Can You Explain Your Behavioral Health Agency’s No-Show Rates in Relation to COVID-19?

By July 27, 2020

As we continue to progress through our data blog series, we will dive deep into another layer of your agency. Assessing trends surrounding no-show rates is imperative to longevity and business sustainability.

How Has COVID-19 Impacted No-Show Rates?

What data should you assess regarding the effects of COVID-19 on no-show rates? It is important to focus the analysis on three distinct areas, but includes one underlying question consistent within each area: What barrier is preventing this specific client from showing up to their session?

No-Show Rates Assessed for Telehealth Services

Likely, you saw a dramatic decrease in no-show rates in relation to the change in services as COVID-19 began to spread and agencies were given extended access to provide telehealth services. In addition, client availability increased with many individuals on furlough or working from home. Quickly, sessions were made immensely more accessible through a virtual world (for many populations). Also, clients had time and made time for their session. That said, as the individuals you serve begin to go back to work, will they be as prone to not miss their counseling appointments? For instance, if you see no-show rates shoot above 70% in the next three months when utilizing comparative analysis to the last three months, what practices should be implemented to address this? This could look like double-booking clients in order to maximize your opportunity to provide a billable service, among numerous other solutions.

No-Show Rates Assessed by Provider

Utilizing comparative analysis to expose no-show rates based on clinician, will create a foundation of discovery as to why this may be taking place. Is there a training gap one of your clinicians is experiencing that influences the individual’s experience during the session? Is that clinician not a great fit within your agency? Could a clinician with a low no-show rate share their best practices with the rest of the staff? Also, who is initiating the no-show when looking at data for each clinician? The client? The clinician? Knowing this information will allow you to have the types of conversations needed and determine the best solution to decrease no-show rates on a clinician to clinician basis.

No-Show Rates Assessed by Population

As a result of COVID-19, we have seen an increase in no-show rates across some populations, but a decrease for others. Likely, this is due to a population’s ability to adapt to telehealth including access to the equipment needed for a telehealth session (data could also expose additional reasons). So, if you have transitioned to providing increased telehealth services between March – July, you will want to compare the no-show rates associated with certain populations directly to no-show rates from January – March. If telehealth services have been introduced for that specific population and no-show rates went down – it is likely a great opportunity to continue providing telehealth services to that specific population moving forward. For other populations, the data will likely reveal an urgency to return to in-person sessions as soon as possible.

*Keep in mind that with data, you have an opportunity to report on increased billing and productivity with decreased no-show rates as proof your agency should no longer be just a temporary provider of telehealth services. Your short-term contract for providing these types of services could transition to a long-term contract, providing incredible benefit to your agency for years to come.

Tools to Leverage No-Show Rate Data

Ultimately – through both qualitative and quantitative data – you must drill down the reason for no-shows. There are three consistent platforms our partners have shared as successful ways in which they were able to determine the WHY behind no-show rates.

  1. Client Surveys. Send client surveys to individuals who have had a no-show in the past 30-60 days. Ask the individual why they did not show for the appointment in order to gather data.
  2. Clinician Calls. Integrate a new best practice for all clinicians to call the individual when he/she does not show up to an appointment to ask why. Coinciding this best practice, configure your EHR system to have a new note created when a clinician selects no-show, in order to document this reason. Each week, you can then run a report to expose the ‘why’ and observe patterns. Is it transportation? Is it childcare? As an example, one of our partner agencies was able to lower no-show rates by providing childcare in their facility. Childcare was the largest reason for a client to not show up for his/her appointment. The expense of providing childcare services was covered through the amount of increased billable services the agency was now providing by eliminating the reason individuals were not able to come to the sessions.
  3. Insights – Data Analytics Tool. Insights, by Remarkable Health is specifically designed to give you quick and easy access to your data. With 14 KPI’s – and growing – you have access to appointment analysis, client services and revenue data, and more. This data allows you to make sound decisions for your agency.

Ultimately, knowing the WHY behind no-show rates, and patterns for no-show rates with changes in services, clinicians, and various populations, is what will allow your agency to continue providing essential services to vulnerable clients and create more WOW moments in the world.