Four Unexpected Benefits of Patient Cancellations

In a perfect world, people wouldn’t make appointments they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) keep. But the world of medical office management isn’t perfect, so it is vital to figure out how to make the best of every situation.

While patient cancellations can take their toll, they can be positive if your office is prepared to handle them. Working to fill cancellations regularly has a significant impact on your practice’s bottom line and will keep your office moving smoothly. Here are four unexpected benefits of patient cancellations.

You can increase patient satisfaction. 

Cancellations can be frustrating, but they can be a good thing too. Use them to show your patients that you care and that you understand. People are busy, and things come up, so utilize these moments to create loyalty among your patient base.

Showing compassion will help to build strong bonds with your patients will keep your practice at the forefront of their minds, allowing for fewer missed appointments in the future. When patients feel respected and understood they are less likely to go somewhere else for treatment.

Fill the spot with someone on the waiting list.

When you know, you’ll have an empty spot, you get the opportunity to make someone else’s day. Patients that can’t get in right away usually understand, but when you tell them that you’ll call if something opens up, they don’t always believe you. So be sure to have an organized wait-list plan ahead of time to make believers out of your patients.

A clear and detailed waiting list allows you to have a back-up plan in the event of a last-minute cancellation. An efficient waiting list will enable you to use your available resources more effectively. Set up a system to immediately alert patients of a scheduled opening. You can quickly fill that open slot and make both your patients and your bottom line happy!

Take advantage of the break. 

If you get a patient cancellation and don’t have another patient waiting to snag their spot, use this time wisely. Get caught up on paperwork, make some essential calls, work on that monthly newsletter, or tackle those few tasks that have been nagging at you. Or use it for some mental recovery time, take a long lunch, get some fresh air, crank up the music, or have a cup of coffee with a co-worker.

[Need some tips on reducing no-shows? Click here!]

Use it as an opportunity to improve service to others. 

Cancellations give the practice an excellent opportunity to “over-deliver” in their service to other patients. Your strategy could include spending extra time talking with new patients, ensuring they are comfortable in the waiting room, or assisting them with the necessary paperwork.

Unfortunately, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to handling last-minute cancellations but being prepared and knowing how to make the best of a bad situation can help.

While these ideas are essential, the key is to be flexible, professional, and organized. If you have any ideas for handling last-minute cancellations, please share them on our Facebook page!

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