How Waitlist Technology Can Optimize Provider Utilization

No-shows are costly. This study in the Journal for Healthcare Quality found that the cost was $210 per missed appointment.

Dr. Barron Lerner, M.D, writes in the New York Times, “no-show rates range from 5 to 55 percent”. Even with a no-show rate at 20%, it’s easy to see how the costs can quickly grow to tremendous levels.

What can be done to fill at least some of these appointment slots – and recover the revenue?

End the wait
We’ve all been on a waitlist at some time or another. Restaurants are a good example. Not only does the waitlist help consumers get served faster, it also helps the business run more efficiently as gaps are filled when reservation holders don’t show.

Consumer pleasing, efficiency enhancing solutions like this are long overdue in healthcare. When a patient cancels in the last few days before their appointment, often times that slot is never re-filled with another patient. That appointment slot needs to be offered to someone else immediately. With waitlist technology baked into an online scheduling platform – patients can opt in to a waitlist. When an earlier slot opens up, email and text notifications can be sent automatically to the next patient in line. If they say yes, the appointment is booked in real time and their old appointment gets cancelled (triggering another waitlist protocol for that slot). If they say no, it goes to the next person in line. Time limits can be set for responses, so the process keeps moving if patients don’t respond at all.

Capitalizing on these missed opportunities can dramatically improve provider utilization. Instead of wasting resources on no-shows (i.e. $210 per missed appointment), providers can maximize their calendars. Moreover, some fortunate patients will get to see their doctor faster. A win-win.

For health systems to operate better they must cut out the inefficiencies. Employing waitlist technology to fill appointment vacancies is one sure-fire way to do this.

Download our guide, Redefining Patient Access, to learn more digital engagement strategies for health systems.