A missed letter of appointment is a letter you write to an individual to remind them that they missed a scheduled appointment. The missed appointment letter allows you to remind a patient or customer why it is essential to keep or cancel appointments punctually. In some instances, the patient’s missed appointment fee is written in the letter and justified.
Your medical center needs to have a process for communicating appointment cancellations and no-shows to you. Also, actions taken considering no-shows and cancellations should be recorded in the medical records. You could instruct a staff member to send a missed appointment letter to a patient as a follow-up action to a missed appointment according to the patient’s diagnosis. Efforts to communicate with the patient will depend on the severity of the patient’s condition and the potential effects of missing treatments.
Best Practices for Handling Missed Appointments
It would be best to ask for the patient to be contacted and notified of the appointment’s need to be rescheduled and kept, depending upon the patient’s condition. A time frame should also be provided in the instructions.
In this section, we have explained the best practices for handling missed appointments:
When a patient is at low risk
When a patient is at minimal risk, no intervention may be required. A single phone call or letter may work nicely to promptly explain the effects of not receiving proper therapy. For repeated missed appointments, you may need to warn the patient of a potential discharge from the medical facility.
When a patient is at a moderate risk
You may need to make a more concentrated effort to notify patients at moderate risk, for example, those in need of continuous supervision or care. Two registered telephone calls and a certified missed appointment letter should usually be appropriate, detailing the impacts of not being treated promptly.
When a patient has irregular test results
Suppose the missed appointment is to inform the patient of an unusual test result, and further care is necessary. In that case, failure to pursue a missed appointment can lead to a diagnostic delay if the patient is not informed and there is no treatment. The objectiveness of the follow-up action will depend on the test results’ clinical value, the seriousness of the patient’s medical condition, and the probability of failure to report the patient’s results.
Writing a Missed Appointment Letter
Missing appointments is not something new. People miss appointments in the course of their lives. Especially appointments that involve seeing a doctor for treatments. Therefore, it is important that you know how to write a missed appointment letter to remind your patients of a certainly missed appointment for rescheduling purposes and charges.
Below are the parts and content that your missed appointment letter should contain:
The salutation/greeting is where you write the patient’s name. Write the patient’s name, for example, Dear Mrs. Kimberly. Using the patient’s name shows that you care and remember your patients rather than using the generic greeting, i.e., Dear Mr./Mrs./Mrs.
State the missed appointment
In this section, remind the patient of the missed appointment. Include the doctor’s name, the accurate date, and the time that the missed appointment was scheduled.
For example, you missed your monthly check-up with Dr. Brandon Bridges, scheduled on 23 August 2020, at 10.00 am.
Explain cancellation policies
You could write that you understand why the patient canceled. It may have been due to unavoidable circumstances. Continue to then explain to the patient how to cancel in the future according to the medical center’s policies.
For example, we recommend that you cancel appointments within 24 hours of the scheduled appointment in the future to avoid extra charges.
State the consequences
Indicate that missing an appointment prevents you from giving the patient the required treatment, and their condition could worsen.
You could also say that there are extra fees charged for missed appointments.
State previous missed appointment’s charges
If there are previous appointments that the patient has missed, write them down to remind him/her. Write the dates of the previously missed appointments and any discounts you will give on the missed appointment fees. Encourage the patient to pay the missed appointment fees as well.
Show the patient that you and your clinic value him/her. You could do this by stating that you would like to see them again to proceed with the treatment plan already in place.
Add contact details
Give a number that the patient can call to reschedule another appointment or if they have further questions on how to reschedule in this step of crafting the missed appointment letter.
Sign off at the end of your missed appointment letter. The signature contains your name, hospital name, your title, and any enclosed documents containing fees.
Missed Appointment Letter Template
This letter is to inform you that you missed your monthly check-up appointment with____________ (doctor’s name) scheduled on _(date and time of the scheduled appointment). We understand that sometimes a patient is not able to honor a scheduled appointment due to unavoidable circumstances. However, we recommend to patients to cancel appointments within __(state the period allowed to cancel an appointment).
I am sure you understand we cannot _(write that you are unable to give care if an appointment is missed). It is also unpleasant for us as ___(state how missing an appointment affects you. For example, it keeps you and your staff idle.
This is the (number of appointments missed eg 3rd), according to our records, you missed in ___(the period the appointments have been missed, e.g., 12 month period). The first was missed on _(date of the first missed appointment) and the second was missed (date of the second missed appointment). For the previous two missing events, we__________(state any discounts on the missed appointment fees or if you are waiving the fees). Sadly, for a third missed appointment, we___________(write that you cannot cancel the fees). With this letter, we ____(write that you have enclosed the fees to be paid for the missed appointment).
You _(a state that the patient is valued) at _(name of the hospital)._(doctor’s name) would like to __(write that you would like to continue to see the patient) and proceed with __(indicate the treatment that the patient was undergoing). Please call our office at _(office number) to __(you could write to reschedule an appointment or ask questions).
Missed Appointment Letter Samples
Missed appointment letter when a patient is at minimal risk
Dear Mr. Kingston,
On 30 May 2020, we missed you at the Fountain Medical Clinic. We tried to contact you by calling and could not reach you. You must keep your appointments with us to be in the care of our clinic. The purpose of this letter is to remind you to appear for your appointments for ointment on your knee. You are not in any immediate danger, but it is important to honor your appointments. Dismissal from Fountain Medical Clinic can result from missing two consecutive appointments without changing the schedule or missing three out of five consecutive appointments.
I have rearranged your Fountain Medical Clinic appointment to 14:00 until 3 June 2020 at 2.00 pm. Call the clinic at(335) 223-0988 if you are unable to keep this appointment. Please leave a message with your name and number to call if you do not receive a response.
We are hoping to see you at the clinic.
Fountain Medical Clinic.
Missed appointment letter when a patient is at moderate risk
Dear Mr. Kingston,
You have missed your appointment for an IV drip, according to our records. The IV drip was to help to reduce your infection. You are not at any greater health risk. However, continuously missing your appointments may lead to the infection spreading further.
Call our clinic, and another appointment will gladly be scheduled. Whenever you cannot hold your appointment, we appreciate a call in advance so that we can cancel your appointment and use the time for a different patient.
We appreciate you choosing us as your caregivers. We always work hard to provide you with the best possible healthcare on time. We ask you to make extra effort to maintain all appointments or contact our office at least 24 hours before rescheduling. We will gladly reschedule your missed appointment until any complications arise from the delay in care.
We are looking forward to seeing you soon. Please contact our clinic if you have any questions at (223) 887-9988.
Numbera Medical Center.
Missed appointment letter when notifying about abnormal test results
This letter is has been sent to remind you of your missed appointment on 28 October 2018 at 2:00 pm with Robert M. Wilson. Two weeks ago, you visited us with chronic knee pain, and some tests and medications were recommended for you. The results of those texts were unusual. Therefore, the appointment was for the review of those tests and medicines.
Please consider rescheduling for an appointment so that we can conduct another test. Call us at (222) 334-7655 to reschedule or if you have any questions. We at Cornerstone Clinic very much value you. We are grateful for your trust in our services and will make every effort to provide the best care and treatment for you.
Writing missed appointment letters can be an easy task, especially if you have a template to guide you. We have provided you with downloadable and easy-to-follow missed appointment letter templates to guide and help you write such letters. Learning how to write these letters is an important skill as patients are known to miss their appointments. Our templates will help you to write effective missed appointment letters and encourage your patients to keep their appointments.
The medical record should record all attempts to inform the patient of missed appointments. The missed appointment letters should be written in a simple, reader-friendly language. If the letter is not delivered, check that it matches the patient’s address and if the post office is sending a new address, send the letter to the new address. If the patient refuses to receive the letter, send it again using normal first-class mail to the same address.