Lisa West September 22nd, 2012
Medical practices (from the largest health organisations in the world, to the sole practitioner and family practice) employ a myriad of strategies to deal with no-shows. Postal reminders, SMS text, emails and reminder calls are the most commonplace and indeed, they have all proven to reduce no-shows to a degree. However, these are time-consuming tasks and when staff is already pushed to the max, reminder calls are often omitted: That’s the way of the world!
24/7 Patient Scheduling
Of course, hiring an extra pair of hands to deal with such tasks is an option. However, in comparison to utilising an online automated patient appointment scheduling system it is a comparatively expensive solution. An automated scheduler can deal with patient appointment reminders as well as scheduling: And it can do it 24/7. Unlike your staff the software does not need to eat, sleep or take a vacation. Your patients can schedule an appointment anytime, and reminder calls can be scheduled anytime too. This means those all important reminder calls can be made at times most suitable to reach patients; not the time most convenient for staff.
Giving Patients What They Want
Research has indicated that a notable majority of adults would welcome the opportunity to schedule their doctor appointment online. With an online appointment scheduling system in place they can do exactly that any day, any time. We live in a world of “convenience”. The health industry is a business: And like any business sector or industry today, it is competitive. The paying public are free to choose. Leaving patients waiting for something as fundamental and basic as a doctor appointment is not good for business. With an online system they can schedule their appointment anytime and the system can deal with many patients concurrently. No waiting, no fuss, no problem.
A Sound Investment
If no-shows are getting you down get automated. You won’t regret it. Automated patient appointment scheduling systems can help to reduce no-shows as well as streamline workflows. Your staff will have more time to deal with more pressing tasks. In this way, patient services can be improved. Hiring staff can be an expensive business. Comparatively, utilising an automated online system is generally the most cost effective solution. Features vary as do costs. Free trials provide the ideal opportunity to assess which features are the most essential for your practice. You will discover some online schedulers are more customisable than others. Take the time to look around and get to know the features available: It will be worth it…
Lisa West September 15th, 2012
According to much of the research carried out, most patients would welcome the opportunity to make their doctor appointment online. The trend is certainly catching on among larger health organizations, and has enabled those organisations to streamline workflows and so improve services – While patient appointment scheduling is certainly essential, the time of your staff can usually be “better spent” dealing with more demanding tasks; such as billing and patients! It seems curious that despite the “people” wanting it, and the clear advantages it has for medical practitioners, online appointment scheduling remains unavailable to many patients.
Self scheduling might seem like a HIPAA compliant nightmare to some medical practitioners. However, there are HIPAA compliant online schedulers available. Technology had moved on leaps and bounds over the last few years. While the “fear factor” with regards to using online systems is certainly still around, on the whole the public have accepted and embraced the opportunity to “go about their business” online. Today people routinely book holidays, restaurants, theatre tickets etc online They use online systems to deal with their tax returns, banking and a whole myriad of other “sensitive” tasks – To which, this improved confidence means the opportunity to book a doctor appointment online would be a welcome service to many: Primarily because of the sheer convenience of it: They can make a doctor appointment 24/7 without ever having to “endure” hanging on the end of a phone (or an overworked and so over stressed receptionist!)
With an online appointment scheduling system in place you can improve services cost effectively. In actual fact, automated scheduling systems have helped many medical practitioners as well as large health organizations reduce no-shows as well as enhance overall patient experience. In this way, automated appointment scheduling has improved revenues. Research carried out by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) indicates, around fifty percent of American family medical practices use software to deal with patient health records. In addition, around forty-four percent use e-prescribing. In stark comparison, only around twenty percent of family doctors used an online scheduler to deal with patient appointments.
In 2014 the “boomer group” will be looking for health care. The boomer group are accustomed to the internet and running their lives online. Is your medical practice ready to give them what they (almost certainly) want? No, perhaps there is a need to rephrase that – Today people do not only want online scheduling, they positively expect it: And in a competitive world, that can be catastrophic for business…
Lisa West September 9th, 2012
In a competitive world it is essential to ensure your medical practice is performing well. Customer services can be improved simply and effectively with medical scheduling software. Advanced online systems can deal with patient appointment scheduling on and offline as well as reminder calls, billing and even emergency calls. Features differ and it depends upon the needs of your staff and patients as to which system will be the most appropriate for your medical practice. Free trials offer the perfect opportunity to find out which features are most needed. Even so, that said, basic tasks (such as medical appointment scheduling, reminder calls and billing) are fundamental to the workings of a sole practitioner as much as they are for larger health organizations. To which, medical scheduling software offers up a cost-effective way to deal with the fundamentals, giving doctors and staff more time to deal with more demanding tasks, such as patients!
Free or Paid?
There are free and paid systems available. Free systems might seem the obvious option. However, most do come with “strings attached”. The main concern with many of the paid medical scheduling systems and software is that the company providing the “free” software will often want “data” in return – Names, birth dates, emails etc It is doubtful if this arrangement would comply with HIPAA privacy rules; to which, you should most certainly check. Opting for a HIPAA compliant system is surely the most “responsible” way to go.
The advantages of automated medical appointment scheduling reach way beyond convenience. An automated system can actually optimize revenue. Medical scheduling software can deal with single and recurring appointments. Patients can go online and make an appointment, check schedules, reschedule and cancel an appointment quickly and easily. Reminder calls can be automated and carried out routinely according to your medical practices´ own set of “rules”. Being able to customize the software to suit your specific needs is most definitely a major advantage for staff and patients. No shows can be significantly reduced by the simple implementation of automated reminders calls. Patients who consistently miss appointments can be pinpointed: Implementing prepaid appointments for “problem” patients a cost effective as well as effective option.
Shop around! Take advantage of the free trials and demos available. Get to know the software´s features and which will be the most useful for you, your staff and your patients – Medical scheduling software has helped hundreds of thousands of medical practices perform better worldwide, and it can help yours too.
Lisa West September 1st, 2012
Many of the world´s largest health organisations have used automated patient appointment scheduling systems for many years. According to research carried out by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) around ten percent of family doctors in the US were using online medical appointment scheduling software systems in 2005. By 2009 that number had risen to sixteen percent. Today, the number of doctors utilising online systems continues to rise consistently. That would indicate all is good in the world of online scheduling would it not? According to the president of the AAFP – “Any tools that make an office practice more efficient to take care of a large number of patients will be welcome.” And without doubt, the research does seem to indicate these systems are most certainy welcomed by medical practitioners, staff and patients. In addition, younger patient´s, accustomed to using the internet to purchase products and pay for services, would usually expect online scheduling to be available.
Making Life Easier
When making a doctors appointment becomes stressful there is real risk that patients will look elsewhere. Today, the world is not a patient place! Advanced systems are extremely easy to use: Little room for confusion, which you could not say the same for the old pen and paper days. Online medical appointment scheduling gives patients freedom as well as efficiency. With an online scheduling system in place they can make a patient appointment 24/7: No waiting – Definitely one surfire way to make life easier for your patienst!
Improved Productivity & More
Patients can review their appointments at any time. Appointment reminders can be made automatically and patients can reschedule, cancel or confirm. This has proven to reduce no-shows significantly for many medical practioners and practices worldwide. No-shows cost, and without doubt in a contemporary world time is money. These systems can help to improve productivity, efficiency and so overall medical practice management. Without the chore of patient appointment scheduling staff have more time to deal with patients, and so customer services can be improved.
Not all online medical appointment scheduling systems are the same: Although basic features tend to be fairly run of the mill. The right system for you will depend upon your medical practice needs. It is usually a good idea to test drive any system you might be considering first. There are a lot of features available; customisations might also be required. Does the system give you what you need? If it does, what are you waiting for?
Lisa West September 1st, 2012
With an online medical appointment scheduler in place your patients can make a doctor appointment 24/7. Very convenient for patients as well as medical practitioners. If a patient cannot make an appointment easily there is always a chance they will go elsewhere: And that means lost revenue for that medical practice. Another very convenient feature is, future appointments can be automatically scheduled for certain patients who need repeat visits for regular check-ups, therapeutic treatments or illnesses such as diabetes for example. An online medical appointment scheduler can keep the whole process simple and so easy for patients. With little room for human error, medical practitioners can also feel sure their schedules are accurate. Less errors means less time lost, which effectively means improved revenue for the most.
A Cost Effective Solution
Not only are online medical appointment scheduling systems accurate and effective, they are also extremely cost effective. Automated scheduling can take the pressure off the front desk. They are (effectively) an extra pair of hands. However, even an advanced system would generally be less expensive than hiring extra staff to deal with this necessary, albeit time consuming task. Plus, many systems can also deal with patient appointment reminder calls. You can schedule reminder calls to be made at a specific time to patients with an up-and-coming appointment. Reminder calls have proven to reduce no-shows. Nevertheless, in a busy medical practice staff do not always have time to deal with them. Automating reminder calls ensures they are made at the right time, to the right patients.
An online system does not usually require special hardware or need to be maintained: Certainly less hassle than in-house appointment scheduling software, which often requires both. Opting for something that is ultra cutting-edge also might not go down well with your staff. Ideally, it should be user friendly. Problem is, how can you tell if it´s right for your medical practice unless you use it? Look out for free trials and demos. They can provide all the interaction you need to assess what features are necessary as ell as ho user friendly the system is. Some of the largest medical organizations in America use automated appointment scheduling. Automated appointment scheduling has proven to be just as viable for sole practitioners as it is for family practices and large medical organizations. For a relatively nominal amount even a sole practitioner can afford to improve patient services by providing 24/7 appointment scheduling – It is easy to understand why so many practitioners and organizations are making the change.