Archive for April, 2011

Patient Appointment No-Shows – Dealing With It?

Lisa West April 23rd, 2011

Unquestionably, patient appointment no-shows can play havoc with overall medical practice management: Having a negative affect upon patient care as well as productivity and so finance. Today many medical practitioners are utilising patient appointment scheduling software to deal with no-shows: And for good reason.

Pros and Cons
Over the years various strategies have been undertaken to deter no-shows. Even so, research indicates that a typical family medical practice can experience no-show rates as high as thirty percent – That amounts to a lot of lost revenue. Charging a fee for a missed patient appointment is certainly an option. However, while it can deter regular patients – It can also deter new ones.
Overbooking is another commonplace medical practice management strategy undertaken to deter no-shows: And it can protect revenues. However, overbooking can actually cause more problems than it solves. In addition, it has to be noted that this approach neither deals with no-shows nor deters them.

Patient Appointment Reminder Calls
While patient appointment reminder calls have proven to reduce no-shows, taking the time to make them can be an arduous task – Particularly in a busy practice. Plus, while they may indeed work, one has to balance the cost of staff taking the time to make them (and inconvenience) in comparison to the cost of missed appointments – Pulling staff away from the front desk to deal with this tedious task can negatively affect overall patient care; which is not good for the doctor-patient relationship.

Hence, more and more medical practitioners are turning to patient appointment scheduling software. It is extremely cost-effective. Not only can it keep the pressure off the front desk by dealing with appointment scheduling calls; many appointment scheduling systems can also deal with reminder calls – Ensuring they are made at the right time, on time, every time.

Costs v Results
With patient appointment scheduling software your medical practice can reduce no-shows cost effectively as well as effectively. These systems can multi-task and work above and beyond human limitations which makes them faster, more accurate and comparatively low cost. Some web-based systems can schedule appointments paid in advance. With so many options offering so many solutions medical practice’s can finally deal with no-shows – Which has to be a way forward..

Medical Appointment Scheduling Software – It Can Only Make Sense

Lisa West April 23rd, 2011

Just about every medical practice – regardless of whether it might be a family clinic, specialist or dental – most experience similar problems when it comes to medical appointment scheduling. And when it comes to exactly what can (and does) go wrong, the list is long – Particularly if dealing with patient appointment scheduling for several doctors – Perhaps even several doctors working in specialist clinics at several locations. An overrun front desk is an invitation to error: Sometimes even small mistakes can be costly.

Forgetting to Cancel an Appointment – If the patient calls to cancel their doctor appointment, and the receptionist is distracted when trying to deal with that call, this can happen. That means a patient appointment slot is lost and so too is revenue.

Double Booking Appointments – With an already tight schedule double booking a patient appointment can bring chaos where there should be order: Especially if the patients have tight schedules to keep. They may have waited some time for their medical appointment and something like this could leave them waiting all over again. Upset patients do nothing for patient – doctor relations. And if this happens often the integrity and reputation of any medical practice could be adversely affected: Never good for business.

Medical Appointment Scheduling Software

By taking the pressure of the front desk, by deploying an automated medical appointment scheduling system, overall medical practice management can be notably improved. Medical appointment scheduling software is being utilised by some of the largest health organisations in the U.S. This is because they are dogged by the same appointment scheduling problems three-fold. Demanding a quick response to the greater problem they have realised automation is the fastest and most accurate way to deal with patient appointment scheduling.

Cost- effective As Well As Effective

Today, more and more medical practitioners and practices’ are using automated appointment scheduling software. It has proven to be economical and cost-effective as well as effective in its task even for small enterprises. For the most employing software to deal with the task of medical appointment scheduling is less expensive than employing a receptionist. In addition, automated systems can make reminder calls in record time; which saves on resources and has proven to reduce no-shows. With so many advantages it can only make sense….

Automated Appointment Scheduling – Making Life Easier For Everyone

Lisa West April 17th, 2011

Medical practice management is a delicate thing – as well as a vital thing. Of course the health sector is about taking care of people. However, in a modern world it is also about business: And business is about customer service as well as revenue, costs and profit. Therefore, anything that saves time and money while keeping services in place is usually welcomed – And one of the ways many health organisations are achieving this is by using medical appointment scheduling software.

Life CAN Be Easier

Through office automation even a sole practitioner can cost-effectively provide 24/7 appointment scheduling to their patients and deal with emergency calls around the clock. Online systems do not usually require in-house hardware to be installed.  Set up is easy and quick. In addition patients have the added option of scheduling a doctor appointment online. In many ways medical appointment scheduling software can make life easier for doctors and staff as well as patients.

Making A Choice

Medical appointment scheduling software and systems vary: Therefore it helps to try out the system before making any commitments to purchase or to subscribe in the long term. This ensures the software you are purchasing, or the system you are contracting to, actually achieves what you need it to. Some major factors to consider -

User-Friendliness – Whether it is you or your staff whose using the system, ensuring it is user-friendly is vital. The object is to make life easier not create more headaches. Long winded and complex medical appointment scheduling software or systems offering up monumental functionality might well be overkill for a smaller practice: And more expensive.  Finding a system which simply and neatly suits the needs of your medical practice is priority: As well as suits the budget.

Online or In-House? - In-house systems usually require hardware to be installed which can cause unwelcome upheavals. Online appointment scheduling systems do not need onsite hardware and so do not require maintenance. Plus, they can usually be mobile accessed which can be of huge benefit to doctors. In addition, the practice can provide 24/7 patient appointment scheduling which can be a huge plus for busy people on the go.

Office Automation

Automated medical appointment scheduling software can make life so much easier for everyone – Office automation – The cost-effective solution for businesses in the twenty-first century.

Appointment Scheduling Software – It’s Time!

Lisa West April 9th, 2011

Today note pads and messaging amount to a somewhat antiquated approach to patient appointment scheduling: After all, we live in a high tech world where just about everyone and everything can be integrated and communicated with. Patient appointment scheduling software has advanced significantly of late and is extremely cost effective: Which means medical staff do not need to spend their relatively expensive time dealing with appointment scheduling and reminder calls – So why do they?

The Old Adage

Sometimes it can be the age old adage of ‘making the most of it’ seasoned with a touch of ‘not getting round to it’ – Indeed, in a busy medical practice it can be a case of ‘soldiering on’ because making the change will take too much time: The Doctors may feel that the upheaval of ‘change’ may cause more problems than it solves. However, with an internet based appointment scheduling system there is no need to have any special hardware or lines installed in-house. In fact, these systems can be taken onboard without interfering with the everyday running of the medical practice.

Do The Math

Another reason why a medical practice may not take on an automated appointment scheduling system is cost. However, there are systems available which do not require long term commitments or mountainous amounts of money be handed over – Either upfront or on a monthly basis. In fact, when considering the workload automated systems can deal with more for less. When adding up the hours staff spend each month dealing with patient appointments the costs are usually higher than they would be using an automated system – These systems can multitask far beyond human beings and never have to back-track to make good mistakes.

Simplicity

While these systems are extremely capable they are also very simple to use. Some are multilingual too which can save a lot of headaches with regards to mis-communication; which can occur, particularly in stressful situations – Having this option can make life easier for patients and staff alike.  Appointment scheduling software can also deal with reminder calls which can reduce no-shows as well as save staff a lot of their valuable time. With so many advantages; yes, why are your staff still spending their time scheduling patient appointments?

Patient Appointment Scheduling – Is Overbooking The Solution?

Lisa West April 3rd, 2011

Some medical practitioners attempt to solve their patient appointment re-scheduling and cancellation problems by overbooking their schedules. While booking at 110% capacity can work – so long as 10% of your patients cancel their doctor appointment to balance the books – it is not exactly the least problematic solution available. Nor does it actually ‘solve’ the problem of no shows and cancellations. And indeed, if all the patients show up then consequently running late can usually cause more problems than solutions. In addition, if you do not respect the time of your patients then it is somewhat of a hypocrisy to expect them to respect yours.

Improving Patient Care

Automated appointment scheduling systems and reminder calls can help reduce no-shows and keep your medical practice running on time: Very important for any busy practice which needs to run a tight ship in order to keep things running smoothly and on time. Automated scheduling means your patients can schedule a doctor appointment 24/7. It also means your staff will have more time to deal with the patients actually attending the practice. This in itself can go a long way to improving patient care.

Emergency Calls

Not all automated appointment scheduling systems can deal with emergency calls. Those more advanced systems which can, do provide a valuable and reliable service which can be depended upon by patients and doctors alike. Advanced systems can pass the call directly to an emergency number which deals with any acute care issues arising which can in turn amass a tonne of other scheduling and/or patient care problems. Plus, automated scheduling systems can do it extremely cost-effectively.

Keeping Track

Another positive aspect of automated scheduling systems is that they can provide the hard data you need to track scheduling problems: Such as those patients who repeatedly cancel or do not show up at all. Thus allowing you to use discretion as to whether those people should be charged or educated as to why this is not acceptable. Tracking also means any ‘patterns’ which might occur at certain times, days or months of the year can be recognised and addressed. Ultimately, with regards to patient appointment scheduling everyone has a role to play in keeping things on track: And automated systems have proven to be a very cost-effective way of helping to make that happen.