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How to reduce patient no shows using technology

January 12, 2022By
medical professional working on their computer, reducing patient no shows

There are multiple reasons why a patient might unexpectedly miss a doctor’s appointment. Anything from car or transportation troubles, conflicts with a work schedule, fear or anxiety of seeing the doctor, or even unpleasant previous experiences. While these situations can't be fully fixed with effort or technology, a more common missed appointment reason can be: not being reminded of it. The US National Library of Medicine says that no-show rates were reported as anywhere from 12% to 80% of total scheduled appointments—depending on the healthcare setting.

A missed appointment is a missed opportunity

Today, some medical practices still lean towards traditional scheduling measures like calling the patient six, three, and one months prior. This usually requires a scheduling administrator to book and remind patients of their appointments. In some cases, nurse practitioners are tasked with this, creating yet another task for an exceedingly occupied healthcare provider. If for some reason, the patient is not contacted they could miss their consultation entirely.

So what happens if you miss a doctor’s appointment? It creates non-value-added tasks for administrators, is a waste of provider effort and medical resources, and ultimately is a disservice to the patient. If the patient felt they were healthy enough to skip the appointment, this can also result in a potential missed opportunity to identify conditions not visible on the surface and/or failing to reschedule the appointment.

Whatever the case may be, a gap in scheduling from last-minute missed appointments happens. But having systems in place to reduce this number will help the practice or organization reduce patient wait times and improve patient care.

Integrate your healthcare systems with a foundational technology to automate your processes

The best way to reduce the number of missed appointments is to send automated reminders leading up to the patient’s appointment. Using software like Salesforce Health Cloud can help lay the foundation for seamless patient reminders. With the integration between patient Electronic Health Records (EHR) and Salesforce Health Cloud, providers can spend more time delivering patient care, while automation handles the creation of standardized tasks and follow-ups, such as Patient Action Plans,  specific to a person’s medical journey. Salesforce Health Cloud can also be made HIPAA compliant to ease your data security woes.

Once you have a foundational software like Salesforce Health Cloud in place, it will give your healthcare organization the ability to automate:

  • Scheduling and rescheduling
  • Appointment bookings
  • Cancellations
  • RSVP processes

Non-attendance rates were 38% lower in patients who received an SMS reminder than in patients who did not receive a reminder.Elizabeth Koshy, Josip Car and Azeem Majeed, BMC Ophthalmology

Research article here.

Appointment reminders will reduce the number of patient no shows

Reminders in the forms of SMS, email, phone calls, and push notifications can be automatically configured to be sent to the patient prior to the appointment, in pre-defined time intervals according to the type of consultation, such as a standard checkup.

The Medical Group Management Association asked healthcare providers who use automated appointment reminders where they see ROI. They found automated appointment reminders lead to:

  • Increased revenue
  • Reduced no-show rates
  • The ability to see more patients
  • Better use of time for staff

With this standardized approach, scheduling administrators can focus more on value-adding day-to-day tasks, while the system seamlessly handles reminding the patient about their appointment.

Go from medical record focused to patient centricity

With Salesforce Health Cloud used as a foundational backbone, healthcare organizations can begin to reap the benefits of having a centralized system for their operations and management. Reducing wait times from a provider perspective will also allow the shift from a medical record focused approach to become a patient centric focused approach—through the use of the technology and because of the added time administrators gain to focus on value-added tasks.

If you’re curious about getting started with Salesforce Health Cloud or how to better utilize your current org in Salesforce, get in touch with our Healthcare & Life Sciences team here at Traction on Demand. We have an innovative, passionate team dedicated to Health Cloud with deep expertise in both Salesforce and the healthcare industry.

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