With over 18,000 doctors treating 32,000 inpatients and 300,000 outpatients annually, The University of Maryland Medical Center depends on efficient systems to run its award-winning medical center.
When Luma Health started working with The Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine in November of 2013, the center was struggling with long wait times for MRI appointments, forcing it to use up the school's research facilities and research time to treat patients. At the same time, the center was experiencing a 9-10% cancellation rate, costing them $185K a month in lost revenue. The center was trying to remedy these problems with patient education and manual calls, but found that both inadequately addressed the problems.
We decided to focus our pilot on MRI utilization at outpatient imaging centers. We began by doing pre-appointment outreach. Luma Health sent text and voice messages that patients could actually respond to, replacing the manual call process staff had in place before.
Over a two month period, with pre-appointment confirmation texts alone, Luma Health decreased the cancellation rate by 20%, generating $3.4K in monthly revenue from MRI appointments alone. In addition, staff time spent on scheduling decreased on average between 1-3 hours. If the same techniques were to be applied across all radiology appointments (CT scans, US, X-ray, etc. ), we would increase revenue by $33K a month.
We found that in University of Maryland Medical Center's case, patients were more likely to forget appointments scheduled more than 2 weeks out. Staff had previously struggled to get a hold of patients in time by phone. Luma Health didn't simply send reminders; Luma sent texts that allowed patients to confirm and cancel appointments. This provided a timely reminder for forgetful patients. Additionally, patients found responding to texts to be effortless and quick, making patients who didn't intend to keep an appointment more likely to respond. Staff then had enough time in advance to fill cancelled appointments.
Since this study, Luma has rolled out an automated waitlist to which practices can add patients. When someone cancels, Luma Health will text, email, or call a patient on a practice’s waitlist and ask if they’d like to take the spot.
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