Medical Scheduling Software Buyers Guide
Last updated: June 01, 2023
A regular workday in a physician's life involves a number of challenges demanding immediate attention, amidst all that, it is very likely that they forget about or miss an appointment. There has been a huge improvement in this regard ever since the introduction of digitized patient scheduling EHR system. These systems are specially designed to take the burden off a clinician's busy schedule by eliminating the hassle of double-confirmation calls, no-shows and last-minute rescheduling calls. With its main goal being maximization of patient visits and reduction of missed/no-show appointments, the scheduling system has the tools to check for follow-ups on its own and automates the whole process by gathering essential data from the patient’s file including information regarding demographics, billing and insurance information, preferred time slots for the appointment, or their primary complaints.
Some of the advanced Patient Scheduling Systems provide additional services such as automated texts, calls, and emails by integrating with the Electronic Health Records (EHR) Software. Reminder notifications can be sent through these integrated features.
Today, the patient scheduling software category has a range of complex and robust tools to offer, for a seemingly simple task. Most EHR solutions incorporate functionality for medical appointment functionality, varying in types of medical specialty and practice sizes which makes for a very wide plane of choice when any medical professional sets out to buy an appointment scheduling software.
This guide aims to help buyers comprehend the medical scheduling software market and identify the right questions to ask when shopping for a medical scheduling software.
Common features of a Medical Scheduling Software
Patients are offered the facility to customize their appointment slots according to their schedules through the Patient Scheduling EMR Sofware. The slots can be booked and arranged on different criteria such as a first-come-first-serve basis.
The tools to communicate through the software for appointment scheduling, confirmations, cancellations and reminders without not having to book appointments in-person to make the staff workflow easier and reduce the hassle for patients significantly.
Patient Visit Management
The duration the visit of every patient can be tracked and recorded for the visit to be broken down into various operations for multiple reasons such as to add value to the visits in every step and also for time tracking to help in billing.
Other important features and offerings to consider
Based on private practice patient scheduling needs, having these tools in your scheduling tool can add great benefits to the sum:
Scheduling tools that office staff and clients can use with little to no training required.
Ease of setup
Look for cloud-based models and helpful implementation options.
Go for cost-effective software (some offer a free version) for smaller practices.
To provide patients access to their own appointment and medical data.
Many medical scheduling software offer automated email or text reminders.
Includes integration with electronic health records (EHR) and medical records.
Billing and claims management
To enable the office to determine billing codes and costs for client and insurance-provider billing.
Compliant with federal health information and privacy laws.
An important step before you can evaluate systems is to identify what buyer category you fall into as many buyers skip this part and end up with a software that does not fit their requirements causing them much distress and loss of resources. About 90 percent of medical scheduling software buyers fall into one of these categories:
Single-service buyers: Buyers that are looking for a straightforward solution without lots of bells and whistles, but something robust enough to support their primary needs.
Integrated service buyers: Buyers that work under practices looking for appointment functionality integrated with EMR and/or billing modules. We are hearing from lots of these buyers due to the HITECH Act requiring most physician practices to adopt EMRs.
Cost-conscious buyers: Buyers that have the most basic needs and are typically looking for an affordable option. They may be open to a Web-based system, but due to their budget, they will likely implement an on-premise system.
Multi-location buyers: Buyers that work for practices who need access to data to schedule it from multiple locations, including satellite offices, hospitals or home. They often prefer Web-based deployment due to ease of implementation and sharing of data.
Importance and benefits of Patient Scheduling Software
On average, missed appointments cost the healthcare in the U.S. an estimate of $150 Billion annually. A physician can lose up to $200 for any open or unused time slot. An average healthcare provider in America has a 5-30% no-show rate. Nearly 20% of patients reported changing providers due to long wait times, 30% of patient respondents in one survey said they have left a medical appointment because the wait time was getting too long. Healthcare scheduling software can help patients feel heard and cared about in a way that contributes to value-based care. However, a computerized solution cannot anticipate every possible scheduling disruption however it can help you avoid leaving any money on the table, given the added pressures that come from rising patient out-of-pocket costs and declining Medicare reimbursement rates.
Computerized scheduling is increasingly playing an important role in patient care, especially with new expectations and technologies that impact the appointment-making process. The wrong patient scheduling system can drive down patient satisfaction, adversely influence staff confidence and result in lost chances to build revenue and develop your business. The inability to effectively deal with appointment cancellations and no-shows, automatically tracking appointments or improving doctor accessibility can accomplish more than disrupt day-to-day workflows; As a major aspect of practice management or integrated EHR arrangement, it’s crucial to identify the right medical scheduling software for your practice. Some major benefits include:
- Better patient experience
- Reduced no-show rates
- Better patient-physician relationship
- Optimized workflows
- Increase in revenue
- Better communication with patients
- Reduced waiting times
- Data security