Patient no-shows and last minute cancelations are a costly burden that many healthcare organizations face. Patients fail to honor their healthcare appointment resulting in no-shows for a multitude of reasons, often because they have simply forgotten about their upcoming consultation due to delays between making the appointment and the actual visitation date. Patients also do not turn up for their appointment because they couldn’t find a convenient or simple way to cancel it.
Vacant appointments caused by no-shows within the physician’s schedule disrupt clinic workflows reducing efficiency, and it also reduces access for other patients who could have utilized that appointment. No-shows waste valuable physicians’ time which results in a loss in revenue, worsened patient health outcomes, and ultimately dissatisfaction for both patients and healthcare providers.
An automated medical appointment scheduling software has the potential to aid the rescheduling process, so those waiting patients can promptly fill recently vacated appointment times. Medical scheduling software can also help patients honor their appointments by sending automatic appointment reminders via HIPAA compliant messaging, reducing the number of no-shows. Patients can easily confirm their consultation or reschedule it through a self-scheduling feature of a patient engagement platform available as a web application as well as a mobile app, available on iOS and Android.
The benefits of appointment reminders sent via HIPAA compliant messaging
Every patient appointment reminder software needs HIPAA compliant automated appointment reminders. 70 percent of patients want their healthcare provider to send appointment reminders via HIPAA compliant messaging. Patients are more likely to choose a healthcare provider who provides sought after digital capabilities. Patient appointment reminder software provides practitioners with the means to send real-time HIPAA compliant appointment reminder messages in a cost-effective way to large patient populations. Appointment reminders can be sent via HIPAA compliant messaging such as email, SMS text, and/or push notification. Automated reminders can also send patients a message when an earlier time slot is available, and then patients can either accept it or keep their original appointment. Using HIPAA compliant messaging to send automated patient appointment reminders has been shown to reduce no-shows by 38 percent and increase the cancellation of unwanted appointments.
The benefits of medical appointment scheduling software
68 percent of patients are more likely to choose a provider that offers patients the ability to make their own appointments via medical scheduling software. It’s predicted that in 2021 70 percent of healthcare providers will offer a patient self-scheduling feature, making it the norm rather than a standout offering. Medical appointment scheduling software automates the rescheduling processes and the filling of vacancies in provider schedules. This results in an increase in patients’ access to care by reducing wait times for an appointment. Patients who leveraged medical scheduling software experienced an increase in timely access to care. Waiting time to see a primary care physician was reduced by 15 days, and the wait time for specialty care was reduced by 24 days.
Medical scheduling software can either be automated or semi-automated.
Automated – Appointment requests are automatically scheduled once the patient submits their appointment request.
Semi-Automated – Designated staff members can receive and review appointment request notifications as soon as they are submitted and change the status from “pending” to “scheduled” to confirm, then a notification will then be sent to the patient.
Features of a medical scheduling software
Medical scheduling software provides patients with the ability to:
- Schedule their own appointments without the intervention of practice staff
- View real-time appointment availability and anytime from any device
- Manage their existing appointments
- Receive reminders for upcoming appointments
- Manage dependants appointments
- View available healthcare providers
- Search for appointments based on provider or location
Medical scheduling software is often found within a patient engagement platform. Increased patient engagement benefits both patients and healthcare providers. That being said, healthcare providers are now implementing patient engagement platforms in order to better engage with patients and aid their patients in engaging in their own healthcare. A patient engagement platform should include multiple digital features, not just medical scheduling software.
Features such as:
- Integration into the source system Electronic Health Record (EHR), Revenue Cycle Management (RCM), or Practice Management (PM).
- A client branded iOS or Android patient engagement mobile app
- Tailored to the practice’s scheduling workflow
- The ability to handle complex scheduling decision trees
- HIPAA compliant messaging
- HIPAA compliant appointment reminders
- Patient engagement mobile apps
- Virtual visits
- Remote patient monitoring
- Patient education
- Online patient payment solution
- Prescription-refill requests
- Post-visit patient-satisfaction surveys
- Patient check-in software
The benefits of patient check-in software
What happens to a patient after they have used medical scheduling software and have now arrived at the practice? The traditional check-in process typically comprises of completing new enrollment forms, recanting clinical history, filling in consent forms, and navigating insurance/billing before the consultation. These tasks usually take place in the waiting room of a clinic. Patient check-in software allows users to complete the intake process remotely on their chosen device, negating spending an extended amount of time in a waiting room interacting with clinic staff (leading to a better in-person experience). Bridge has a device-neutral patient check-in software that seamlessly integrates with EHR, RCM, and PM systems to expedite the patient check-in process. Protected Health Information (PHI) provided by the patient during the remote check-in process is sent to the practitioner immediately, which decreases staff labor and wait times.
There is a developing trend for utilizing web-based appointment systems in all industries, and healthcare is finally catching up. An increasing number of healthcare organizations are realizing the benefits of implementing medical scheduling software. This sought after feature is no longer a luxury as it has become a necessity for many patients. Bridge Patient Portal offers a medical appointment scheduling software that integrates completely into a healthcare organization’s PM/EHR/RCM. An automated medical appointment scheduling software has the ability to improve patients’ access to medical care and reduce no-shows for a healthcare organization. The utilization of appointment scheduling software discussed above ultimately results in an increase in revenue.