Patient Appointment Scheduling – Is Overbooking The Solution?

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.

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