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Throwback: How to Measure No Shows in Your Practice

Pulled from our 2012 archives, understanding your policies and how to bill for missed appointments is still essential. Especially now with the impending transition to value-based care, understanding how to get the most from each scheduled appointment is crucial.

While working on some recent blogs, we realized something. There is not an accepted standard for counting no-shows and cancellations. To get meaningful metrics on failed appointments across different organizations, everyone must use the same standards and policies and have a common reporting infrastructure – which doesn’t always happen. Let us explain.

Standards and Policies

Even within the same organization, we have seen failed appointments counted differently.  Well designed, totally integrated physical therapy EMR software can help with this, but the software can’t set and enforce your policies. For example:

  • Is an appointment that has been rescheduled a failed appointment in the eyes of your practice?
  • What is your standard for a cancellation that has been made with adequate notice or inadequate notice?
  • Do you charge a fee for cancellations or no shows? (Hint: You should. And if you do, your front office needs to have a clear set of guidelines.)

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Reporting Infrastructure

Even if there were better accepted standards for missed appointments, there can admittedly be a lack of reporting across databases. Since there has not been a better alternative, there have been attempts to get some idea about failed appointment rates by use of surveys. Although the survey data may be better than no data at all, I believe it is far from accurate because of a lack of accepted standards and self-selection of survey participants.  I am guessing that most survey participants:

  • Already closely monitor no show rates
  • Have a no-show rate that is better than their peers
  • Have a standard definition of when an appointment is considered failed
  • Have a policy on what to do about failed appointments

Any way that you track and define ‘no shows’, be sure that you do it consistently. At Clinicient, we have the ability to track metrics like this across organizations. Want to learn more? Contact us today.

One thought on “Throwback: How to Measure No Shows in Your Practice

  1. Our PT clinic audits no show appointments on a weekly basis, we waive the first offense and charge any subsequent no show.

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