The need to reduce patient no-show rates in home health is critical to optimizing patient outcomes and staff productivity. A patient missing an appointment affects his/her health while impacting an agency’s bottom line. Prior to each at-home visit, a home health agency may perform many administrative tasks including insurance verification, appointment scheduling, and assigning available staff. A home health clinician’s effectiveness is weakened when agency team members complete the pre-appointment routine and then the clinician arrives at the patient’s home to discover that the patient is a no-show to the appointment. Each patient’s no-show unfortunately interferes with the home health agency’s ability to provide care at the “prescribed” time which can lead to diminished health outcomes and patient satisfaction.
Patients may no-show for reasons such as forgetting about the timing and date of at-home visits, feeling anxious about the appointment, encountering an unexpected change of availability, and/or starting to become complacent – especially after the initial few days post-discharge or after the first or second appointment. Although rescheduling appointments will maintain the continuity of care, staff availability can be compromised, leading to inefficiencies in scheduling.
Successful agencies ensure that all patients (and their family caregivers, as needed) are aware of – and follow-through – on the scheduled appointments in order to be able to provide patients with the care they need and for the agency to bill and be reimbursed accordingly. With Synzi’s platform, home health agencies can program automated appointment reminders instead of dedicating valuable staff time to calling patients and encountering phone-tag. Home health clinicians also use each visit – whether at-home or via video – to stress the importance of sticking to the appointment schedule and to reiterate that the patients will receive upcoming reminders on their everyday device. Emphasizing the role of the pre-appointment communications helps strengthen the agency’s relationship with patients by making them feel even more supported, which helps decrease the risk of a no-show.
Patients appreciate the ability to receive reminders on the device (smartphone, tablet, or computer) they most often use, in the modality (text, secure message, or email) they prefer, and in the language of their choice. The immediacy of receiving a timely reminder also enables the patients to quickly respond if they will not be available for the future appointment. Scheduling issues can be solved before the next appointment as patients appreciate knowing they can quickly ask to reschedule an appointment within the Synzi app.
Healthcare organizations using Synzi are benefiting from a lower no-show rate and less labor required in reminding patients of upcoming appointments. Along with seeing a decrease in no-shows, Synzi’s customers are also seeing a significant increase in “patient preparedness” for their appointments. For example, in the case of pre-op appointments, our customers report they are pleased with their patients’ ability to fulfill the pre-op requirements such as not eating after midnight, discontinuing the use of anti-coagulants, not wearing jewelry/perfume/deodorant, and arriving at the right location. These actions also help the agency demonstrate their effectiveness with referral sources. No-shows in home health care can be significantly reduced by using the Synzi communication platform to provide patients with timely reminders and improved access to care, thus maximizing staff productivity.