|Programs such as Eyecare Advantage help you keep a constant eye on your appointments.|
The scheduling and recall modules of practice management software can reduce no-shows and help you maintain a healthy bottom line.
Imagine a practice where patients come as scheduled. While eyecare professionals have come to accept that no-shows are a common occurrence, they cost a lot of money, so reducing them is of prime importance.
MISSED PATIENTS = MISSED REVENUE
When patients don’t show, you not only lose exam revenue, but you also lose income from other products and services. Contact lenses are not ordered, spectacles are not selected, tests and procedures are not performed, lenses are not tinted, eyeglasses are not cut, and overall sales go down. In addition, staff members have downtime. Just one open slot has a ripple effect on your efficiency and profitability. The only solution is to fill every opening in your schedule.
Assuming you charge $100 for an exam that results in an average of $250 in eyewear sales, if you have just five no-shows per week, you have lost $2,800 that week and a whopping $91,000 for the year (see right).
The best way to reduce your no-show rate is to keep a constant eye on your appointments and proactively ensure that patients are notified in sufficient time to show up. The best way to do this is with practice management software.
Programs such as Eyefinity®/OfficeMate®, Eyecare Advantage (Compulink Business Systems, Inc.), Eyecom®3 (HealthLine Systems, Inc), MyVision Express (Insight Software, LLC), VersaSuite, and MaximEyes® (First Insight) offer appointment schedulers.
They also have a feature that lets you know when patients are due in. Using this data, you can develop a recall system. For example, you can identify appointments within the next day or two and call with a reminder. Some offices mail a reminder (two weeks in
|You can automatically manage all your recall information with practice management software such as MaximEyes.|
advance, for example) with the details of the appointment, a map, directions to the office, and parking information. A prompt is added, requesting that the patient call to reschedule if necessary. OfficeMate reports an estimated 70% increase in patient appointment compliance through the use of these techniques.
In addition to reminders for existing appointments, your database can generate reminder/recall letters or cards. Again, these patients might first be reminded that it is time to call and make an appointment. Later, if no appointment is made, the system can flag the non-responding patients for a personal call by staff. Automated phone systems such as PhoneTree® are instrumental in a solid plan for minimizing no-shows.
Of course, practice management software can generate e-mail appointment reminders and recall notices as well. These eliminate the cost of postage and can be sent multiple times.
THE ‘SHORT LIST’
Even with your best attempts, un-avoidable circumstances will cause some patients to not show. For these rare situations, create a list of patients who want an appointment and are flexible enough to wait for an open slot. When an appointment opens, call the people on this “short list” until you find one who can take it.
Time is money, so don’t let no-shows affect your profitability. Taking steps to eliminate them will result in substantial rewards for your practice.
Lisa Rovick works in an ophthalmic practice and teaches in an ophthalmic technician program in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN.
WHERE TO FIND IT
Compulink Business Systems, Inc.
800-456-4522 • compulink-software.com
800-920-1940 • first-insight.com
HealthLine Systems Inc./Eyecom
800-788-3356 • eyecom3.com
Insight Software, LLC
877-882-7456 • myvisionexpress.com
877-448-0707 • eyefinity.com
800-903-8774 • versasuite.com