Not only does this resolve the immediate issue of filling the opening, it helps patients who are waiting to get back on the treatment roster to complete their therapy.