As a physician, you do everything you can to minimize missed appointments and assure your patients that they are well-accommodated. But there will always be patients who are running a few minutes behind or patients who require immediate emergency attention. Therefore, it’s important to apply the proper doctor consultation. Especially if you schedule an initial consultation, you need to make sure that your appointment system is organized.
Although you may not be able to control how on-time a patient is for their appointment, there are things you can do on the staff end to ensure the schedule stays organized.
How to schedule patients effectively
Schedule from noon
Try your best to schedule morning appointments from noon backward and afternoon appointments from noon forward. Establishing this as the standard will help you maintain maximum productivity and ensure that the bulk of the day is scheduled out.
If morning or afternoon slots don’t get filled, you can use those blocks of time much more efficiently by holding your staff meetings.
Implement patient self-scheduling
Some practices field all appointment scheduling calls to a designated person who may typically be a relatively low-paid employee. Or if you are a smaller practice, you may have only one staff member who handles pretty much all front office management tasks.
With new advances in technology, this is now an area where you may be able to cut back on the unnecessary expense of an “appointment scheduler” and recoup a significant amount of time that could be spent on much more significant tasks. Practices now have the ability to offer real-time patient scheduling anytime and from anywhere with Internet access. Online scheduling is new to healthcare and offers greater convenience for both practice and provider.
Patient visits vary in degree of time requirement and level of care needed. Consider these factors as you decide where and when to schedule your patients or whether you even need to put them on the schedule at all.
Confirm appointments with text and email reminders
Utilizing an appointment reminder software system will improve upon the number of on-time arrivals and kept appointments. No-shows are costly and inconvenient especially when you are a particularly busy practice and have a good size waitlist.
Create a patient waiting list
Last minute cancellations are really frustrating. But with a patient waiting list, you are armed and ready should this incident occur. Try using a patient scheduling platform that includes the ability to keep a list handy and ready to be notified.
Being able to send out a mass notification of your immediate open slot is a huge time saver and revenue maintainer. Instead of grabbing the phone when you get that dreaded appointment cancellation, you can quickly access your stored digital patient wait list and send out a quick message, encouraging your patients to call you rather than the other way around.
Every practice has room for improvement, and there are many ways you can increase office efficiency in order to keep processes running smoothly. If you find your practice schedule is consistently too full or not full enough, discuss this at your next staff meeting.