It is true that everyone- the patient, the staff team…and, sadly, sometimes even the chiropractor, will innocently devalue the appointment.
It is also true that numbers don’t lie but people will; and a devalued appointment, regardless the excuse, will eliminate the opportunity of care for a chiropractic patient.
The following question needs to be understood… “technically, does it really matter in a patient’s overall care if they miss an appointment and they fail to make it up?”. The following correct answer needs to be placed in context…” probably not”. If a patient were to miss “an” appointment somewhere during their chiropractic care plan and failed to make it up, that single missed appointment would probably not ruin the patient’s outcome in care.
The reality is: you are not taking care of “technical” entities; chiropractic patients are no more technical than they are numbers or machines…they are, however, very human. Humans function with “human nature” and human nature creates habits. Ask yourself – “what happens when a patient misses an appointment and fails to make it up?”. The answer is- they miss a second appointment…and fail to make it up as well.” Then, they miss a third appointment, fail to make it up. And then, statistics identify the tipping point…the average patient misses a fourth appointment, fails to make it up, and they quit care. Hence the one liner- “they miss four…and they’re out the door”.
Whether the excuse is a holiday, a vacation, the weather, a sale on blue jeans, or any number of reasons…the end result is a patient losing the opportunity of chiropractic care. Therefore, missed appointments, that are not made up, are tragedies in the making.
Make-up-missed-appointments do not represent extra care, they simply represent the care the patients originally chose when they began care. A make-up-missed-appointment is as necessary as a pre consultation, an exam, an x-ray, or a report of findings with a new chiropractic patient. To feel that a make-up missed appointment is a hassle or something that is technical office policy is to act like the patient’s pain, problem with life impact, and care all have little or no importance.
If make-up-missed-appointments have been running rampant in your practice then you have seen less patient retention and probably feel the need for more promotion. Some doctors might contact a consulting service for chiropractic clinics but all you really need to do is take a very good look at why you became a chiropractor in the first place…to help patients regain their health. That reason, chiropractors, should never take a back seat to any other; if it ever does, then there are many other “businesses” that could be considered instead of chiropractic.
Make-up-missed-appointments are as basic a part of patient responsibility as anything else in care. Patients will follow your lead in realizing the importance of making up missed appointments once you raise the level of importance to its rightful position. Then, and only then, will devaluing the chiropractic appointment become a thing of the past.