STOP same-day cancellations from hurting your bottom line

by | Expansion, Patient Arrivals, Same-day Cancellations

As owners and managers, we’re often pulled in many directions when it comes to running our private practices. And since margins are often low in health care, any loss of revenue can cut into our bottom line.

One of our biggest financial losses occurs when our schedules aren’t full, since our main income comes from treating our patients.

In a 2020 survey, same-day cancellations and no-shows ranked as one of the biggest buttons for the owners and managers who responded.

Believe me when I say, I get it! When I started working in our practice back in 2012, our average daily arrival rate was 75%!!

Yes, 75% arrivals meant we were losing 25% of our expected revenue on any given day. But worse, it meant that 25% of our patients weren’t arriving as scheduled for the care they needed to recover.

As a physical therapist my main purpose has always been about helping a patient achieve full recovery so they live life to its fullest potential. As a practice owner, I wasn’t the only one treating patients so I needed a way to ensure that everyone on our team remained focused on the same purpose and that I provided them with the proper training to ensure they could be as successful as Mike and I were. as we stepped back and let our team take the reins. This is a common issue for owners and as they begin to step back and focus on ownership, I see how upsetting same-day cancellations and no-shows can be.

While they mess with the efficiency of your entire machine, when someone same-day cancels, they aren’t just hurting your bottom line or themselves. They’re also hurting another patient who may not have gotten in for the care that they need and deserve as well.

Lower patient arrivals means that a higher percentage of patients aren’t getting the care they need and deserve!

Look. People are busy. Or at least they have the perception of ‘busy-ness’; so when you call them last minute to offer an appointment time, they’re less likely to take it. So, now you have an opening where you could have been helping someone work toward recovery.

And, if that patient who same-day canceled or no-showed also rescheduled to another day (which they should), they also take up another opening on your schedule. Basically, using two available spots for just one appointment.

This creates more work for your Patient Care Coordinators because for every same-day cancellation or no-show, they should be working your list of unscheduled or partially scheduled patients to offer them a chance to get in for care. That keeps them focused on today, and not being proactive and working on tomorrow’s actions ahead of time. Hence, they feel like they’re inefficient and ineffective.

For every same-day cancellation that’s rescheduled for another day, that patient is taking two available spots for just one visit. And that affects your efficiency AND your bottom line.

The more efficient your practice, the larger the margin on your bottom line AND the more patients who get the care they need to reach full recovery.

If you want to make your practice more efficient, improve your bottom line, AND increase your clean arrival rate, there are several things you can do:

  • PREVENTION – you want your team to ALWAYS be about prevention of patient problems. If you want to help more people get the care they need and deserve each day, your PCCs must focus on prevention. It helps them feel more successful and you need to have a system for preventing same-day cancellations and no-shows so your PCCs have less stress and your machine becomes more efficient.
  • METRICS – as a good friend says, ‘no metrics, no discussion’. If you’re not tracking and measuring a clean arrival rate, you don’t know when the machine isn’t running at full efficiency. Make sure your team tracks clean arrival rate and schedule utilization percentages on a daily basis. If not, you’re missing vital information.
  • BUILD Patient Care Coordinators – the team members who work at your front desk aren’t receptionists or representatives. They provide a service to all patients just like your clinicians do. And they need your help. Make sure you provide the necessary training to help them overcome patient objections to care and also provide systems for success.
  • TRAIN YOUR TEAM! – As a practice owner or manager, don’t assume that someone working at your front desk knows what you need from them or that they know HOW to do it successfully. It’s essential that you ensure your team has been trained to properly manage patients, fill the schedule and keep it full, convert leads, and stop same-day cancellations and no-shows. When you offer training and provide systems for proper patient management, you help your team achieve success.


I’m Dee

As a practice owner, former manager, and the Front Office GURU, I understand the difficulties you face because I’ve been there. And my programs provide the solution.

Are you struggling to train your front office team? Unsure how to go about establishing a proven training program for your front desk? Not sure where to start or what your options are?

Then schedule a FREE Discovery Call to learn more about my programs.

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