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  • Writer's pictureDee Bills, Founder

Preventing Cancellations in Times of Inclement Weather

It’s that time of the year when mother nature likes to mess with any state north of Florida.

And even in Florida, it can get unusually cold, and patients want to just stay home and warm.

In both cases, preventing cancellations can be difficult, and no-shows begin to rise due to the weather.

Weather-related cancellations and no-shows can really mess with schedule control and a patient’s visits kept per week metric.

And if your area gets a few storms over several weeks, this will also slow a patient’s progress and eventually create more problems for them, and for you.

As I discussed last week, visits kept per week is one of the most important metrics we should be tracking across a patient’s plan of care.

To establish a good training pattern and ensure the patient has the potential to progress and achieve their goals, we need them to schedule and arrive for their total weekly prescribed visits.

Preventing cancellations is crucial.

Anything less leaves them open for future problems, like:

  • Continued pain,

  • Slower progress toward their goals,

  • Boredom with the plan of care (because you can’t progress them),

  • A higher rate of same-day cancellations and no-shows,

  • and patients going MIA / dropping out of care.

These same patients also return to their physicians and tell them that your services didn’t work, which can affect your provider-to-provider referral relationship.

And overall, we, as providers, aren’t achieving our personal goals, which leads to a higher rate of job-related dissatisfaction and burnout.

But we can’t control what Mother Nature does, so HOW do we prevent weather-related same-day cancels and no-shows?

How do we implement prevention cancellation measures, even during bad weather?

Ever heard the term, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’?

Well, prevention is the KEY to success.

Since you can’t stop Mother Nature from creating havoc, you need another solution.

Yes, if you offer it, telehealth is a good option. But for many patients, get into your offer is essential.

So, here’s how you can handle things this time of year:

  • Keep an eye on the weather.

  • When a big storm, or one that would cause people to cancel, is predicted, have a plan to get patients in before the storm hits.

  • In the days before the storm is predicted, work to move all your patients up to the preceding days.

In our practice, our staff would typically have to use PTO or go unpaid if they can’t make it in to work, so we offer them the opportunity to work longer days leading up to the day of the storm.

This allows them to get their patients in for care and avoid having to stress about making it in if the roads are dangerous.

Win-win for all.

Remember, we’re here to help our patients meet their goals and live their best life.

This is a team effort; sometimes, we must think outside the box.

You may wonder how this relates to the front office. Well, they have to be highly skilled at managing patients and their care, including prevention cancellations.

And getting patients to move up their appointments as well as filling the schedule in the days leading up to the storm requires them to:

  • Know how to effectively control the conversation with patients

  • Maintain certainty of self when handling patients

  • Handle their objections to scheduling and arriving for care

  • Be skilled at managing the patient's plan of care

  • And be masters at offering appointments, and getting patients to take what you have available

If your schedule suffers during inclement weather, or at any time of year, now is the time to give your front desk staff the gift of training.

A well-trained front desk team can fill the schedule and keep it full. And they'll be able to master the conversation with patients to reduce the number of problematic patients and scheduling issues.

Check out The Front Office GURU Training Academy® and learn more about my virtual training option. You can train and retrain your staff regularly and if someone leaves, you can reuse their seat for your new hire. Join now and get started today.


With The Front Office GURU Training Academy®, you can have the tools you need to provide consistent training to your front desk.

When you provide consistent training, your team is more successful and success in their position helps to decrease turnover.

Here are just a few of the essential topics we cover in this program:

  • How to have the right mindset when speaking with patients.

  • How to get more new patients to schedule and arrive for their evaluation appt

  • How to talk about the cost of care and handle patient worries about costs

  • How to PREVENT cancels and no-shows (and also how to handle someone to keep it from happening again)

  • How to fill your schedule and keep it full

Watch this video to learn more:


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