Based on our analyses, health systems reschedule 30-50% of bumped appointments within a week of the original appointment. Part of the reason is process and part is purposeful. How should an access center deal with provider cancellations?
Contact the patient about the provider cancellation
First and foremost, apologize for the inconvenience. An access center should already know to contact a patient. But your humble author once showed up to an 8 am appointment with 1 inch of snow on the ground to find the office closed for two hours. No notice, apology, or anything.
Set standard cancellations reasons
Some healthcare scheduling systems have a specific cancellation type called “Bump” which staff should use when cancelling an appointment. Make sure to educate them. For those without this cancellation type, create a cancellation reason called provider cancellation. We recommend for weather cancellations and another for provider unavailable. Make sure staff use them by educating them and monitoring the use. We find that staff do not use the correct cancellation reasons because they weren’t trained AND because they do not see a reason.
Two reasons the right cancellation reason matters
Data IntegrityFirst, using the correct cancellation reasons allows a health system to analyze the prevalence of cancellations. Including provider cancellations as regular cancellations will throw off the numbers and make it look like an office has more cancellations than they do.
Tighter healthcare scheduling workflowSecond, it makes it quite hard for staff members to pull a report or utilize a bump list to reschedule those patients.
Use a bump list
Most healthcare scheduling systems have a bump list. If not, pull a report based on cancellation reason and call those patients.Reschedule patients off the list as you reach them.
Autonomous Patient Access
AI-enabled autonomous patient access helps health systems across the country. It's their competitive advantage to manage daily and long-term fluctuations within their schedule. It's a great way improve patient access, eliminate patients falling through the cracks, and reduce at risk revenue. The most sophisticated ODSM solutions are fully automated and completely customizable so your staff doesn’t have to do any extra work.
Open up the provider’s schedule
Does the provider have time on their schedule blocked off that you can open up? If so, use it!
Offer alternative providers
The patient won’t be excited to know they are being rescheduled, find out what is most valuable to them, seeing the same provider or being seen earlier. If they want to be seen faster, try offering the patient other providers who have more availability on their schedule.
Don't reschedule everyone
Remember, if a patient doesn’t need their appointment, then don’t reschedule them. When your access center is making your provider cancellation calls, make sure the patient still needs to be seen. For example if their rash disappeared or if they have a follow-up a week later, don’t reschedule them!