Lisa West July 28th, 2012
One of the first questions many medical practitioners have concerning automated appointment scheduling is; what is the difference between free and paid online services? At first glance one might think very little, as many of the basic features are offered by both. However, there is often a huge difference when you read between the lines – The contract lines that is! They say nothing in life is free: And this is often true with regards to online appointment scheduling software.
The Cost of Free Software
Generally free software has it´s own price, and that is data. Often the company providing the free service will require access to certain data – Perhaps for research, perhaps to pass on to third parties for example. While it is not a legal requirement for medical appointment scheduling software to be HIPAA compliant, medical practitioners are bound by HIPAA regulations. Aside from this, one must ask oneself if allowing patient details (even the simplest information such as name, age and email) is ethical. Surely, safeguarding their information is something patient should expect. Using HIPAA compliant “paid” online appointment scheduling systems, patient information remains safe and secure.
Single medical practitioners as well as large health corporations can benefit from using an automated appointment scheduling system. Paid for scheduling software can ease the workload of staff cost-effectively. Patient appointment scheduling is essential. However, it can (somewhat un-neccesarily)consume much of your staff´s time. Automated systems can deal with patient appointments 24/7 as well as reminder calls. No-shows cost medical establishments millions of dollars a year. Reminder calls have proven to reduce no-shows and yet they are often omitted: Staff simply do not have time to make them. An automated system can be scheduled to make patient reminder calls on time every time.
Medical appointment scheduling software can ease the workload on the front desk cost-effectively. Because staff have more time to deal with patients, customer services can be improved overall. For hard of hearing patients being able to go on line gives them independence: They do not have to rely on anyone else to make their patient appointment. The internet is becoming an integral part of modern life. Providing an online 24/7 service gives patient´s what they want: Convenience! In a modern world people do not want to be left hanging on the end of a line. In a modern world people expect more – So give them more with 24/7 online appointment scheduling services.
Lisa West July 14th, 2012
With some of America´s leading health organisations leading the way, online medical appointment scheduling has become increasingly popular: Not just with medical practitioners and practices, but also with patients. As people become more accustomed to using the internet they are embracing the opportunity to make their doctor appointment online. Indeed, recent surveys by leading figures such as the Wall Street Journal and Medical Economics reveal that a majority of adults actually prefer online scheduling. There are many advantages to using an online appointment scheduling service. Here´s five of the best!
Improved Customer Service – Automated scheduling gives staff and doctors more quality time for patients. Front desk staff can spend a lot of their day simply answering calls and scheduing appointments. Patients can be left waiting at the front desk, or waiting on the end of a line during busy periods – Not something they enjoy! Tempers can become frayed and conflicts ensue. Automated appointment scheduling helps to reduce the pressure and so avoid conflicts and prolonged waiting.
Convenience – Patients can schedule their doctor appointment after hours. Online appointment scheduling is available 24/7. Patients can quickly and easily book an appointment, which means they are less likely to go elsewhere: Which is a possibility if they are consistently left waiting on the end of a telephone line. In a modern world people do not like waiting. Some online systems can deal with new patients too, which can only be good for business.
Disabled Patients – Patients who are hearing impared often rely on others to make their doctor appointment. Online scheduling puts them in control – and easy and convenient way to schedule an appointment.
Reduce No-Shows – Patient appointment reminders can be generated automatically. Automated reminder calls are much less labor intensive than any of the alternatives. Some systems can send SMS and email reminders to patients. Patients can reschedule, cancel or confirm their appointment with ease. Patient reminder calls have proven to reduce no-shows. However, staff do not always have the time to make them. With an online, automated system they are made on time every time for a fraction of the cost.
Cost Effective – Automated online systems are generally less expensive than live answering services. Because they are able to deal with patient reminders and so help to reduce no-shows they are extremely cost effective. For a relatively nominal monthly fee you can improve customer services by saving time…and so money.
Lisa West July 14th, 2012
Appointment scheduling software can automate the way your patients book an appointment, saving staff´s precious time for more stringent asks. Dealing with the public can be particularly demanding; dealing with the public when they are unwell, even more-so. Office automation of routine tasks is saving businesses millions. While appointment scheduling is essential for medical practitioners (as it is for many professionals such as dentists, hairdressers and personal trainers for example), it is a routine task that requires few skills. Even so, that´s not to say mistakes cannot be made. In a busy medical practice front desk staff can spend much of their day simply answering the phone and scheduling appointments. Mistakes happen simply because too many demands are being made upon the front desk. After all, they are only human! However, automated appointment scheduling is not, which means it is not prone to ´human error´. Not only can machines multi-task beyond any human being, machines do not become stressed, nor do they need a break. Automated appointment scheduling softare can deal ith multiple calls 24/7, 365 days of the year: And it can do it with ease….
How To Reduce No-Shows
Research indicates that reminding patients of an up and coming doctor appointment helps to reduce no-shows. Traditionally, reminder calls are made by front-desk staff or cards are posted: Both are extremely time consuming – Hence, in a busy medical practice reminder calls are often omitted: Staff simply do not have time. Employing staff to deal with patient appointment scheduing is an expensive option compared to utilising automated software. Modern appointment scheduling software can make reminder calls on time everytime, and it can make them cost-effectively. Features vary. However, more advanced online systems can also send patient appointment reminders via email and SMS. In addition, with an online system in place, patients are able to go online and reschedule or cancel their appointment. Making things easy and convenient for both patients (as well as staff ) is a step in the right direction with regards to reducing stress as well as reducing no-shows.
Paid or Free?
As they say, there is no such thing in life as a “free lunch”! Many free appointment scheduling systems do pass on users information to third parties… at a price. Passing on certain patient information may not be appropriate, nor welcomed by those patients and indeed, may not be HIPPA complaint. Paid for services that are HIPPA compliant are more secure as well as more private.