Global phenomenon in healthcare: No Shows

Global phenomenon in healthcare: No Shows

A long-standing problem in hospitals; patients don't show up or cancel late. It is also a persistent problem that costs healthcare institutions millions of euros every year. Then it is good to know why patients do not show up and how this can be remedied. Because many a hospital has been deploying tools to prevent no shows for a long time and yet the numbers are not decreasing. 

Causes of global no shows

Simply pointing fingers at the patient is not an option, as there are multiple causes that cause appointments to be missed. This is according to a report recently published by Dashplus. These include patient-related factors, but also organisational factors. Also, the healthcare system also plays a role.

Among patient-related causes, research shows that young people between 16-30 years and elderly people aged 90+ are more likely to miss appointments. Not only age, transport and mobility also increase the likelihood of missing an appointment. There are also issues such as a language barrier, fear and concerns about cost. This makes the high degree of socio-economic deprivation given as the main cause. 

Looking at the organisational factors, they include miscommunication between patient and healthcare facility, busy phone lines where some of the patients hang up when they are put 'on hold'. Long waits in the waiting room also promote no-shows and public transport. If a healthcare institution is too far away or difficult to reach by public transport, this can also affect the number of no shows. It is also indicated that institutions often do not offer an online booking system. Many patients, but also practitioners, prefer a system where patients can schedule an appointment online themselves. This way of making appointments has a positive impact on the number of appointments that are kept. 

Ways to reduce no shows

It already happens in many hospitals, text messages and/or emails to remind patients that they have an appointment. But AI is also being used to reduce the number. Like at Erasmus MC in Rotterdam. There, 650,000 appointments are made every year and about 40,000 of these are not kept, i.e. no shows. With AI, it looks at 13 criteria to determine who is most likely to miss the appointment. These include age, living distance and previous no shows. Based on the results, the people most likely to have a no show are called back. The Rotterdam hospital's figures show that AI is having an effect. With the use of artificial intelligence, the number of missed appointments fell by 14.3%. 

So is AI the solution?

It certainly contributes to the solution, but we are not there yet. The number of shortages of doctors and specialists in hospitals and other healthcare facilities is still a problem. The result is long waiting lists and appointments scheduled far ahead. On top of this, too few online consultations are offered, while this form of care has a lower rate of missed appointments. 

As mentioned earlier, making appointments yourself is also a means of reducing the number of no shows. For instance, Dashplus' report shows that 67% of patients prefer to make their own appointment for an online consultation. Automatic reminders further reduce the number of no-show appointments by 29%. 

Rather a combination 

We can conclude that a combination of AI, online consultations and self-scheduling of appointments will reduce the number of missed appointments. The healthcare landscape will therefore have to shift in part. From physical to online. A shift in which Webcamconsult can help. Not only can online consultations be conducted via Webcamconsult, you also give patients the option of scheduling their own appointments, you can create an online walk-in clinic and there is the possibility of an ongoing chat. On top of that, the language barrier problem is tackled through real-time translation. Both patient and practitioner can speak in their own language while it is instantly translated on screen.

In any case, enough reasons to be able to keep an appointment and thus avoid a lot of costs and time, but also irritation.

Are you interested in giving Webcamconsult a try in your practice or care institution? Then you can use our service for one month free of charge. If you need more information, you can always contact Webcamconsult at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.