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Ideas That Work: Ringing Success
Strategic Hire Lowers our Endoscopy No-Shows
OSD Staff
Publish Date: September 3, 2015   |  Tags:   Ideas That Work
reminder calls PAY PHONE A big reduction in no-shows more than pays for the nurse making the reminder calls.

Ringing Success
Strategic Hire Lowers our Endoscopy No-Shows

We weren't sure if we could afford to hire a full-time nurse simply to call patients and remind them about their upcoming endoscopies. Now we're pretty sure we can't afford not to.

By hiring a full-time RN to call all of our endoscopy patients about a week before their scheduled appointments, we expect to save about $50,000 this year. That projection is based on a 4 ?-month period during which we reduced no-shows by 51, compared with the previous 4 ? months. Granted, hiring an RN is a fairly expensive intervention — versus, say, texting, using an automated phone system or even hiring a medical assistant — but we wanted to have someone who was also knowledgeable enough to answer patient questions, and screen for potential problems or red flags. We think there's value in having a professional do the calling.

We also looked at which patients were more likely to be no-shows, and found, for example, that patients who were referred for screening or surveillance endoscopies, patients who were single and Medicare patients were more likely to miss appointments.

Ryan Childers, MD
Oregon Health and Science University
Portland, Ore.
[email protected]