Why Your Patients Cancel… and What To Do About It

We’ve taken a look at why patients cancel – here’s how you can keep your calendar full.

3 min read

While a single no-show or last-minute cancellation may seem like no big deal, test center leadership teams understand that constant cancellations lead to poor time slot utilization, loss of revenue, frustrated staff, and more.

Patient cancellations are an issue for all providers, but test centers can reduce cancellations and no-shows by staying focused on patient needs and expectations.

Let’s explore 3 reasons why your patients cancel, and how to mitigate this common problem.

1. Why your patients cancel: Forgotten appointments

Patients often schedule appointments weeks to months in advance, meaning there is a long lapse between their initial doctor visit, diagnostic appointment, and a follow-up visit with their provider.

Because patients frequently schedule far in advance, other life events may overshadow their upcoming appointments. Suppose a doctor’s office books a test on behalf of a patient, but the office doesn’t have an effective reminder or communication system. In that case, it’s all too possible for patients to forget their appointments entirely. If the patient does remember, they may do so at the last minute, leaving no time to reschedule and a vacant appointment slot.

With proper communication and patient reminders, diagnostic centers can ensure their calendar is full.

What you can do: Send reminders through patients’ preferred channels

Timely appointment reminders sent through a patient’s preferred contact method can reduce no-shows and help fill gaps in your schedule.

By sending a reminder at least a week in advance, patients can reschedule their appointment instead of canceling at the last moment. Online scheduling makes it easy and convenient to find a new appointment time. Once the patient reschedules, another can take advantage of the vacant time slot.

Sending a reminder closer to the appointment, say a day to two in advance, will provide the patient with an additional gentle but crucial final notice.

2. Why your patients cancel: Lack of appointment availability

Patients have come to expect long appointment lead times, impacting when (and how) they book their tests.

Many patients assume they won’t receive an immediate appointment so they wait to book their tests. This lack of urgency to schedule in advance hurts your center’s ability to fill last-minute openings.

What you can do: Offer last-minute scheduling and intake options

24/7 online scheduling puts patients in control. They can choose the test they need and the appointment time that works best. With LabFinder, patients can also provide or upload all personal information, including insurance details, ahead of time. This enhanced online intake option creates a frictionless online experience for the patient and reduces administrative workload.

3. Why your patients cancel: Overly complicated or time-consuming scheduling process

Because your patients have busy lives, their health may take a backseat to other things.

Finding and maintaining a work-life balance can be challenging. Making the time to call a doctor’s office only to wait on hold is frustrating, especially for a simple test or imaging appointment. The unfortunate outcome is that long wait times or complicated scheduling procedures can deter patients from seeking the care they need.

What you can do: Shift appointment scheduling online

Patients want simple, convenient online scheduling. Directing tech-savvy users to our convenient online system that allows them to upload intake forms and insurance information before an appointment gives them what they want. It also reduces hold times. Decreased phone volume allows staff to shift their focus from tracking down paperwork to in-house patient care.

Now that you know why your patients cancel appointments, explore LabFinder’s solutions to reduce no-shows and increase patient volume. Learn more about LabFinder test center solutions or schedule a demo with Morgan.