Schedule a patient appointment is a complex and most common task performed by practices. According to a research study, Healthcare providers spent $342.4 million on scheduling patient appointments in 2020 and will increase their investment to as much as $690 million by 2027.
Implementing effective and best practices to schedule a patient appointment is important for practice management and it leads to happy patients, increased revenue, and a streamlined medical office schedule. Recently pandemic boosts the need to schedule a patient appointment due to sudden stress on physicians, care providers, staff, and the whole healthcare system.
Changing healthcare landscape
Today, the healthcare landscape is changing dramatically with the pandemic. You can observe that there is a shift in patient’s expectations preferring convenient and immediate scheduling workflows and communication from their providers over the traditional, paper, and phone-based scheduling processes.
Scheduling from noon, prioritizing appointments, and creating a patient waitlist etc are some efficient scheduling techniques and we discussed about them more details below. However, these techniques can challenge your staff who are already overburdened in administrative tasks. Hence to answer these challenges leveraging technology is one of a solution to schedule a patient appointment.
As time is an important factor when it comes to patient satisfaction and practice profitability, therefore, physicians should keep time allotment minimum. You cannot track how “on-time” a patient is for their appointment but your staff can do that to ensure the schedule stays fluid, or recoup time that is lost to get the schedule back on track whenever possible.
Now, let’s discuss on Best practices to schedule a patient appointment in more detail.
Schedule from noon
You can schedule morning appointments from noon backward and afternoon appointments from noon forward. Let’s understand noon backward and noon forward.
- Noon-backward: morning appointment time slots start at 12 pm and move backward until the time you open
- Noon-forward: afternoon appointment time slots start at 12 pm and move forward until the time you close.
When you set these standards into your practice then you can ensure maximum productivity as well as you can manage your staff more efficiently. For example- If morning or afternoon slots don’t get filled, you can use those blocks of time much more efficiently by holding your staff meetings or rearranging their duties.
Use text or Emails to confirm appointments-
Automated medical appointment reminders reduce no-shows, increase appointment confirmations, and ultimately increase the number of patient visits through better slot utilization.
Every patient is different, some need more time and care while others not. You should keep in mind such factors while prioritizing appointments. In a day-to-day routine, many patient issues can be resolved with a brief phone call or email.
You should have an experienced staff for incoming calls who can evaluate each call to determine if to schedule the patient or have your nurse or doctor address the issue via a phone consultation. This will help you save a lot of time and ensures patients needing the highest level of care have better access to same-day appointments.
Waiting list of Patients
You can take the help of technology here to the main waiting list of patients. For example- Use a patient scheduling platform that keeps a list handy and ready to be notified. The ability to send out a mass notification of your immediate open slot is a huge time saver. Instead of using the phone to get that dreaded appointment cancellation, you can directly access your stored digital patient waitlist and send out a quick message encouraging your patients to call you.
Use patients Self-scheduling appointments
20 to 30 percent of patients either cancel or reschedule their appointments hence calling patients to reschedule creates a lot of administrative work. However, you can implement a patient self-scheduling system that integrates with your patient communication platform. This integration will ease your work as the software can automatically suggest alternative open times for patients.
Every practice need to adopt some standards and technology to improve customer satisfaction and revenue. You can achieve both by implementing the above steps in your practice and make sure all staff members are adhering to them and if you find difficulties due to overburden work of your staff? We can help. We are HIPAA compliant medical billing and coding experts, we can reduce your billing and coding task to help you grow your revenue.
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