How Missed Appointments Cost the US Healthcare System 150 Billion Each Year

Patient no-shows may seem like an inevitable part of the job, but that doesn’t make them any less costly. A single missed appointment costs healthcare practices an average of $200 per time slot, which adds up quickly. It’s also not just lost revenue; no-shows and cancellations lead to longer wait times for patients who do show up, as well as disrupting the flow of treatment.

According to a July 2022 Optum study, 52% of consumers missed an appointment over the past year. A big chunk of that was because of a lack of strong communication with their provider. Other reasons included language barriers, financial issues and transportation – all SDOH (social, economic and environmental) factors that can easily be addressed through smart scheduling, effective communication, and targeted outreach to specific populations with higher risk of missing appointments.

A recent study examining the reasons behind missed appointments found that patients with lower socioeconomic status were more likely to miss their appointments compared to those with higher SES. This is partly due to high medical bills, but it’s also because low-income patients often have no flexible schedules and face work restrictions that prevent them from taking time off for an appointment. In addition to reducing cost, increasing access for these patients is key to improving outcomes and ensuring a better quality of life. For example, telemedicine can be an effective tool for increasing access for underserved populations and help to reduce the number of missed appointments. missed appointments cost the u.s healthcare system 150b each year