When you are running a physical/occupational therapy clinic, last minute cancellations and no-shows can have a huge impact on your business. In fact, they account for $250,000 of unrealized revenue for the average PT clinic[1].  An appointment that is terminated without plenty of notice is considered a cancellation. A patient no-show occurs when a patient doesn’t turn up to their scheduled appointment. The profitability of your clinic can often depend on these no-shows and late cancellations, so you need to explore ways to minimize this and manage your patients effectively. If your PT/OT practice doesn’t actively work to reduce the number of no-shows, this will result in an unmanageable number of gaps in your daily schedule.

What is the Cost of a Patient No-Show or Cancellation?

 A study in the USA reported that nearly one-fifth of physical therapy appointments were missed [2]. Several costs are incurred when a patient fails to show up to their arranged appointment. Employees, owners, and other patients are affected both financially and in less tangible ways. Considering an average of $100 per visit; when a patient cancels their appointment, it has an effect on overhead costs. You will have reduced revenue with the obligation to continue to pay your bills and employees their wages, regardless of the reduced income. The fixed costs of running your business will not remain the same even though you have to a lower intake of revenue. This can have a long-term impact on your clinic’s lucrativeness.

As well as financial implications, there will also be impacts on the patients themselves. Their carefully constructed treatment plan will be disrupted. It’s up to the  therapist to fit in another appointment to suit the patient’s needs. When a patient isn’t receiving the optimum treatment, PT/OT’s often feel like they aren’t doing their job, as the clinician. William and Pepper [2] reported that missed appointments reduce the number of appointment slots in which patients can be served while having the potential to increase recovery time. This might affect your reviews, ratings and positive outcomes as you won’t be able to assess a particular course of treatment if it wasn’t carried out in the correct time frame.

Combatting Cancellations

There is only so much you can do when it comes to preventing patient cancellations, but these steps might help to minimize the patient no-shows you experience in your clinic. The AC Health App has the ability to resolve cancellations by sending a push notification to all patients with the new available opening. When the schedule is full,  these patients now have the ability to snag an appointment as soon as it’s open.

This service alone saves physical/occupational therapists from losing a substantial amount of money due to cancellations and patient no-shows. The AC Health system works to fill in gaps that are inevitable.

Making Strategic Decisions

In the physical therapy industry, your clinic’s schedule is vital to the wellbeing of your patients and the survival of your business. By implementing tried and tested strategies and seeking out the best technology utilizing the AdviceCoach App, you can minimize cancellations and patient no-shows and notice more positive outcomes for your patients. All stakeholders benefit because of better service and increased efficiency. Want to open a free account on the AC Health App? Click here to realize the benefits and positive effects the technology brings your clinic.


[1] Bokinskie, James; Johnson, Payton; and Mahoney, Trevor, “Patient No-show for Outpatient Physical Therapy: A National Survey” (2015). UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones. 2323. https://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/thesesdissertations/2323

[2] Williams JAS, Pepper S. The impact of patient non-attendance on efficiency and the prediction of non-attendance for physical therapy, In: Proceedings of the Southeast Decision Sciences Institute. Orlando, FL; 2009. p. 804–14. Available at: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/aaa6/b46741eb0833b7dfbf9ffa92b7496d1047b2.pdf