5+ Year Member
Feb 1, 2012
San Antonio, Texas
Pre-Rehab Sci [General]
I've been asked by my clinic I'm working at to do an in-service on how to reduce cancellation rates. I've done some research and have found many suggestions on implementing a cancellation fee for late cancellations, enforcing cancellation/no show policies, having a wait list, etc. But I was wondering if anyone has any other ideas that they have seen work well in the clinic. The front staff handles all scheduling and therapists at my clinic see other therapists patients as well. If anyone has some input/recommendations or a good resource I can look into I would greatly appreciate it.


7+ Year Member
Dec 17, 2009
We have patients sign a cancellation policy. We try to get patients to come in later that day or reschedule so that we still get the visit at some point during the week. Additionally, I also set the tone from my initial eval on the importance of adherence to the POC to see results. I also make sure to establish the patients goals so that they feel I am working on what's important to them, not just what I think they should be doing. Also, before every patient leaves I check the schedule to say, "See you (specific date) at (specific time)!" This has saved me a lot of a cancellations alone, because so,sties the patient says, "Tomorrow!? I can't come tomorrow!" So we can reschedule before it turns into a cancellation.

I don't really have a specific source (other than my company's policy manual haha) though, but maybe these types of ideas will help!


10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 17, 2008
Physical Therapist
-I haven't seen it in PT clinics, but I've seen other healthcare settings using text message and email reminders day of or day before.
-Discuss the POC and timeline w/ patients. If they feel like they're coming back to do the same thing, with no end in sight, they aren't going to take appts as seriously.
-Office staff calls no-shows ASAP to try to reschedule, especially if they've no-showed and not cancelled.

Just a thought. The fees/policies/wait list "rules" can all come across as kind of negative and disciplinary. I think it's generally better to focus on explaining why your pts need to be there versus threatening with what happens if they're not.


Senior Member
15+ Year Member
Sep 2, 2004
We tried charging people for no shows and you end up spending more time and money with collections. that plan was aborted. We have a smallish department so we are able to give reminder calls to each of our patients the day before. It has helped some but they still cancel and they still don't show. If they don't show two times, we give them a warning that if they don't show a third time they will need to seek therapy elsewhere. At least those folks don't come back when we fire them.

agree with callmecrazy post especially in the last line.
Jun 16, 2014
Pre-Physical Therapy
At my OP PT Clinic, we do reminder calls the day before, and we make it a point to verify each upcoming visit before the patient leaves. The patient also gets a print out of their upcoming appointments. If a patient late cancels/no shows, they get 3 strikes. 1 - warning. 2 - Late Cancelation (less than 24 hrs)/No show fee, 3 - discharged. We also utilize a wait list so that the physical therapist's time isnt wasted.
Jun 17, 2014
Pre-Physical Therapy
Predicting and reducing no-show rates is a big business and there have been many studies examining the effectiveness of different strategies, so I would definitely do a quick lit search on the topic. I work at an OP clinic associated with a major hospital and we recently implemented a new reminder policy that targets patients at high risk for poor attendance, rather than wasting time and money calling everyone.