Patient scheduling is considered an important building block for your practice and could be one of your healthcare organization’s biggest competitive edges. With the finance department on track with expenses, recalling the patients and patient no-shows can boost your practice’s revenue and improve your customer service.
It would be ideal to optimize your patient appointment scheduling in such a way that the patients can be seen by their care providers with a minimum delay from their original appointment. But the different variables involved in the process, not always converge to the obvious or desired output.
Setting up correctly a patient appointment can be the key to having a great impact on your healthcare organization. These are seven tips to schedule your patients efficiently:
- Design a patient scheduling plan. A complex activity like Patient Scheduling should always start with a thorough and well-designed plan. Today’s technologies let you take this task and many others, to a new level of efficiency and results, that can have a positive impact on the ecosystem surrounding your organization. This plan should take seriously into consideration, among other things, your patient base, and their seasonal needs. And in this plan, it is recommended to follow the next guidelines.
- Implement an appointment reminder system. In order to minimize the number of no-shows in your medical practice, it is highly recommended to use an appointment reminder system in your health organization to setup automated SMS text, emails and calls to your patients strategically before their appointments. This will let them confirm, cancel or reschedule by responding to the reminder. Also including your cancellation policy in their communications will help build better relationships and improve your patient satisfaction.
- Manage a patient waiting list. Creating a waiting list for your patients can help you fill in late appointment cancellations and no-shows more efficiently. You can even use your appointment reminder system to send emails, SMS or automated calls to your waiting list patients in order to inform them on the availability of open appointments and reduce drastically your no-show rates. This saves time and resources in the front office while keeping your back office at optimal utilization.
- Automate patient recalls. Implementing a patient recall system guarantees that most patients will return to their regular care appointments. Recall campaigns can run on a recurrent schedule (i.e. daily, weekly, monthly) in Health Metrica’s solution. Using machine learning technology it automatically updates the patient recall list after each search in real-time.
- Manage patient reactivations. Identifying patients that have not returned to the practice in well over a year and allow your practice to invite them to schedule a new appointment is very important and also possible with no human intervention with Health Metrica’s technology platform on a fixed schedule, automating the entire workflow so the process can be repeated. Also, it can update the patient reactivation list after each search in real-time. Letting your practice have multiple reactivations lists automatically generated on recurring schedules bringing innumerable benefits for your healthcare organization’s patient scheduling workflow.
- Manage calls. Processing phone calls have a direct incidence on your scheduling workflows, it is recommended that providers set up a system of controls beyond message slips or apps. Creating a guide for the staff to manage calls can help your personnel have a structure to prioritize the response and stablish which calls will be returned and when.
- Review periodically your patient scheduling plan. Periodical evaluation of your patient scheduling plan with your staff helps improve results and make corrections, that will have an impact on your organization’s workflow efficiency and will help you obtain higher patient satisfaction rates.
Healthcare organizations have the possibility to improve their practice scheduling efficiency and effectiveness by applying new technologies and following these seven recommendations. Machine Learning tools have opened a wide portal to improve in the short term patient satisfaction and boost revenue with almost no human interaction. Still, it is recommended to involve your staff in this burdensome task, so you can improve your practice at different verticals (recurring patients, walk-ins, sporadic visits, referrals, etc).