The Hidden Costs of Missed Appointments

The Hidden Costs of Missed Appointments

Published On: September 1, 2020|Updated On: September 8, 2020|Nader Akhnoukh

According to Health Management Technology the cost of missed appointments to the US Healthcare system is $150B every year. The American Hospital’s Association put out a report showing that transportation was the third most commonly cited reason for missing an appointment, with an estimated 3.6 million missed appointments each year due to lack of transportation.

How does transportation affect healthcare?

For medical providers, this is clearly a large amount of lost revenue. Missed appointments also affects secondary revenue as patients are less likely to pick up prescriptions, for example.

The impact on patients is dramatic. Health risks go undiagnosed until it is too late and emergency services, like ambulances and the ER, need to be used. Hospital readmissions are much higher due to disease progression and complications.

What are medical facilities doing about it?

Fortunately, many hospitals and medical facilities have begun to experiment with paying for patient transportation. Early findings reveal a win-win situation for the entire healthcare ecosystem.

Hitch Health launched a pilot in 2018 with Hennepin Healthcare, where Hitch Health identified patients likely to miss appointments due to transportation and Hennepin paid for their transportation to and from their medical care. The pilot reduced no-shows by 27% and saved the clinic an estimated $270,000.

The American Cancer Society has taken a similar strategy by providing free rides to it’s partner facilities, through its Road to Recovery program.

These programs and others like them are a great first step to increasing patient access, increasing overall community health, all while increasing medical facility revenue. Most programs, however, do neglect an important segment of the population, those needing additional assistance. Consider an older adult needing assistance getting from their front door and into the car, or a post-colonoscopy sedated patient who needs to be signed out and cared for all the way home, or a patient who was cataract treatment and can not see. In each of these cases, the patient required door-to-door or door-through-door transportation, which they can’t get from traditional rideshare companies. Partnering with a company like Onward is the answer in those situations.

If you're a healthcare provider and interested in door-to-door transportation for your patients, you can learn more about our partnership program here. We look forward to working with you!