Based on our analyses, practices reschedule 30-50% of bumped appointments within a week of the original appointment. Part of the reason is process and part is purposeful (not everyone needs to be rescheduled). How should a practice deal with bumps? First and foremost, apologize for the inconvenience.
Contact the patient
This shouldn’t be said, 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 EMRs have a specific cancellation type called “Bump” which staff should use when bumping an appointment. Make sure to educate them. For those without this cancellation type, make sure there are specific cancellation reasons for bumping. One for weather, another for provider unavailable. Make sure staff use them. We find that staff do not use the correct cancellation reasons because they weren’t trained to AND because they do not see a reason to.
Two reasons that staff should use the correct cancellation reasons. First, using the correct cancellation reasons allows a healthcare group to analyze the prevalence of cancellations. Including bumps as regular cancellations will throw off the numbers and make it look like an office has more cancellations than they do. Second, 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 EMRs have a list showing what patients have been bumped, if not, pull a report based on cancellation reason and call those patients or use OnDemand Schedule Management, see below). Reschedule patients off the list as you reach them.
OnDemand Schedule Management (ODSM)
AI-enabled schedule management tools that help you manage daily and long-term fluctuations within your schedule to 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 the provider’s schedule
Does the provider have time on their schedule that was blocked off that you can open up? If so, use it!
Offer alternative provider
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 to be rescheduled…then don’t reschedule them. When you are making your bump rescheduling 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!