You’re Putting New Patients On the Schedule… But Why Will They Arrive?

A major issue with healthcare and Physical Therapy practices is people don’t show up. It’s not because people are lazy or don’t care, it’s because providers don’t give their patients a clear reason why they should arrive.

Too often, I see providers equate getting a patient scheduled with the patient arriving. This is far from the truth.

Scheduling is simply a step in the process of getting patients to arrive, it’s not the objective.

If you’re not able to answer the question of “why will this patient arrive at our clinic” at the end of every new patient call, there’s no way for you to decrease the risk of them not arriving.

Creating more practice and patient success starts with shifting your mindset from “let’s get patients scheduled” to “let’s get patients to arrive.” 

Follow along as we explore how to make this shift and what you can start doing today to get patients to arrive.

Stop Focussing on Insurance and Referrals

When I do secret shopper calls, the two most common questions I’m first asked are  “what’s your insurance” and “do you have a referral?”

Though asking these questions first are a common practice, they are the two worst questions you can start a patient call with.

“Why?” You ask.

Because taking someone’s insurance isn’t enough to get them to arrive. 

This question stems from practices putting the business before the patient. And putting business success ahead of patient success is a clear path to failure. It must be the other way around.

To drive this point home further, guess who has the worst arrival rates… In-network clinics. 

Clearly, something is off here.

These questions obviously need to be answered at some point, but it’s not at the beginning of a conversation with your patients. There’s much more important information you need to gather from prospective patients before these questions should come up.

Patients Need to Understand Why they Should Choose Your Practice

When I first start working with practices or their front desk teams, I listen to their calls and once the calls are over I ask them, “why will that patient arrive?”

In many cases, I get generics answers such as: 

“They need physical therapy for their back.” 


“They need an appointment for Thursday.”

The problem here is that there’s really nothing specific about these answers. There’s nothing that highlights why YOUR specific clinic is the one the patient needs to arrive at. 

Furthermore, you haven’t even clarified what physical therapy means to the patient. And if you don’t know what they truly want and expect, you cannot decrease the risk of them not arriving.

Gather the Right Information to Increase Arrival Rates

If you’re not able to answer why your patients should arrive, it’s time to start putting the patient first.

Always remember:

All patients have desired outcomes or goals they want to achieve by coming to your clinic…

Clarify what these are.

All patients have expectations around the care they will receive…

Build trust by setting and managing these expectations.

All patients want to see an expert that can diagnose them properly…

Ensure that the patient understands they are seeing an expert, one who will fulfill the promise of telling them what is going on.

All patients want a map to their destination…

Make it known that the expert they are seeing will provide a map to their desired outcomes (goals)… The Plan Of Care

This is the information that matters to patients.

This is the information that decreases doubt and uncertainty.

This is the specific information that allows your patients to understand why they are choosing your clinic.

Set Your Patients Up for Success Starting Today

On your next patient call, I challenge you to get into an “arrival” mindset. 

I challenge you to see scheduling as just a step in the process, not the goal.

Gather the information you need to answer the question, “why will this patient arrive”, and use it to help the patient feel confident in their decision to choose your clinic.

Without the right knowledge in hand, your chances of decreasing the risk of patients not arriving is slim.
If you have any questions or want to learn more about this process, reach out today.

It’s time to stop worrying about negative reviews, a bad reputation, or a failing business.

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