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How to Handle Patients Who Miss Appointments or Show Up Late

How to Handle Patients Who Miss Appointments or Show Up Late


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Laura Sachs Hills, MA
Patients who don’t show for their appointments or who come late can take a toll on your practice’s bottom line and become a huge stressor. This article offers practical suggestions for preventing unnecessary broken, missed, and late appointments and for dealing effectively both with first- and repeat offenders. It provides a 10-question quiz you can take to assess and improve your current patient attendance policies. This article then divides missed appointments into three categories—cancelled, broken, and noshow appointments—and describes effective strategies for dealing with each of them. It suggests policies to use with repeat attendance offenders, including sample language medical practices can use, and offers guidelines ultimately for dismissing those who miss appointments chronically. Finally, this article explores the reasons patients often miss appointments and strategies medical practices can use to prevent and minimize them.