5 ways to reduce your ‘Did Not Attend’ (DNA) rates

  • Wednesday, May 24, 2017
5 ways to reduce your ‘Did Not Attend’ (DNA) rates

Almost 1 in 10 hospital outpatient appointments are missed each year costing the NHS millions of pounds - and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

With each appointment costing an estimated £160*, just 5 missed appointments per day would result in a staggering annual loss of £208,000 in one department alone!

Alongside the cost implications for the NHS, patients could potentially be putting their health at risk by missing important consultations with a high chance that those patients will turn up somewhere else in the healthcare systems with more serious health concerns.

There are many reasons why a patient may not attend their scheduled appointments that cannot be avoided however there are a number of preventative actions that can be taken to manage appointments in your department more effectively.

Here, ERS Connect’s General Manager, Tracey Hannan-Jones shares her top five tips for reducing DNA rates.

  1. Flexible appointments. When scheduling appointments, ask the patient what days and times are most convenient for them, rather than giving them the next available appointment. Or let people schedule their appointment online through a patient portal.
  2. Send appointment reminders 7-5 days in advance. Appointment reminders are a proven method in reducing missed appointments. Not only do they provide a timely reminder of the details in case the patient has forgotten or mislaid them, they provide an opportunity for the patient to cancel or rearrange if they are no longer able to attend. This, in turn, gives the department prior notice enabling them to offer the appointment to another patient in need.
  3. Don’t overbook. While it may be tempting to double book when you have a high no-show rate, this policy backfires when everyone shows up. Long waiting room times may lead to future no-shows. If you choose to double-book, do so in the morning so you can catch up later in the day.
  4. Communicate your no-show policy. Display your no-show policy clearly throughout the department, and explain to patients when scheduling their appointment the consequences that this has on the department and other patients waiting.
  5. Show appreciation for the do-shows. Thanking patients for showing up on time encourages them to do so again.

To find out how we can help you reduce your DNA rates, contact a member of our specialist team today!

 *Source: NHS England