- Posted Monday September 16, 2019
Reducing DNAs is never far from the minds of savvy practice managers and it’s also one of the GP Forward View’s 10 high impact actions. Here are a few ideas for reducing DNAs to improve access and release capacity for clinicians.
There are many reasons why patients miss appointments, so it makes sense to approach this tricky issue from a variety of angles. Think about factors such as how you issue appointments, how easy it is to rearrange or cancel them, and whether your reminder system could be improved.
Getting patients involved
Encouraging patients to write their appointment cards themselves, rather than having it done for them, is presented in a high impact actions case study as a way of reducing DNAs by up to 18%. The idea is that patients feel more engaged with the process because they are more directly involved - as a result they’re more likely to recall the details of their appointment.
Research has shown that the number of forgotten appointments and communication errors can also be reduced by asking patient to verbally confirm the time and date of the appointment when they make it. This has been shown to reduce DNAs by 4%, so when used together these two techniques have the potential to make a significant difference.
Making life easier for everyone
It’s also recommended that practices make it as quick and easy as possible for patients to cancel or rearrange appointments. The majority of patients will take appropriate action if they have forgotten the details of an appointment - or no longer need it - when there is a quick and simple way to do so.
Always remember that patients’ time is also limited and their opportunities for getting in touch with the surgery may be restricted – if they encounter difficulties getting in touch on their first attempt, they might not get another chance.
The following ideas are all recommended to make cancelling or rescheduling appointments easier:
- Sending text reminders with an option to text back to cancel
- The ability to cancel appointments online
- A dedicated phone line for cancellations with a message taking option – available 24 hours a day if possible
Sharing ideas and knowledge
All of these are fantastic ideas to help your practice make the most of its appointment slots, which can have a positive impact on improving continuity of care and releasing time for GPs. If you have any other methods of reducing DNAs to share with fellow PMs then make sure to let us know in the comment section below!
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