The Ramstein Clinic started offering its patients the opportunity to cancel their medical appointments 24 hours a day seven days a week Jan. 26 by calling the clinic telephone number at 479-2273 (CARE) or 06371-46-2273 and selecting option No. 6, or toll free in Germany, 0800-664-5626. This will connect the patient to a live clerk who can immediately cancel the medical appointment.
Capt. Tad Dear, clinic manager, said the new process was initiated by a culmination of several things. The first focus was to improve the customer service aspect.
“When we looked at the options we gave our patients to cancel an appointment, we had just one, and that was to call the appointment line 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. One option doesn’t give our patients any flexibility,” Captain Dear said.
Second, the clinic, as a medical facility, had to optimize its resources.
“We can only offer a limited number of appointments per day, so we looked at optimizing what appointments we make available to our patients, and the no-show appointments are truly a waste of our resources. Third, the opportunity for a 24 hour, seven day a week appointment cancellation line presented itself when we learned how the Nurse Advise Line operates. We basically proposed an additional service to their existing services,” Captain Dean said.
What are the potential cost savings for the Air Force?
Each no-show appointment costs, on average, $100. In 2008, the 435th Medical Group had more than 5,900 no-show appointments. That equates to more than $590,000. In the Ramstein Family Medicine clinic, they had more than 2,900 no-show appointments, which equals more than $290,000.
“If we could reduce the no-show appointments by 50 percent through this service, I think that is a substantial amount of savings,” said Captain Dear. “Hopefully, if patients call and cancel their appointment, there will be more appointments
available for other patients to book into.”
(Courtesy of 435th Medical Group)