What Steps Should You Consider When Patients Cancel Their Appointments?

As a dental office owner, it's your job to implement scheduling protocols that are fit for the whole practice. Frequent last-minute appointment withdrawals and no-shows can disrupt your dental practice business. However, there are ways to prevent patients from canceling appointments or becoming no-shows and manage those who repeatedly miss their dental appointments.

Steps Should You Consider When Patients Cancel Their Appointments

Here are some tips that can help you minimize frequent cancellation of dental appointments.

Implement a No-Show Policy

It's common to allow one missed appointment, but charging a fee for any cancellation or no-shows after that should help minimize skipped appointments. Some dental practices will impose a nominal fee of about $25-35, while others will charge the entire cost of the appointment. The details are up to you.
Usually dental practices will require the patient to sign their agreement to the missed appointment policy while they are filling out other new patient paperwork. You can also place prominent signs in your practice as a reminder.

Set Up Automated Appointment Reminders

Learn how each patient prefers to hear from your dental office. Whether it's phone, email, or text, send multiple reminders accordingly, ahead of time. An automated text or email appointment notification is a good idea even if you are already making reminder phone calls. It provides an extra avenue to reach patients on days when making reminder calls is not feasible. With automated reminders in place, you'll have your bases covered.

Offer a Variety of Payment Solutions

Often, patients cancel appointments because they are financially strained. Canceling an appointment last-minute might seem like the only option when they can't afford to pay in full. You can prevent this situation by making patients aware of payment alternatives, including any discounts, financing programs, or payment plans that you offer at the time of booking the appointment.

Establish a Fill-in System

Instead of refusing requests for a same-day appointment, consider asking if patients want to stay on a cancellation waiting list. Last-minute cancellations can be frustrating, but a patient waiting-list can help you overcome the situation. You can use a patient scheduling platform that allows you to maintain a list of patients to be notified. While this doesn't solve the issue of your first patient canceling, it offers a solution to fill the gap, should the need occur.

It is essential for a successful dental practice, regardless of size to make sure patients keep their appointments. By employing the right technology and superior customer service, you can reduce the patient cancellation rate at your practice.

You may also like to read:

How Paperless Patient Registration Benefits Dental Practice

Steffany Mohan DDS Iowa: My New Dentist Life

How to Lead Your Dental Practice to Stand Above the Rest

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Steffany Mohan, DDS

Dr. Steffany Mohan, DDS is a highly accomplished dentist, speaker, and coach in dentistry and has been practicing for around 22 years in West Des Moines, IA. She is renowned for her achievements in implant practice management and has established Plaza Dental Group as among the busiest and most thriving dental offices in Iowa