Consumers use online tools to make appointments for multiple industries, including restaurant reservations, beauty treatments, and buying of movie tickets. Patients demand the same functionality when making an appointment with healthcare providers. Medical appointment scheduling software allows patients to set up their own appointments, view appointment openings, manage existing appointments, and receive reminders of upcoming doctor visits. Compared with traditional appointment methods, medical scheduling software is more patient-centric and has many advantages due to improved medical care access. After implementing medical appointment scheduling software, many practices have shown positive changes, including reduced no-show rate, decreased staff labor, a reduction in waiting time, and improved patient satisfaction.
Reduce the no-show rate
Patient no shows are much more than just an inconvenience or nuisance. They result in the loss of revenue, increased operational costs, and more burden on practice staff. No-shows are a significant cause of wasted clinical resources, especially in today’s current climate, where practices must take extra precautions to ensure patient safety. No-shows are also detrimental to patients who require an appointment with their healthcare provider but were informed that there weren’t any available consultations at their requested time. Once it has been discovered that a patient won’t be attending their appointment it’s already too late to schedule in someone else. The patient-centered design in medical appointment scheduling software has the ability to decrease no-show rates. The reduction of no-shows is a result of the software allowing patients to check, cancel, and reschedule their appointments independently. Another possible reason is that patients feel more accountable for their appointments when they make appointments on their own without assistance. Providing patients with the means to cancel appointments 24 hours in advance of the appointment without having to call the practice reduces the amount of no shows.
Decrease staff labor
Steer your staff members away from the phones to more critical tasks within your practice. Medical appointment scheduling software automates the appointment scheduling process by letting patients schedule appointments at their own convenience without staff intervention. The appointment request system is easy for patients to use without the aid of practice staff, and lets them choose their healthcare provider and favored visit time from a list of available appointment slots. The patient scheduling software is often built to handle complex scheduling decision trees comfortably and is adaptable to specialty, forming the unique schedules of selected providers. Medical scheduling software can also be semi-automated for appointments that are too complex or require staff approval. A designated single users or multiple users in your organization receives an appointment request notification as soon as the patient submits it. Staff can check the appointment requests when it’s suitable for them and change the status to “scheduled” to confirm. A notification is sent to the patient confirming their appointment. Medical appointment scheduling software significantly reduces the amount of time your staff members spend on the phone, making appointments for patients.
Decrease waiting time
Everybody hates waiting, patients and providers alike. Long wait times are an indication of poor service quality and a source of disapproval that affects health care outcomes and patient retention. If patients feel that the wait times are far too long, they may pursue care from other providers, which can result in a loss in revenue. Medical scheduling software requires little intervention of staff members and thus frees them up to assist patients within the practice, reducing wait times. Most patients make healthcare appointments as soon as they need them, and they often can’t afford to wait a long time before they visit their doctor. Real-time scheduling systems can help further decrease the time between when the appointment is required and when the medical service is fulfilled. Real-time scheduling systems allow providers to reuse the time slots released due to cancellations. These allotted time slots will go to waste if traditional appointment methods are used due to the longer turnaround time, more free appointment slots results in less revenue.
An automated medical rescheduling system can improve patients’ access to care by reducing wait times for a doctor’s appointment, with an added benefit of reducing no-shows by sending patients a HIPAA compliant appointment reminders. Appointment reminders aim to further reduce no-shows by giving the healthcare provider the ability to deliver customized appointment reminders messages, from real-time calendar data. Appointment reminders can be sent via SMS, push notification, or email. Future modifications, such as adopting SMS text messaging, makes medical scheduling software more patient-centered, and helps promote more extensive utilization.
Improve patient satisfaction
Medical scheduling software is a feature of a patient-centric system. Patients appreciate being able to conveniently make their own medical appointments without the hassle of calling into the practice. The most noted benefit of real-time scheduling is after-hour access; patients are no longer limited to your office’s working hours to make an appointment. Patients waking up in the middle of the night feeling unwell can now make an appointment with your practice for the next day without any assistance from you or your staff. Real-time medical appointment scheduling software provides patients with a means to make appointments, view appointment availability, manage appointments, and receive reminders for their upcoming appointments 24/7. Self-scheduling software improves patient access to care by reducing the wait time for an appointment. Making healthcare practitioners’ jobs easier improves the quality of care provided to the patient. Staff members will no longer be tethered to the phone, making appointments, and better tend to patients within the practice.
A number of healthcare organizations are recognizing the benefits of making their primary focus on the patient and the patient’s experience inside and out of their practice. Evidence indicates that there is a growing trend for the adoption of web-based appointment systems. Patients will be expecting this functionally everywhere they go. A lack thereof may result in patients looking elsewhere for providers who keep up with the times and consider the patients’ wants and needs. Medical appointment scheduling software should be a given for any medical practice as there are proven benefits to a variety of patient outcomes as well as increasing efficiencies for health organizations.