What to Say And Do When Your Patient Cancels Within The Cancellation Notice Period

My last three posts covers on

  • why having a cancellation policy is good for therapy businesses
  • how to deploy it
  • what to say and document

So if you set a 12 hours or 24 hours cancellation notice, and your patient is compliant and notifies you beforehand, what do you do?

Simple – honor it.

They comply and we honor.

If they don’t give notice, then we enforce the policy (but of call, call the patient first to say hello, ask them how they’re doing and what happened today ie why did you miss your appointment).

Now, we started to notice interesting things, of how a handful of patients try to “work” the policy in their favor.

I’ve just gotten wind of this patient who has cancelled 3-4 times in a row (in compliance with our cancellation policy), and she keeps giving some dramatic reason to the tune of “my father-in-law has to urgently fly overseas but his flight was cancelled and we…” – sometimes some we do have rough patches.

We usually don’t ask for reasons especially if they’re compliant with the policy, but we take note of the frequency of cancellation, and get the front desk to contact patient to try to reschedule another appointment with patient. If they’re somewhat aloof/busy, we then get the therapist to call instead to check in on how they (the patient) is doing, check in on their rehab progress, and then get them in if they have not achieved their rehab/fitness goals.

Once you have your multi-step cancellation/late policy in order and your team keep reminding patients, the number of no-shows and late-comers will automatically drop as they remember the policy.

For chronic no-show and late-comers, check the reasons and the frequency, and enforce the policy. If not, discharge the patients – your business, therapists and front counter will be very thankful for that.

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