Why Appointment Scheduling is Essential in the Medical Office
December 3, 2021
Why Appointment Scheduling is Essential in the Medical Office
When working in a medical office, there are many tasks to juggle. From answering the phone every few minutes to greeting and processing patients, it can be a struggle to keep up. With the public demanding greater convenience, something needs to change.
The perfect solution that’s building traction in the medical sector is scheduling software. We’ll discuss the top reasons why appointment scheduling is essential in the medical office.
- Eliminate distractions
- Give patients what they want
- Add convenience
- Reduce no shows
- Fill all appointment slots
- Use one central information system
- Gain insight with reports
- Minimise mistakes
- Cut waiting times
- Grow your medical clinic
1. Eliminate distractions
A number of tests have found that it takes around 25 minutes to get back on task after you’ve been interrupted. This applies when interruptions are prolonged such as a phone call. Small interruptions such as quickly greeting a patient wouldn’t be complex enough to steer staff off track. But with the average phone call to schedule an appointment taking over 8 minutes, it’s no surprise that these constant calls can get employees in a muddle.
Think about the number of times the phone rings in the medical office a day. Often, it’s so relentless that you can’t remember the last time it was silent! This leaves your team with very small periods to actually concentrate on getting other duties done.
With appointment scheduling, a medical office can be more time-rich than ever before. With patients able to book online, there is no need to ring up the front desk. This instantly eliminates a big distraction and wins back time for staff to be more productive.
2. Give patients what they want
Research has found that 59% of respondents are frustrated with the inconvenience of scheduling appointments via telephone, with 94% of people willing to switch to a new service provider if it offered online booking options. Out of all services, the option to book medical appointments online was the most popular.
Give patients what they want and invest in scheduling software. This could unlock potential as people in the community may switch to your medical clinic simply because you allow them to book online. This straightforward switch to a modern solution could give you the competitive edge and widen your client base. What’s not to like?
3. Add convenience
Nobody can plan when they’re going to fall ill and sometimes waiting for the reception desk to open in the morning is too long a wait. It can feel like a lucky dip when it comes to bagging an appointment. Anxiety builds as people are unaware of what they’re going to get when they ring up.
Healthcare scheduling software offers full transparency and gives people the peace of mind they need. With the ability to book online 24/7, it’s easy to browse available times slots and book there and then.
If you’re feeling unwell, the last thing you want to do is trek to the medical clinic. Video consultations have become more popular as they offer convenience to patients. Better still, BookingLive offers integration with Zoom. This means that patients can join the video link via their booking confirmation. As all the information they need is in one place, it’s never been easier to attend a doctor’s appointment!
4. Reduce no shows
After all the trouble of arranging an appointment, it’s easy to feel defeated when patients don’t show. In 2019, the NHS reported that more than 15 million GP appointments are wasted due to no-shows, which won’t help medical centres battle through their backlog. As well as frittering away time and money, this delays the most vulnerable patients from getting seen by a GP.
To help reduce no shows, scheduling software sends automated email and SMS reminders to make sure people attend. The system also allows patients to cancel their bookings with ease, allowing others to take their place rather than wasting it away.
5. Fill all appointment slots
Believe it or not, some medical practices have unfilled appointment slots. Often these slots are for the same or next day and they don’t fill up simply because the public doesn’t expect there to be instant availability. For every appointment unfilled, the revenue of the medical clinic will suffer.
Yet again, appointment scheduling software can save the day. Patients can view availability 24/7 and book consultations for the same or next day in a few clicks. Since the software is updated in real-time, people can spot last-minute cancellations and jump in to claim the appointment.
6. Use one central information system
Complex spreadsheets, scribbled notes and disorganised databases. They can all hinder the operations of a medical office. Flicking between different sources of information can slow staff down and lead to mistakes.
Everything you need is in one place with an online booking system. From managing client data and tracking appointment attendance to sending automated reminders and marketing emails – it’s all possible thanks to BookingLive’s portfolio of integrations. For example, the software can integrate with your current CMS – whether that may be Joomla, Drupal, or your own site allowing users to book directly from your webpage. It doesn’t get more streamlined than that!
7. Gain insight with reports
Wouldn’t it be great if you could understand when your peak times are and what days you can afford to give your staff a break? Scheduling software features a report function to give you access to this precise information.
This invaluable insight will allow your medical practice to spot opportunities to add extra appointments to meet demand. And the better you can meet demand, the better your patient experience will be. On the other hand, you may have quiet spells on certain weekdays with very few bookings, so you could look at scaling them back.
An online booking system’s reports will allow you to improve the overall efficiency of your medical office. In turn, you can focus staff resources on more pressing tasks.
8. Minimise mistakes
A phone line connection isn’t always clear and it’s easy to misinterpret a patient’s requests. In combination with any blaring background noise, concentration can lapse which leads to the wrong information being taken. Unfortunately, slip-ups do happen and clients may arrive for an appointment when you least expect them. Or worse, don’t show at all! Not only does this make your practice look unprofessional, but it causes further strain on your resources.
The scheduling system is not prone to such mistakes. BookingLive’s software solution securely stores client information and updates in real-time, so you’ll no longer have to deal with double bookings or inaccurate information.
9. Cut waiting times
The reception area of a doctors surgery can quickly become chaotic as many patients arrive for both scheduled and drop-in appointments. With so many people forcing their way to the front desk, waiting times can creep up, leading to both frustrated patients and flustered staff.
Appointment scheduling is essential in the medical office because it can significantly cut waiting times. Any non-urgent patients can easily book their examination in advance online which eliminates the need to drop in to make an appointment.
10. Grow your medical clinic
When you have a busy medical practice to run, the majority of your time will be spent dealing with patient enquiries and scheduling appointments. This calls for a large admin team to meet the demand. A bigger team means higher costs. After you bring scheduling software onboard, you’ll no longer have to waste your staff’s time on tedious administrative tasks. This allows you to invest your resources elsewhere, such as in marketing your practice to win clients.
A wider client base means that you can grow your medical clinic with ease. The sky’s the limit!
Now that we’ve explained why appointment scheduling is essential in the medical office, we hope that you use a scheduling software to improve your practice! If you’d like to find out more about BookingLive’s solution, you can book a demo, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give our friendly team a call on 0800 1310 342.
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