Measuring CLEAN Arrival Rate

As a practice owner, you’re likely tracking patient arrivals; but are you collecting the most accurate and useful data?

There’s a lot of false or confusing data out there about what are the best stats that your front office should be tracking and measuring. There are 5 statistics your team should measure:

  • New Patient Conversions – calls converted to scheduled and arriving new patients

  • Patient Arrivals – this should be a clean measurement

  • Schedule Efficiency or Utilization

  • Visits Kept Per Week

  • Collections

I’ve recently helped several owners clean up their front office tracking and I wanted to share some valuable information that you can easily apply right away.

Track a positive stat, not a negative one.

Instead of measuring cancellations, measure arrivals. When you track a positive stat – one that tracks growth or positive action – staff will better see how they’re positively impacting their patients and the practice.

Set targets.

It all comes down to having goals. Everyone needs a game to play and targets are a game that all good employees will work to achieve. And everyone should have a target that they’re working toward. Without targets, there’s no potential for growth.

Your front office stats should be measured as percentages.

Each of the stats listed above should be measured as a percentage to provide the most accurate data because you need to be able to compare data across time. Using percentages shows your staff how they’re measuring up in current time, regardless of the number of visits you’re currently doing. As the practice grows they’ll be able to measure how well they’re filling the schedule, getting patients to arrive as scheduled, and collecting patient responsibility.

For example, I could have 100 visits scheduled and 70 arrive. Without measuring it as a percentage, they might think they’re doing really well. But when you look at it as a percentage, they’ll see that only 70% of their patients arrived. Also, you can set a percentage target for a specific stat and no matter how many visits you’re doing, they will be able to compare how they’re doing helping those patients.

When measuring arrival rate, measure clean arrivals percentage.  

Your front office team should measure clean arrival rate. And it should be measured manually.

Arrival rate is a measurement of how well your patients understand that they need to show up for their scheduled appointments or provide a day’s notice if they cannot. That notice allows you enough time to help someone else get in for care. Without that notice, you lose the time that’s needed to call other patients to help them get in for care.

A clean arrival rate does not take into account someone who cancelled an appointment in the days prior (because those should have been handled and rescheduled but even if they weren't that counts toward a different measurement). It also doesn’t take into account same day refills or fill ins.

Only same-day cancellations and no-shows count against clean arrivals percentage. If your team fills a spot same-day, the refill doesn't count toward arrivals because the patient wasn’t previously scheduled to arrive.

When you remove the patients who changed appointments previously or even those who cancelled ahead of time but didn't reschedule (different measurement), and you remove any same-day schedule additions or refills, you get a true, clean arrival rate.

Our goal is 95% arrivals and this is exactly how we measure it.

If someone refills a same-day cancellation with another patient, we still count the cancellation because the original patient did not arrive AS SCHEDULED.

That brings up another point. There are some that say that if you reschedule to patient in the same week, it’s not a cancellation. But, I have a question for you…how many spots did that one patient take up for that one appointment? TWO. The one they cancelled without notice AND the one you refilled.

If you don’t get a handle on cancellations and really track them and confront them, your practice growth will be stunted.

Finally, put your front office in charge of tracking, measuring, and managing their own stats.

When your team tracks their own stats / metrics, they’re now responsible for making it go right and they’re accountable to themselves when they don’t make it go right. If you track it for them they never see how they impact the practice - positively or negatively - and they’re less likely to achieve their target.

Wishing you the best, today and always!


I started Front Office GURU to forward the private practice industry and ensure that practice owners had a way to expand and help their practice THRIVE, not just survive...and I've done it over and over again!

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