Referring back to my blog on DNA appointments I received a lovely reply from a Reception Team Member who works for a surgery that has approx 25,000 patients.
She too spoke of the frustration that DNA appointments can cause on a daily basis. She now had a system in place at the end of the day where she gets her team to first checks who made the appointment, and whether the patient has already booked. The team approach the patient in a positive manner (ie not guns blazing) as she agreed there could be an error on the surgery in not cancelling the appointment. People will also respond better when someone is approaching them in a positive manner.
The team asks the patients why they DNA their appointment, and in many cases they are extremely sorry for missing their appointments.
I think this is an excellent exercise as it can flag up several issues
- It can let the patient know you are monitoring the appointments system – especially for those patients that just have not “bothered” to cancel their appointment.
- It could flag up that patients perhaps are cancelling their appointments and they are not being cancelled on the system
- Are appointments being booked too far in advance (ie 6 monthly BP checks, or diabetics checks – if so how could your surgery best deal with this.
- Could highlight the importance of giving out appointment cards whenever possible.
- Could highlight those few that are constantly not turning up for appointments.
When speaking to the patients regarding their DNA try to get the reasons why in a positive way and look at ways of improving the amount of DNA’s that your surgery has.
What would be helpful would be when you are talking to the patients if it is the first time you speak to them about their DNA you could explain that you are trying to look at the amount of DNA’s and at ways of decreasing these and their feedback on why they DNA would help with this exercise. Explain if patients cancel their unwanted appointments then this will free up appointments for other patients – which could be them. This was it will turn the telephone conversation into a positive one instead of a negative one.
But I am sure getting a phone call regarding a DNA will certainly get a patient thinking more carefully next time if they simply do not want the appointment and hopefully they will phone to cancel the appointment.
Thank you for your feedback and hopefully this will help other surgeries in dealing with their DNA’s.