Open ACU
Open ACU


9 ways to reduce missed appointments with online scheduling

Alexa |

Missed appointments cost your acupuncture practice time and money. But the right online scheduling system helps reduce late cancellations and no shows through effective communication and streamlined procedures.

Here are Open ACU’s top 9 ways to prevent missed appointments from happening, and collect those fees when they do:

1. Have a written policy

You can’t enforce a policy if you don’t have it in writing. Your policy should clearly state what constitutes a “late” cancellation (12 hours? 24? 48?) and how much the fee is.

Bonus: Open ACU restricts patients from canceling an appointment online if they’ve missed the late cancellation cutoff. They’ll have to call you to cancel, which gives you an opportunity to remind them of the fee.

2. Decide if and when to make exceptions

Will you allow patients one “freebie” cancellation before charging the fee? What if they’re canceling due to illness, or an emergency? Decide what your exceptions will be, and communicate them clearly.

Bonus: With Open ACU’s notepad feature, you can record a quick note whenever you give a patient a “freebie” cancellation.

3. Rely on automatic reminder emails

Patients are human; they’ll occasionally forget about appointments. That’s why confirmation and reminder emails are crucial. Open ACU automatically sends them.

Bonus: Open ACU allows patients to sync their appointments with you to their online calendar, meaning even less likelihood of a forgotten appointment!

4. Send text message reminders

Many patients need to be reminded of their appointments in multiple ways! That’s why text message reminders are a great option.

Bonus: Text reminders with Open ACU are available as an add-on feature for just $5 per month. If it eliminates just one or two missed appointments per YEAR, it pays for itself!

5. Communicate everywhere

Patients need to hear about your policy in multiple ways: website, email reminders, intake paperwork, clinic signage, and verbally from you and your staff. It’s not sufficient to communicate it just once!

Bonus: Open ACU’s intake terms and conditions are fully customizable, allowing you to state your cancellation policy as many times, and in as many ways, as you like.

6. Make patients agree to the policy

Before their first treatment, patients should acknowledge that they understand the policy and agree to it.

Bonus: One technique that many Open ACU clinics use is to state their policy as a “question” on their health history form. Patients must answer the question with the only option available - “I Agree” - before proceeding to the next page of the form.

7. Call patients when they don’t show

If a patient no-shows, call them! First, it shows your concern for their wellbeing. And secondly, it gives you the opportunity to remind them of the fee.

Bonus: In Open ACU, you can see a patient’s phone number simply by mousing over their name on the scheduler - no need to look it up or click through to their Patient Profile page.

8. Charge automatically

Patients agree to your cancellation policy when they complete their intake form - that means you should charge them automatically when they cancel late or no-show. Don’t wait to collect those fees!

Bonus: With Open ACU’s optional payment integration via Stripe, you can securely store a patient’s credit card information online. Charging and collecting a cancellation fee is as simple as clicking a button.

9. Track fees

If you don’t have a payment integration, you should add a charge to the patient’s account, so you know to collect the fee the next time they come in.

Bonus: Open ACU makes it super easy to track late cancellation fees. When you cancel an appointment, you’ll be prompted to enter a dollar amount for the fee. That amount will then show as a debit owed on the patient’s account, and you can collect the fee on their next visit.

Bottom line: 

The right scheduling software can drastically reduce your incidence of late cancellations and missed appointments. Open ACU’s customizable intake forms, automatic email and text reminders, payments integration and streamlined tracking help keep your schedule full, and keep more money in your pocket.

To learn more about Open ACU or schedule a demo, please contact us! We’d love to show you around.

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