For your average patient, a trip to the doctor’s office is an inherently stressful experience. You’re setting aside time in your day, receiving a physical check-up, and potentially learning unsavory truths about your health.
On top of that, there’s the waiting.
Making an appointment the traditional way means calling ahead, booking an appointment, arriving early to check-in at the front desk in-person, and then waiting even longer in a sitting room for your name to be called before you can finally get started.
No wonder people don’t like doctor’s appointments. When you spend even longer in a waiting room than you do with your doctor, it’s impossible not to get frustrated.
Traditional scheduling is slow, inefficient, and most importantly – prone to errors. While people might excuse a mixed-up restaurant reservation, they aren’t going to be so forgiving when it comes to their confidential medical information.
Making the leap from archaic phone-based systems to modern medical appointment scheduling software is no longer a massive barrier, thanks to innovative technology. Doctors have always been on the cutting edge of technological advancements. It’s time for scheduling systems in healthcare to step it up as well.
Here are the top 7 reasons healthcare providers should consider switching to an appointment scheduling software.
- No Wasting On No-Shows
- Healthcare Scheduling Software Delivers Simpler Patient Experience
- Confidential Data Stays Confidential
- Streamline Lab Work
- Reduce In-Office Paperwork
- Improve Provider-Patient Communications
- Encourage Patient Turnout
Reason 1: No Wasting On No-Shows
Your average patient visit generates $100-$150 in revenue. According to the American Journal of Medicine, 23-34% of patients will end up being a no-show to appointments, generating no new revenue for the medical provider.
Maybe you can’t control the behavior of your patients. But what you can control is how much resources you’re spending on scheduling appointments for each of those people who no-show their doctor’s appointment.
Medical administrative assistants spend hours each day on the phone planning out appointments, penning dates in calendars, and checking people in.
When the appointments they schedule don’t turn up, administrative staff are wasting precious time they could be using to actively assist patients at the front desk, helping high-risk patients with challenging tasks and coordinating care for vulnerable groups such as children or the elderly.
Healthcare scheduling systems offer functionalities such as automation that help administrative staff do their jobs better, such as:
- Simple online portal registration
- Calendar display
- Patient profile
- Automated reminders
- Real-time updates
When healthcare providers switch to appointment software solutions, they’ll have the time to deliver better in-person service, resulting in a better healthcare experience for patients. Instead of wasting more resources on no-shows, you’re focusing on how to improve the experience of the people who are showing up.
Reason 2: Healthcare Scheduling Software Delivers Simpler Patient Experience
Imagine this. You’re just living your daily life, working and living and taking care of your kids, when something comes up. An unexpected symptom, a nagging pain. Whatever it is, one thing is clear: you’re going to need a doctor to check that out.
As a patient, would you rather go through the 5-step process of:
- Find a quiet moment amidst your busy day to sit down to call your doctor’s office
- Wait on hold for minutes/hours
- Finally, talk to a human and try to fit your availabilities into theirs
- Note down a date/time, and manually set reminders so you don’t forget
- Show up, wait for the admin assistant to find your date on their outdated calendar system, and get to your appointment
Or...just hop on a health care appointment scheduling software to pick an availability from a dropdown menu?
Online scheduling keeps your patients on track with little to no effort on the provider’s part. All you need to do is set up the system in the first place, and it’ll collect their information, automatically send appointment reminders, and let them check-in via their device when they pull up to your offices.
Your average healthcare scheduling call takes 8.1 minutes. With online medical scheduling software, patients can get that done in a few clicks. It’s a streamlined patient experience that keeps the visit low-stress, which is all anyone wants.
Simplify your booking. Who knows, it might be enough to secure your spot as the medical provider of choice.
Reason 3: Confidential Data Stays Confidential
Disclosing medical information over the phone is a sensitive subject for some. Whether they don’t have a safe space to make a phone appointment about a personal condition or just don’t feel secure enough about who might be listening on the other end. Having to talk about medical details can increase the average patient’s anxiety.
Online medical scheduling software seals the interaction, making it safer than a phone call. Your patients fill out an online profile, submitting their information to a secure portal to your records.
Medical records kept behind the protection of a specially designed medical office appointment scheduling software are more likely to stay safe than physical paperwork or a conversation on an open phone line. Technology such as data encryption enables healthcare providers to lock confidential patient information behind multiple layers of security. What’s more, patients can fill this information out from the safety of their own homes.
With an advanced enough system, they’ll only need to enter their information once to have everything recorded on the healthcare provider’s side. This means less time going back and forth, figuring out what information belongs to which patient, and more time on actual caregiving.
Patients who are less concerned about misplacing confidential information will open up more to their healthcare providers, making the doctors’ jobs far easier.
Scheduling systems in healthcare aren’t just a great way to streamline service. When used correctly, they also have the potential to bring doctor-patient trust to the next level.
Reason 4: Streamline Lab Work
Doctors aren’t the only ones who benefit from an efficient medical appointment scheduling software. Medical diagnostics is another field where scheduling can work wonders.
Most lab technicians work under pressure, testing time-sensitive samples while adhering to strict protocols. Even then, they’ve been shortchanged, with not much but outdated lab systems to work with.
What do lab technicians gain from working with a healthcare scheduling software?
Traditional Lab Workflow
Healthcare Scheduling Systems
Delayed communication might end up invalidating samples or result in a slowed workflow.
Real-time communication keeps technicians in-the-loop about priorities and assignment adjustments.
Work is assigned evenly to technicians, without adjusting for their availability or ability.
Lab managers delegate assignments based on skill and availability, ensuring efficient diagnostics work.
Managers have to devote time to manually analyzing work performance.
Platform analytics analyze workflow efficiency through automatically defined metrics.
Medical scheduling software lets technicians take control of their operational responsibilities without getting sidetracked by them. It aligns doctors, technicians, lab managers, and patients, streamlining the diagnostics process for quicker results and a better workflow for everyone involved.
Reason 5: Reduce In-Office Paperwork
Wrangling paperwork is nobody’s favorite chore, especially at a busy medical location. Insurance forms, health checks, surgical permissions, and more constitute a significant headache for the average medical assistant, especially the more the patient base grows for a given healthcare provider.
Even doctors waste over two-thirds of their day doing paperwork. That’s a truly staggering amount of time for people who should be investing most of their workday in the wellbeing of patients.
And, of course, no patient loves filling out forms either. So what’s the solution?
Medical appointment scheduling software has built-in features designed to cut down on endless paperwork. This includes:
- Customizable surveys. Patients fill these out online prior to appointments through an app or online portal.
- Self-service check-in. Instead of filling in front desk paperwork, customers can sign in on-location with a few taps on their device of choice.
- Patient profiles. Instead of shuffling through endless folders, medical professionals simply pull up their scheduling app to review the next patient’s details.
Over time, paperwork only takes up more space. An online medical scheduling software expands with your patient list without occupying any further resources. In a medical center, where every inch of space is valuable, using scheduling software instead of bogging doctors and patients down with physical paperwork can literally be a lifesaver.
Patients filling out fewer forms means they’ll get through an appointment sooner rather than later with a positive impression. Front desk assistants will have the bandwidth to actually serve clients who need it, and medical providers can spend more time doing the work that really matters.
Reason 6: Improve Provider-Patient Communication
Telehealth is a growing area of medicine, and for good reason. With the widespread availability of communication technology, doctors have found new ways to connect with their patients that don’t have to happen within the confines of a doctor’s office.
Even if you’re operating a physical medical location, improving provider-patient communication via an online medical scheduling software can prove key to understanding how a patient’s condition is evolving or simply how their life may be affecting their health.
Offering patients the option to connect directly with their provider before and after appointments can make or break their healthcare experience.
How can providers connect with their clients through a scheduling platform?
- Send appointment reminders. Automated reminders sent via text/email reduce no-shows.
- Enclose test results. Most patients are eager to learn the results of their lab tests. Sending the results via message offers a timely update.
- Broadcast health information/tips. During especially vulnerable times like flu seasons or COVID-19 spikes, doctors can disseminate information via messaging.
- Manage cancellations. Cancelling via message is easier for some clients. Doctors may use this information to manage appointment information.
- Screen for eligibility/availability in check-ups/appointments. Save your patients’ time before they even step into the doctor’s office by screening them online.
- Communicate with homebound patients. Not all patients can make it to a physical location. Messaging online is an easy way to keep in touch with these patients.
Meeting patients where they are helps maintain or improve their health. Setting up a medical appointment scheduling software with messaging capabilities connects healthcare providers to all their patients, even those who can’t make it to each appointment at a medical center.
Online messaging gives medical providers the opportunity to assist patients at their most vulnerable, making healthcare less of an annual obligation and more of a seamless support system.
Reason 7: Encourage Patient Turnout
Patients often end up receiving a dose of tough love at the doctor’s office when it comes to their health. Potentially learning about negative health outcomes is an inherently stressful scenario. It’s no wonder that people put off receiving healthcare all the time, even when it’s crucial for their health in the long run.
What if you could reduce the level of stress patients experienced significantly, just by installing medical scheduling software?
As mentioned above, scheduling software helps patients:
- Schedule appointments faster
- Book 24/7—even outside of a medical center's operational hours
- Find information more easily
- Receive automated reminders about upcoming appointments
- Spend less time waiting
- Communicate directly with healthcare providers
Patient convenience is a cornerstone of good patient experiences. In fact, eight out of ten patients want the ability to schedule appointments online.
Being able to book time at their doctor’s office when they’re waiting for the pasta to cook, finding a moment in their workday to look up medical providers or taking care of their kids leads to a more positive experience. People short on time are more likely to choose you over other alternatives.
Plus, better patient turnout is crucial to scaling a medical center. Growing your facilities means getting bigger and better at what you do, and having a medical scheduling software solution that will scale right with you is just the cherry on top. No matter the size of your medical center, your clients shouldn’t have to wait. And if you can integrate a scheduling and queue management software solution, they won’t have to.
Giving people control over their experience as a patient is a calming component of a stressful experience. When your patients are feeling less pressure, they’re more likely to feel comfortable and happy with their care.
Instead of ghosting their medical providers, they’re more likely to ask follow-up questions. Rather than abandoning follow-up appointments, they might consider showing up for much-needed examinations.
Happy patients are healthier patients. Making patients comfortable is the first step to them taking their health into their own hands.
Frequently Asked Questions: Healthcare Scheduling Software
Q: Is online medical scheduling software easy to scale?
A: Try comparing scheduling software to more traditional forms of scheduling, such as manual calendars or paperwork.
Paperwork takes up more and more space as you scale. A software solution, on the other hand, expands right along with you. In the cloud, there’s no limit to how much patient data you can record at any given point. Instead of worrying about growing your infrastructure to accommodate scheduling needs, you’re free to focus on delivering a stellar patient experience.
Q: Who is medical scheduling software for?
A: Patients are the most obvious answer, but doctors, administrative staff, lab technicians, and anyone else involved even indirectly with patients benefit from using a scheduling solution.
Patients can use online scheduling for convenient, low-stress scheduling, while doctors can use it to keep track of patients. Medical assistants save time on logging appointments into the calendar, while lab technicians can integrate scheduling solutions into their workflow to improve productivity.
Q: How are healthcare scheduling systems better than traditional appointment systems?
A: Overall, healthcare scheduling solutions offer a more comprehensive provider-patient relationship, helping medical staff do their jobs more efficiently and patients experience a higher standard of care.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how software solutions work better for everyone:
Traditional Scheduling Solutions
Healthcare Scheduling Software
Medical administrative staff spend 8.1 minutes scheduling each appointment, even those who don’t show up.
Waste no time on no-shows, letting administrative staff spend more time assisting people who actually show up.
Patients need to call ahead during the workday to schedule an appointment.
Appointment scheduling happens within a few taps/clicks from most devices and anywhere, anytime.
Phone calls offer subpar security for patients’ confidential medical details on both ends.
Confidential data stays between medical providers and patients.
Traditional scheduling relies on manual check-ins.
Lab managers and technicians stay on the same page through real-time updates and scheduling.
Copious paperwork takes up physical space and the calendars of both physicians and administrative assistants.
Paperwork can be converted into online records, saving space and time.
Doctors and patients discuss in the doctor’s office. Limited accessibility for patients who can’t visit.
Communications continue into daily life. Doctors can initiate virtual check-ins with patients. Better patient experience.
At the end of the day, traditional scheduling can’t keep up with the demands of your average modern patient. People want great, timely service delivered straight to their device of choice. Whether or not you deliver on that can make or break a patient-provider relationship.
Q: Is it necessary to use software designed for healthcare providers?
A: Of course not.
Software specifically designed for healthcare purposes delivers great value to providers with how well it can be tailored to a medical experience, but more general scheduling software is great for integration as well. If you’re interested in trying out a multi-purpose scheduling solution, feel free to check out Skiplino Appointments for your medical business.
Ultimately, people don’t want anything complex from their medical providers. They need accessibility, information, and support in difficult times. And to give them that, you need a tool that’s quick, easy, and adaptable.
Healthcare scheduling software is a means to justify your goal: serving patients well. And when it comes to healthcare, providing that extra level of ease may just be enough to build a foundation of trust between you and your patient.