One of the first things that we wanted to address during our challenge, was our rise in FTA rates, which has been slowly but steadily rising over the past few months.
As any one knows one of the most frustrating things is when a patient doesn't arrive for an appointment and you're left desperately trying to get reception to ring the missing patient to locate them, kicking yourself for letting the previous patient who needed a filling, go without offering to do it for them there and then and also thinking of the thousand and one other useful things you could be doing with the wasted time.
Some of the things we have put into practice to help reduce the FTA rate are emailing the patients a week before their appointment and following this up with a text reminder 48 hours before the appointment. In our practice EXACT does this automatically so there is no extra burden on reception.
The increase in FTAs has also had a knock-on effect of increasing our forward booking, as patients who fail to attend have to be rebooked taking up a time in the appointment book, which means that patients who need to return for treatment are having to wait longer. One of solutions that Sean, my Challenge consultant has suggested is "zoning" the diary to allow us to accommodate these patients that need treatment. We're just starting with this so I'll let you know it goes.