Have you been thinking of ways to prevent surgery cancellations?
Cancellations cause a lot of extra work, particularly when patients cancel at the last minute. They also represent a missed opportunity to generate revenue, which is important in a competitive market. Cancellation of elective surgeries costs the U.S. healthcare system between $16.3 and $17.8 billion every month.
But bariatric patient cancellations are preventable by effectively preparing patients for surgery. Consider doing these four expert strategies.
- Surgery cancellations cost your practice time and resources.
- Most reasons for patient cancellations are preventable with strong patient preparation.
- You can prepare your patients for surgery and prevent cancellations by sending automated reminders, taking a detailed medical history, collecting payments in advance, and emphasizing mental preparedness.
Why Prevent Surgery Cancellations?
Cancellations due to last-minute emergencies, lack of insurance, or bad weather can be frustrating for both patients and surgeons. A high number of cancellations makes it difficult to keep operating room schedules on time. Also, the revenue lost can have a significant impact on your ability to provide the best care to your patients.
Why Do Patients Cancel Surgery?
It’s critical to understand why patients cancel surgery. Understanding the root causes will help you effectively reduce cancellations at your practice.
Below are the most common reasons why patients cancel bariatric surgery:
- No-show: When patients simply do not turn up for their surgery, often because they forgot or misunderstood the schedule.
- Didn’t complete the prep: When patients fail to fast the night before or complete other necessary pre-surgery preparation.
- Don’t have a ride home: When patients haven’t arranged for someone to pick them up and safely drive them home after surgery.
- Medically unfit: When a patient is medically unable to enter surgery due to conditions like hypertension or anemia or because something in their medical history presents a risk to the procedure
- Can’t afford their out-of-pocket responsibility: When a patient is financially unable to cover their portion of the bill.
- Anxiety: When a patient refuses or cancels their surgery due to fear over the procedure or the anesthesia.
The reasons for cancellation are as varied as the patients themselves. Before you can reduce the cancellation rates at your practice, it’s important to thoroughly assess which of these reasons are most common in your patients. Keep comprehensive records and spend time talking to patients to determine where you should direct your efforts.
4 Tips to Prevent Surgery Cancellations by Bariatric Patients
The key to preventing surgery cancellations is making sure your patients are fully prepared. Implement these four strategies to ensure every patient arrives on the day of surgery ready to speed through the surgical prep process.
1. Send Automated Reminders
Poor communication is at the heart of most patient cancellations.
Whether your patient had the wrong time in their calendar, forgot to fast, or simply turned up at the wrong location, improving communication is the most effective way to prevent most cancellations.
Automated reminders are a fantastic way to ensure patients receive and understand the information they need. Reminders provide concise, timely triggers for patients to begin their fast and turn up for surgery at the right time and location.
Don’t rely on patients to transfer the often-overwhelming amount of information from their pre-surgery paperwork onto their calendar or diary. Use automated reminders to guarantee your patients get alerts on the most important aspects of their prep precisely when they need to act.
2. Take a Detailed Medical History
Cancellations due to the patient being medically unfit are also highly preventable. That’s why it’s critical to get a detailed medical history and identify any red flags before the day of surgery.
Having a detailed medical history helps you confirm that a patient has completed any required testing. It also helps the entire surgery team know the patient’s health risks to ensure they won’t disqualify the patient from the procedure.
You can obtain a detailed medical history over the phone, but sending them to an online health history portal is often more convenient for both your patients and staff.
3. Collect Payments in Advance
A patient’s inability to pay should never cause a last-minute cancellation. The most effective way to alleviate day-of-surgery stress for your patients and ensure a smooth process is collecting payment in advance.
Waiting until the day of surgery to handle the patient’s payment invites delays and cancellations that could be easily prevented. By handling finances in advance of surgery, you can eliminate last-minute cancellations due to an inability to pay and make the process more convenient.
4. Emphasize Mental Preparedness
A massive 92.6% of adult patients report preoperative anxiety. Whether it’s about the anesthesia or the operation itself, cancellations due to anxiety are preventable with strong patient preparation.
Taking the time to connect with patients before the day of surgery is vital. You should explain the entire process, and patients should have ample opportunity to ask questions. Repeat instructions as many times as the patient needs to fully understand what they need to do before arriving for their procedure.
Let your patients know who they can reach out to with any concerns or fears. When they know that their anxiety is normal and that there is someone to talk to about it, patients are significantly less likely to cancel.
Bonus Tip: Let Technology Do the Work for You
A well-prepared patient is significantly less likely to cancel their bariatric surgery. But sending reminders, taking histories, and ensuring compliance with pre-surgical steps all take valuable time. So put technology to work for you and automate as much of your pre-op process and reminders as possible.
Wellbe’s ConnectedCare is a comprehensive personalized care automation platform that will ensure your patients have all the information they need to turn up fully prepared on the day of surgery.
Contact us to learn more about how Wellbe can prevent surgery patient cancellations at your practice.