Is Your Call Abandonment Rate Costing You Patients?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

By Blakely Roth |  October 5, 2023

Physicians want fully booked schedules. Yet, with fierce competition in the healthcare industry and high staff churn — practices are struggling to maximize throughput. 

High-growth practices are seeing more patients than ever before by directing phone traffic to their online scheduler. While you can’t avoid patients calling in with billing or healthcare questions, you can divert scheduling traffic to an online booking tool, drastically reducing phone traffic and helping you increase patient bookings. 

Look at your current situation. With busy phone lines and staff who are struggling to book patients quickly enough, how well can you guarantee that you are booking every prospective patient who calls in? What is your call abandonment rate? Without another scheduling option, patients fall through the cracks, dropping phone calls and costing you revenue. 

The Patient Acquisition Problem: Busy Phone Lines

With patients calling in every day to book appointments, ask about a bill or discuss healthcare needs — phone lines can get backed up fast. Couple this heavy traffic with inexperienced staff in training or a post-weekend influx of calls, and phone hold times can keep patients waiting for minutes on end.  

Today, 82% of patients prefer a provider who offers online scheduling. Additionally, 61% of patients reported that they’ve skipped doctor appointments altogether due to challenges associated with scheduling, including being directed to book appointments over the phone. 

With a high majority of patients who prefer online scheduling and the existing stigma around the difficulty of over-the-phone scheduling, your new and once-loyal patients will not wait on hold very long. Instead, they will drop the call to ring up the next practice they found online or possibly skip the appointment altogether. 

Abandoned calls lead to missed revenue and potentially a loss of life-long patients. To calculate your annual missed revenue due to abandoned calls, determine your daily call volume, estimated dropped calls and average revenue earned by appointment. Then, use this calculation below: 

Daily Call Volume: determine how many calls your practice receives per day 

Dropped Call Rate %: of all the calls that come in, estimate the % of those calls that get dropped or use the national average of ~6.5% 

Average Revenue Earned Per Appointment: Use the average revenue per appointment  

How to Calculate Phone Abandonment Rate & Annual Missed Revenue 

  1. Daily Call Volume X Dropped Call % = # of Dropped Calls 
  2. # of Dropped Calls X 55% (Avg Calls That Become an Appt.) = # of Missed Bookings/Day  
  3. # of Missed Bookings/Day X Average Revenue Earned Per Appointment = $ of Missed Revenue/Day  
  4. $ of Missed Revenue/Day X Open Business Days = Annual Missed Revenue 

Here’s an example:

Boost Patient Acquisition by Steering Phone Traffic to an Online Scheduler

High-growth practices are able to get more patients on their books simply by offering patient self-scheduling 

One practice sees 55% of appointments booked online occur during office hours, saving staff from having to manage countless more phone calls in a day. The practice accomplishes this in part due to their phone hold message. Simply by adding a phone-hold message that directs patients to go online to make appointments, they can reduce phone traffic for their already busy staff, helping to retain prospective patients calling in. Practice Manager at The Orthopaedic Group, Jennifer Lott, shares, “I think the online scheduler has been impactful for us during extremely busy workdays, like after a holiday. Those days our hold times are longer than normal, but since our on-hold message encourages patients to go online to book appointments, we’re able to direct that traffic online, versus on the phone, which benefits our patients and our staff!” 

Today, 45% of online appointments are made after hours, while 34% of online appointments are made at the last minute for The Orthopaedic Group. Lott goes on to share the benefits the practice sees as a result of online bookings, “When we implemented online self-scheduling, we were able to meet all of our provider and practice requirements. Now, when patients book online, we know it will be accurate, which isn’t something you can always guarantee in an over-the-phone interaction. 

Watch the full conversation with Jennifer Lott from The Orthopaedic Group in this on-demand webinar. 

With just a few clicks, patients can easily book appointments at the right time, with the right provider and without the hassle of waiting on hold. By offering this seamless booking experience, you not only improve patient satisfaction but also reduce the likelihood of losing new and existing patients to competing practices. The automated nature of online scheduling ensures that fewer prospective patients fall through the cracks.  

Adopt proven patient scheduling software to unlock your practice’s full potential and accelerate patient acquisition rates.  

Try The Winning Patient Acquisition Formula

Acquiring new patients and retaining existing ones is becoming an increasing challenge. Between long phone hold times, shifting patient preferences for booking appointments and fierce competition — specialty practices need to act now to meet patient acquisition goals.  

Online scheduling is a powerful tool that addresses these patient acquisition problems by reducing phone traffic, increasing convenience and fostering patient loyalty. With the right tools and strategies in place, high-growth practices can flourish and ensure their providers’ schedules are fully booked.  

See the winning patient acquisition formula that high-growth practices use to see more patients than ever before. 

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