“No Shows” Cause New Policy
Excellent firms don’t believe in excellence – only in constant improvement and constant change.
In line with a new building, a new location and a fresh outlook on customer service Deaf Smith County Hospital District has been searching for areas of improvement. Patient complaints have steadily increased due to booked doctor’s schedules at the clinic. There seems to be a problem securing appointments. Jennifer Sanchez, HHC’s clinic manager and Dee Salinas, HRMC’s Quality Liaison have teamed up in an effort to find a solution.
Research explains that “‘no shows’ or missed appointments result in under-utilized clinic capacity” (Sage Journals, Dec 2010). Local research is proving that statement to be true. Sanchez and Salinas pulled out astonishing numbers when their CEO, Nathan Flood asked for reports showing the damage that “no-shows” are doing to Hereford Health Clinic. In January 2012 there were 480 missed appointments. February had 525 and March had 543. This is a total of 1548 missed appointments in a three month period. The problem with these “no shows” is that the individuals who hold the appointments do not call and cancel or give any sign to clinic personnel that they will not be honoring their appointment. And because of this there is no chance to schedule another waiting patient in their slot. This also puts doctors behind in the schedule and increases wait time for other patients. On top of all this the hospital district loses money every time there is a “no show.” An average doctor’s visit in the clinic costs around $76. In January, the clinic lost $36, 480. February’s loss increased to $39,900 and March showed a loss of $41, 268. The total calculated for three months adds up to a brutal $117, 648!
The district’s board along with administration have come together to decide that something needs to be done. Schedules need to be cleared or opened up for patients who need and want to be seen. There is a “no show” policy in the making. It will affect people who continuously miss appointments and do not call to let clinic personnel make the change in the schedule. Once the policy is finalized individuals will only be able to have a certain number of “no shows” before they will no longer be able to schedule an appointment. They may have to go to the clinic and wait for an opening. DSCHD is asking for patrons to help. The local research by Sanchez and Salinas is showing that a large number of people just forget or feel better. Sometimes a person gets to feeling better before their appointed time. If that is the case please call and let someone else have your appointment. Clinic receptionists are and have been making reminder calls the day before.
Deaf Smith County Hospital District believes in improvement and sometimes change can bring that improvement.
-By Dee Salinas