Phoenix-Based Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Primary Care and Multi-Specialty Practice Improves No Show Rates by 35%

The Client

Name: Adelante Healthcare
Specialties: Primary Care, Women’s Health, Pediatrics, Behavioral Health, Dental Services

The Goal

Improve no show rates by replacing manual appointment reminder phone calls with automated reminders using text and voice messages.

The Result

No show rates for medical and dental practices improved by 35% and 40%, respectively.

The Challenge

Adelante Healthcare is a Federally Qualified Health Center offering primary care and multi-specialty care in Maricopa County, the largest county in Phoenix, Arizona. Adelante Healthcare originated 40 years ago as a small group of healthcare professionals caring for farm workers. Today, Adelante Healthcare cares for patients of all economic backgrounds across nine clinics that offer a variety of specialties, including internal medicine, family practice, pediatrics, women’s health, behavioral health, and dental services.

In 2018, Adelante Healthcare’s medical clinics were averaging an 18-20% no show rate. And, their dental practices were experiencing no-show rates as high as 30%. Understanding that no shows impact both patient access to care and downstream revenue, Adelante Healthcare recognized an opportunity to leverage technology to improve the process for reminding patients of upcoming appointments.

Previously, Adelante Healthcare’s front offices spent time manually calling patients one day before their scheduled appointments. Frustrated with the low call answer and response rate, they knew there had to be a better way to remind patients about their visits.

Before engaging a third party vendor, Adelante Healthcare explored options for add-on applications for their electronic health record (EHR) provider, NextGen.

While there was a text message appointment reminder solution, implementing it was inefficient and ineffective as it required the front desk to manually ask patients for their communication preference during check-in. This question was often bypassed as front office staff juggled a myriad of other tasks. As a result, very little communication was sent out via text and Adelante Healthcare began considering alternatives.

Adelante Healthcare was familiar with Providertech’s services and healthcare expertise, as Providertech was already helping Adelante Healthcare maintain their Joint Commission Patient Centered Medical Home status regarding population health outreach and engagement. Providertech’s flexibility and options for customization made it easy for Adelante Healthcare to pursue Providertech’s solution-oriented technology platform and appointment reminder solution. They also believed the fixed cost structure of Providertech’s solution was to their advantage, as they had no limits or restrictions on messaging volume. 

Since Adelante Healthcare had already seen the response rates and therefore effectiveness of engaging patients via text for population health outreach, they were confident Providertech could help them reduce no shows and improve visit adherence.

Front office staff averaged 37 hours per month making appointment reminder phone calls with a capture rate of about 40%. When all that work failed to translate into better care for patients, they decided to try something new.

Solutions Implemented

The Solution

Adelante Healthcare engaged Providertech to implement automated text message appointment reminders that notify patients of upcoming appointments and allow them to confirm or cancel, if necessary. The goal was to reduce no show appointments, which would improve quality outcomes for their patients and prevent lost revenue.

The text message appointment reminder solution was first rolled out across two sites while Adelante Healthcare and Providertech experimented with message content and timing. This enabled the operational team to learn the dashboard and customize business rules and processes that worked best for them before launching new protocols across all clinics.

Adelante Healthcare appreciated Providertech’s dedicated customer service and the ease by which the solution could be managed by their team.

Providertech’s willingness to troubleshoot and persist through unexpected challenges resulted in a truly tailored technology solution that met Adelante’s unique needs. 

For example, Adelante Healthcare’s high population of Spanish-speakers required some tweaking to the programming to ensure that patients received messages in their primary languages and that their response was interpreted correctly, whether it was in English or Spanish. 

Lisseth La Nier, Support Services Coordinator at Adelante Healthcare, noted, “Providertech never gave up on the challenges we encountered. They always came back with solutions that were in the best interest of both our patients and our practices and then worked alongside us to ensure success.”

Providertech never gave up on the challenges we encountered. They always came back with solutions that were in the best interest of both our patients and our practices and then worked alongside us to ensure success. – Lisseth La Nier, Support Services Coordinator

Medical clinic improved
no show rate by 35%

Significantly reduced call volume
with automated appointment reminders

Dental clinics improved
no-show rate by 40%

The Result

Since implementing Providertech’s text message appointment reminder solution, Adelante Healthcare has observed significant improvements in no show rates and appointment attendance. 

Across medical practices, Adelante Healthcare has been able to reduce no show rates to 13%—a 35% improvement in their no show rate. Dental practices improved their no show rate by 40% and are maintaining an average no show rate of 18%.

“In addition to reduced no show rates, our front office operations have benefited from the appointment reminder solution because we no longer have to spend time manually calling patients to remind them of upcoming visits. The solution has also greatly reduced call backs at our call centers, which frees up our phone lines for more urgent patient calls,” said Jodi Shephardson, Adelante Healthcare’s Director of Support Services.

By automating appointment reminders and providing a convenient way for patients to reschedule or cancel their appointment when something comes up, Adelante Healthcare has reduced their no show rate and improved scheduling efficiency across their practices.

In turn, clinical staff is able to maximize their schedule and productivity. And, more patients are receiving the care they need, when they need it.

In addition to reduced no show rates, our front office operations have benefited from the appointment reminder solution because we no longer have to spend time manually calling patients to remind them of upcoming visits. The solution has also greatly reduced call backs at our call centers, which frees up our phone lines for more urgent patient calls.

– Jodi Shephardson, Director of Support Services

75%

decrease in time spent confirming appointments

With Providertech’s help, we achieved a 75% decrease in time spent manually confirming appointments, helping us to more efficiently engage our patients using the resources we already had.

Amy Bastianelli |

Director of Population Health, La Communidad Hiispana

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