Patient scheduling IT doubles the output of booking agents and cuts the time needed to schedule an appointment in half. This can increase the happiness of patients and physicians by lowering the costs of healthcare. When health care professionals digitize their systems, the resulting process improvement enables them to adopt a more consumer-friendly culture.
What Are the Main Problems with Manual Scheduling?
Your staff becomes bogged down taking calls that last up to 20 minutes each. This makes manual scheduling a potential nightmare. It’s bad enough in an office environment, but for providers that rely on a call center, agents end up wasting a lot of time referring to spreadsheets to optimize the provider’s calendar. Also, they have to memorize or look up various scheduling rules that would work better in an automated system.
In a manual call center environment, many incoming calls aren’t scheduled due to poor turnaround times. This often means that patients have a poor experience and may go to competitors with a better process in place.
What Are the Main Problems With a Manual Scheduling Process?
Some providers have patient liaisons and schedulers who focus on new patients. Agents using cumbersome methods to link providers and patients have to access several provider schedules to determine the closest appointment that fits the patient’s schedule. This method can compromise access to care for the patient and revenue for providers. With manual scheduling, closer appointments are often missed. Patients may be scheduled out months in advance, and providers often end up with less than 10 appointments a day.
How Can IT Scheduling Tools Change This?
Providers who implement automated scheduling IT enjoy real-time integration that maximizes the number of appointments set up. Agents see available appointments in one interface and enter basic information to schedule appointments in another — which makes the scheduling process go faster.
Scheduling IT tools let you tailor the presentation for each provider. It designates what time slots can be filled with what type of appointment. Also, scheduling IT can do so for many providers at the same time. This leads to a streamlined process that improves the experiences of agents, patients and doctors.
What Applications Are Available on the Market?
Providers and call centers can choose from a number of patient scheduling systems. Popular vendors include
Atlas Business Solutions
DrChrono Medical Scheduling
Information about these programs is available online and many vendors are happy to schedule a demo.
What Difference Do These Systems Make?
Before implementing a patient scheduling system, agents had to manually look through online calendars for each provider and verify insurance on another website, all while trying to determine which physicians were accepting new patients.
After implementing integrated IT scheduling systems, agents are available to view available appointments in real time, which lets them identify the most convenient appointment based on the patient’s preferences and needs.
How Does a Patient Scheduling System Improve the Process?
Comprehensive scheduling software improves not only the scheduling process but the entire care outcome. Here are some of the main improvements:
Average call handling time can be cut in half
Fewer booking agents are needed and more appointments are set up
Agents efficiently book appointments and have an easier time complying with the rules of the provider and needs of the patient
Providers get a consistently full schedule that enables them to plot out their day in advance
Call centers and booking liaisons can maximize the capacity of providers to reduce the wait times for appointments
Significant cost reductions enable providers to invest in other areas
What’s the Bottom Line on IT Scheduling Systems?
IT scheduling software balances the needs of the patient, scheduling agents and providers for a better overall experience. Automated systems are better equipped to evolve with the practice of each provider. Lean technology organizations benefit the most from the efficient booking process. They can leverage digital systems to improve existing workflows.
Brian Gray, MCP, is the President at Kraft Technology Group, LLC (KTG), an affiliate of KraftCPAs PLLC. Within his role, Brian is responsible for all aspects of service delivery to our clients. Brian has a decade of experience working for managed service providers. He has worked with clients in a variety of industries, including financial services, accounting, legal, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail.