Reduce No-Shows: 3 Ways to Backfill Patient Cancellations

May 18, 2016 Paul Mauer

It's no secret that last minute cancellations present a major challenge for your practice. Not only do empty chairs cost thousands in daily profit dollars, but they also throw a serious monkey wrench into your day as you're suddenly scrambling to fill scheduling holes. If you're wasting precious productivity hours manually calling patients to fill last minute cancellations, it's time to put down the phone and discover these three smart solutions to this challenge.

Don't let last minute cancellations derail your day any longer! Be prepared to battle the empty chair with these 3 quick pro tips.


"ASAP List," "Short Call List," or "Sooner if Possible List" – this practice goes by many names, but the concept is the same: keeping a running list of patients who’d prefer to be seen as soon as possible in your practice management system.   

Having this valuable list at-the-ready allows you to be prepared when a last-minute cancellation occurs. Although you may not have time to manually contact each individual given your busy schedule, fear not: you can use communication software features like on-demand messaging to do that for you! 


Why continue to waste precious time calling patients to fill last-minute cancellations when you can do so with just the push of a button? Smart patient communication software, like Lighthouse 360, allows you to easily inform all of your patients on your "ASAP list" of an open appointment. Here's how: if you keep a list of "sooner-if-possible" patients in your practice management software, Lighthouse 360 lets you immediately tap into this list to send each patient an on-demand text or an email with a prewritten message alerting them to the opening. In just one click, you can proactively fill the gap in your schedule, please the patients that wished to be seen sooner, and keep your valuable time focused on the tasks that matter most.

Learn how other successful practices deal with last-minute cancellations in this short video. 


It is much easier to prevent a problem from happening than to try to solve it after the fact. In other words, although last minute cancellations can be combatted with smart on-demand messaging to your emergency list, the best way to curb the curse of the "no-show" is to prevent it from happening at all. 

Having a solid appointment reminder system in place drastically reduces last minute cancellations and can ultimately save your practice thousands of dollars a month. Make sure your patient communication system syncs with your management software regularly to automatically send up-to-the-minute reminders and confirmations.  

Learn about the importance of sync time and your patient communication system in this short video.

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