Cancellations are inevitable whether you work in a doctor’s office, vet clinic or a med spa. People often double book themselves or completely forget that they booked an appointment that day.
But a new survey commissioned by Weave highlights the main drivers across patient cancellation behaviors. The survey, which was fielded May 11, 2022 to May 16, 2022, features responses from over 1,000 U.S. patients aged 18+ who visited a provider in the last 12 months.
A combination of a lack of payment options, miscommunication between providers and patients and technological inconveniences are all leading factors as to why cancellations are at an all-time high and why some medical providers are losing patients at a higher rate. Here, we’ll dive into the survey results and action items providers can implement to lower their cancellation rate and keep their schedules full.
A generational aspect also comes into play as millennials and Gen Z consumers are looking for doctors, dentists, veterinarians and med spa professionals who will meet their needs when it comes to communication style and payment methods.
Busier Patients Need More Appointment Reminders
One of the survey’s most compelling findings was that 20% of patients said they were not sent a reminder about their scheduled appointment and forgot or could no longer attend.
Many offices are under-leveraging technology to help them automate their appointment reminders, and it’s impacting their revenue.
Appointment reminders over text message are one way medical offices can automate this once-tedious task. Setting up automatic appointment reminders with customized text message or email reminders to go out 30 days, 2 weeks or even 24 hours before a scheduled appointment is a great way to ensure patients make their appointments.
Debbie Evans, the 2020 AADOM Practice Administrator of the Year, knows what it takes to run an efficient office. Debbie is one of 27 employees staffed at Wainright Wassel DDS, featuring four doctors, seven hygienists, eight assistants and eight business team members.
Many of Wainright Wassel’s patients now use texts as a primary form of communication, which has reduced the amount of time their staff spends on the phone. Debbie estimates a patient phone call typically takes 5-10 minutes – so when they send 50 text messages a day using Weave Texting (not uncommon with their office), it saves 4-8 hours of staff time daily
“Texting saves our office about 50+ phone calls a week – and that’s a lot of time saved”
Ability to Pay May Be Increasing Cancellations
As many patients feel the squeeze of inflation and the uncertain economy right now, the ability to pay is an increasing concern as they consider whether to put off or delay treatment.
The use of BNPL platforms has increased in popularity greatly over the past few years. PYMNTS reports that 43% of Americans have used a BNPL platform to make a purchase, up from 31% last year with Gen Z and Millennials using these platforms the most.
With these payment plans being widely available at thousands of retailers, many younger patients are now expecting their medical clinics to offer similar plans to split up larger bills over the course of several months.
According to Weave’s survey, 26% of patients said that multiple payment options – including but not limited to, Apple Pay, text to pay and buy now, pay later would impact their patient experience.
Millennials and GenZ make up the lion’s share of consumers who would be interested in payment options like BNPL.
If a patient cancels, providers should consider communicating more information about payment plan options over email or text message. It can be a great way to address a topic that can often be embarrassing for patients to bring up.
Ask Weave about Automated Appointment Reminder Texts & Quick Fill tool
“Weave has been critical to managing the office and scheduling patients. I save between 2-3 hours a day confirming appointments, and I’m able to fill more last-minute cancellations.”-Maggie Blackwell, Office Manager.Schedule Demo
Make Online Scheduling & Re-Scheduling Easier for Patients
As members of Gen Z and the millennial generation begin to become the lion’s share of patients making appointments, they want their medical and dental offices to use updated technology that is easier and more convenient for their lifestyles.
By not staying up to date with current patient communications technologies, healthcare providers risk the chance of losing patients who want more convenient ways to access their care.
According to Weave’s survey, 30% of patients wish that their current healthcare provider used online scheduling services.
69% of Gen Z patients would be more likely to choose a provider if they offered online scheduling.
88% of patients reported they are primarily responsible for scheduling their own healthcare appointments. With 62% of Gen Z being responsible for their own appointment scheduling, if your clinic is not providing convenient online scheduling tools, you risk missing out on this key demographic.
Weave’s wide variety of solutions like Text Reminders, Online Scheduling, and Digital Forms can help you win more Gen Z & Millennial patients who are looking for a more modern experience when selecting a healthcare provider.
In order to keep up with the changing needs of their customers, medical and dental offices, veterinary clinics and med spas need to update their patient communication platforms. Too many cancellations and patients lost to other businesses can be detrimental to the future of your business. Watch a demo from Weave to learn how to avoid cancellation woes.
By providing new generations with communication and payment options that are better suited for their lifestyles, your business can remain competitive.