Archive for August, 2011

Online Doctor Appointment Scheduling – What´s The Drawbacks?

August 28th, 2011

Online Doctor Appointment Scheduling Software is used by some of the largest health organizations in the US and Canada. Of late, more and more family practices and individually practicing doctors, dentists, osteopaths (just a few examples) are looking toward appointment scheduling software and systems. Some online appointment scheduling systems can deal with a variety of scheduling tasks such as rescheduling and reminder calls. The features of the software varies: Some are more advanced than others. They might provide multiple language selection as well as deal with appointment scheduling calls in addition to emergency calls 24/7. However, not all will actually allow the patient to schedule a doctor appointment online or deal with these tasks. Indeed, some of the free appointment scheduling software available is really quite basic.

Is Automated Appointment Scheduling The Solution?

When staff are becoming ´pushed to the limit´automated and online appointment scheduling systems can really help to take the pressure off. Staff are able to spend more time dealing with other important tasks which can often result in an improvement in services and so the standard of patient care provided. Plus, it can do this cost-effectively. Sounds like a solution right? And yes, appointment scheduling systems have certainly provided a cost-effective solution for many large organizations and medical practitioners to date. So what are the drawbacks, if any?

Drawbacks

For some the modern world of automation seems to be an impersonal solution: Believing ALL patients prefer to speak to someone human. Today most people are more than used to automated systems as well as organizing their business and personal lives online. For the most, the ability to make an appointment by telephone call or online 24/7 is undoubtedly a huge plus. For others, the fact they can still get through to a ´real´person for important emergency calls suits their needs. So everyone has the services and options they need. Overall, surely the advantages push the balance to right way.

Another “drawback”is the issue of data protection. Unfortunately, many of the companies giving away “free”software will sell your patients data. This can certainly be an unacceptable cost to many and and for most a blatant violation of privacy. This is a major issue and this is why paid for appointment scheduling systems and software which protects patient privacy is certainly preferable and many would agree, more professional.

Patient Appointment No-Shows: Is Overbooking The Answer

August 20th, 2011

Although the rates can vary significantly , patient appointment no-shows are a problematic issue for many health care organizations and medical practitioners. Not only do they reduce productivity and so revenue, when the percentages are high no-shows can have a notable affect upon overall efficiency – Even resulting in increased health care costs for patients. Overbooking is often used as a way to counteract the negative effects of no-shows: And many have found this can significantly increase productivity. However, it can also increase the time patients are left in the waiting room: As well as result in overtime for staff – Which can be costly either way.

So how can this ´trade-off´ be avoided? If at all. How can a medical practice deal with no-shows cost effectively without affecting patient care and services. Over booking patient appointments can work with regards to reducing the cost of missed appointments. However, the cost of overtime and unhappy patients is not always ´cost-effective´in the long term.

Appointment Scheduling Software
While certain aspects of overbooking are positive in many ways this strategy does not resolve the problem of patient appointment no-shows: When all the patients arrive for their scheduled appointment another problem is created. Medical appointment scheduling software has proven to have a positive impact upon the efficiency of medical practice management overall. Not only can automated scheduling alleviate the pressure on the front desk by dealing with appointment scheduling, it can also ensure patient appointment reminder calls are made routinely. Reminder calls have proven to reduce no-show rates. The reason why they are not made is usually time: Staff simply do not have time. By utilizing a professional medical appointment scheduling system productivity can be increased without risking long patient waiting times or overtime.

Stay On Track
A tight ship keeps overall medical practice management running efficiently – It keeps things on track which is important for any sized health organization; although particularly for larger organizations; which is probably why so many are switching over to automated systems. Keeping track of patient appointments can also help to reduce no-shows. Advanced appointment scheduling software can provide the data needed to keep track of ´problem´patients: Those who persistently miss scheduled appointments – Allowing repeatedly offending patients to be dealt with individually. In addition, seasonal patterns can be addressed.

Overbooking can be a cost effective solution for some medical practices. However, if it is not working for you then it might well be time to try something else: To which medical appointment scheduling software might well be the´right´something else…

Online Doctor Appointment Scheduling – Free or Paid?

August 14th, 2011

Automated Appointment Scheduling offers up a cost effective solution for any medical practice or clinic whose staff are becoming overwhelmed. Online Doctor Appointment Scheduling is a modern convenience: And like many ´modern conveniences´they are designed to make life easier and usually save time – Today many people of all ages have access to and indeed use the internet on a regular basis. Via these web-based systems it is possible to provide 24/7 appointment scheduling cost effectively using an automated Online Scheduler. Some more advanced Automated Appointment Scheduling systems can deal with patient calls 24/7 or during busy periods: Emergency calls and even patient appointment reminders – By call, email or SMS text. Without doubt, advanced Appointment Scheduling Software can free up your staff giving them the time they really need to deal with patient care first hand: Consequently and invariably helping to improve patient services.

Free vs. Paid Services
Free Appointment Scheduling Software is available online. Paid systems and software varies in cost depending upon the features available and the amount the system is used: Not unlike a mobile phone contract. The Free Appointment Scheduling Software available tends to be VERY basic, offering up few options with regards to features. Patient Appointment reminders have proven to reduce no-shows which eat into revenue. If your no-show rate is currently high Scheduling Software with this feature can actually help to reduce no-shows and so increase revenue and improve services. Compared to free versions the cost v savings can be well worth the investment.

Will The Software Actually Deal With The Problem?

The majority of the Free Software will not deal with calls made to the front desk: Most often it is simply ´organizational´ and does not allow ´self service patient appointment scheduling´. Patients are not able to simply go online and schedule a doctor appointment. In this way free software does not actually deal with the problem of overloaded staff. It simply helps staff become more organized. Paid for Online Appointment Scheduling Software and Systems however actually ‘deals’with the problem. Reminder calls are also made on time every time which makes them very cost-effective all round.

Take The Easy Route
The easiest way to really find out if an Online Scheduler is worthwhile for your practice is to try them out. Many offer ‘demo’ versions and free trials: Take up the offer and THEN make a decision.

Online Doctor Appointment Scheduling Software – Is It Right For You?

August 6th, 2011

For doctors as well as any other health care professional – psychiatrists to dentists – patient appointment scheduling is fundamental process which has to carried out on a daily basis. For family run practices’ to larger health organisations and hospitals with several clinics: The more streamlined the appointment scheduling process and reliable the better the efficiency of the medical practice management will be overall. The task of appointment scheduling can be particularly complex for health care professionals who need to coordinate patient appointments for several clinics: Particularly if they are relying on pen and paper scheduling methods. Keeping staff and doctors updated can be a somewhat unsystematic process which can lead to mistakes. If this sounds like the problems you face, either as a receptionist or a doctor, then yes, Doctor Appointment Scheduling Software may well be the right answer for you.

Staff Pushed To The Max?

Appointment scheduling can be significantly made easier with online Doctor Appointment Scheduling Software. Staff and doctors can communicate more easily with regards to patient appointment updates and schedules. Patient’s are also able to schedule their own doctor appointment 24/7 which can notable reduce the pressure upon front desk staff: Which means they will have more time to deal with patients attending your clinic as well as more time to deal with other essential medical practice management processes: Such as billing. If right now your staff are hard pressed at the front desk the majority of the time then yes, online Doctor Appointment Scheduling Software could well be the right choice for you.

No-Show Averages High?

Reminder calls tend to get omitted due to over pushed staff: They simply do not have time. No-Shows can eat into revenue and send schedules into chaos. The time lost for missed appointments can never really be recuperated: And time is money. In addition waiting times for an appointment are longer – Every missed appointment could have meant another patient was scheduled sooner. Simply add up those missed appointments over the months and the figures can be unnerving. Automated reminder calls can be made by many of these online systems and they have proven to reduce no-show averages for the majority. If your medical practice is suffering from high no-show rates then yes, online Doctor Appointment Scheduling Software may well be right for you.