How to Avoid Patient No-Shows

In a perfect world, there would be zero no-shows. All patients will keep time and arrive promptly at your medical practice. But that is a dream. No-shows are a nightmare for every medical practitioner in the business. Apart from investment in an automated appointment confirmation system, there are some strategies that your office can employ to reduce the number of no-shows in your office.

After reading this article, try and act upon the following tips. You will be surprised by the effect that they will have on the efficiency of your medical practice.

The use of an automated appointment reminder system

This has become a must-have resource for many medical practices in the country. The advantages that your office stands to gain are enormous. The internet-based system allows for patients to book for the available slots at your practice. It also sends periodic reminders and allows patients to cancel early. Even if the client is a no-show, you can book a walk-in patient in that slot.

The use of a waiting list

It might sound like a pretty old-school move but it is a fallback plan that never fails. It is recommended that you keep an active list of patients who can easily fill gaps. These patients must be able to come to you on short notice.

Have a written policy

In your medical practice, put up a very strict policy about missed appointments. The policy can be at a very public place in your office. You can also put it on the patient paperwork.

The policy should contain penalties that the patient might have to incur. To take into consideration the hustle and bustle of life, you can allow one missed appointment. Patients will perceive this as quite considerate and empathetic. Any missed appointments after that will incur charges. On the booking of a second or third appointment, the patient will have to pay a certain fee. This will reduce skipped appointments.


As the owner of your medical practice, we understand that you might feel a little bit frustrated by a patient’s no-show. But whatever the feelings that are boiling up within you, we highly recommend against acting upon them. To help you avoid damaging future relationships with your patients, we thought it prudent to have this section in the article.

  • Angry call. Calling up a client with your anger flared is a highly dangerous scenario. You might say something that might damage the reputation of your company. This may have later repercussions for the medical community. It is advisable to let another staff member contact them.
  • Dwelling on it. You should build a high level of emotional intelligence. After the no-show, you will still need to deal with other patients who will need your expert advice and diagnosis. Obsessively thinking about it may distract you from the task at hand.

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