April 1, 2021

Reducing No-Shows Rates at Physical Therapy Clinics: 5 Best Practices

Missed appointments cost the U.S. healthcare system approximately $150 billion per year. Not only are they an annoyance, they’re a serious blow to your business.


While you’ll never be entirely able to prevent last-minute cancelations, there’re a number of steps you can take to minimize them. Namely, appointment reminder best practices.

How to lower patient no-shows at your Physical Therapy clinic.

Here are PtEverywhere’s top 5 suggestions to minimize patient no-shows at your PT clinic:

physical therapy practice management

1. Implement Automated Messaging Reminders

As cited in a previous post, a study from a family practice in Colorado demonstrated that automated text message reminders reduced the number of missed appointments by 40%.

Automated reminders significantly reduce the likelihood of patients forgetting appointments altogether, and prompt them to reschedule if they have to cancel.

PtEverywhere’s automated messaging system offers four different confirmation and reminder options. We offer email reminders, push notifications, in-app notifications, and text messages. Patients can opt-in to all or pick and choose according to their preferences.

2. Offer Online Scheduling

Giving patients the convenience of rescheduling appointments on their computer or on their phone – on their own time – is empowering for the patient… and time-saving for you!

Speaking from my own experience as a client, online scheduling has worked wonders on me. Particularly when it comes to dental appointments, I’m guilty of needing to cancel and then waiting weeks to call and rebook my appointment. Automatic rescheduling has seriously helped me get my rear-end where it’s supposed to be in a timely fashion.

Offering online self-scheduling, along with tracking patient cancellations,  notably reduces the likelihood of patients falling off your schedule altogether!


3. Provide Telehealth Options

With telehealth, it’s a lot easier for patients to make their appointments. PtEverywhere’s integrated telehealth platform allows you to offer appointments from anywhere. Our mobile app makes it possible for patients to join telehealth appointments from the very same place they manage their scheduling.

Telehealth can be offered as a backup for in-person appointments, or as the initial means of meeting. Not only does this make it easier for patients to make appointments, it aids your flexibility and efficiency.


4. Promote Patient Connectivity

Online patient services, such as rescheduling and messaging, make the communication process easier for your patients. Not only that, you can reduce your staff’s burden answering calls and responding to patients via phone and email.

With a patient portal, you can deliver streamlined access to everything your patients need when rescheduling and scheduling appointments. This makes it easier for them to adjust to their needs, while also lessening the burden on your staff when it comes to patient communication.

Patients who feel connected are more likely to commit and complete their plan of care. These same patients will become your biggest promoters after you help them reach their goals!

5. Enforce a Cancellation and No-Show Policy

Absolutely no one wants to pay a late cancellation fee. Hold your patients accountable for the time that you reserve for them. Missed appointments negatively impact the patient who missed treatment, other patients who could have filled that time slot, and the clinic’s bottom line.

If you need help setting up these tools to improve your arrival rate, check out how PtEverywhere can serve your practice.

PT practice management