No-shows Are No Good For Patient Outcomes

1 min read

Most providers know that no-shows are bad for patients but may not realize just how much skipping an appointment can impact overall health outcomes. The primary way that no-shows impact patient health is by delayed care— not just for the patient who missed the appointment but also the patient who could have filled their appointment slot. Studies have proven without a doubt that delays in care have negative impacts on long-term health increasing morbidity and mortality risk regardless of patients’ underlying, preventable, or treatable medical conditions.

The impact of delayed care is more apparent than ever in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients missed appointments and put off preventative care for a variety of reasons, from a simple lack of available appointments to pandemic-related financial difficulties. A Harvard study identified as many as one in five patients delayed care during the pandemic, with more than half suffering negative health consequences as a result. Putting off critical care can exacerbate health issues making them more difficult to treat when patients do finally seek care.

And care delays like this have consequences for providers as well.

When patients are more difficult to treat, caring for them exacerbates resources and puts a greater strain on their providers. Sicker patients are also more costly to treat, impacting the system’s financial margins. Additionally, reimbursement rates from value-based care models can be diminished by poor patient outcomes. All of these factors create a vicious cycle, straining provider revenue increases care costs for patients, creating new reasons for patients to delay care. Currently, uninfluenced by the pandemic, one in four Americans already delay care due to cost concerns.

It's hard to imagine that something as simple as missing an appointment can have a snowball effect like this but the numbers don’t lie. Patients who no-show once are 70% more likely to be missing from care for 18 months. This illustrates how critical tackling your practices no-show rate is and why patient access can’t be a one-way process— timely outreach and patient activation efforts are essential to patient outcomes.

Want to learn more about the impact of no-shows? Access our new white paper for a comprehensive analysis of patient no-shows and strategies to combat them.

The Wild Card: Strategizing Around The Unpredictability And Inevitability Of No-shows