Traditional healthcare scheduling systems have posed long-standing challenges for the healthcare sector. These challenges, associated with long wait times, are impacting the entire continuum of care and adversely affecting healthcare profitability. As patient-oriented healthcare spreads its influence across the industry, patient scheduling workflow has to be transformed. With the new dynamic of patient-centric caregiving approaches, patient experience affects provider payments, organizational profitability, and overall business turnaround.
Healthcare organizations have to devise healthcare scheduling methodologies that offer a high-end patient experience and become the critical differentiator for enhanced patient satisfaction. No longer will it suffice to provide top-notch clinical care; healthcare consumers are now looking for end-to-end supporting systems that factor in patient convenience. A medical scheduling app is the first order of business on this journey.
An Appointment Scheduling Success Story Example
A Texas-based mental health center wanted to automate the practice management process. Their paper-based practice management affected not only the loss of revenue but also the quality of care delivered. The main challenge for OSP was to bring the digitization of the clinic’s daily practice and revenue operations.
A critical solution was a medical scheduling software that undertakes automated medical appointment scheduling for patients with their respective providers. The platform ensures an efficient scheduling system to avoid wait time and other hassles.
Hurdles of the Traditional Scheduling System
Long Wait Times: The traditional patient appointment scheduling workflow involves a manual call to the healthcare organization, wherein an administrative staff books the appointment manually. This form of scheduling system in healthcare creates a prolonged wait time. This challenge is present across most healthcare organizations in the country. Adding to this woe are the difficulties involved in patient scheduling workflows and an imbalance of supply and demand. According to a recent survey, the current wait time in the healthcare sector stands at an average of 42 days. Finally, patients are not given appointments based on criticality. Critical patients are sometimes forced to wait to receive the required care.
Increased Wait Costs: As a result of increased wait times, patients with acute conditions face a negative outcome. Prolonged wait times prove to be a barrier towards accessing quality care. Thus, there is a higher rate of patient non-compliance and appointment no-shows with the traditional patient scheduling workflow. This has a direct negative impact on staff and providers, causing burnout. Appointment no-shows also have a direct impact on increased costs. Finally, when a patient is dissatisfied, it is safe to say that the healthcare organization is doomed to face losses for more reasons than one. Medical professionals, furthermore, may continue to take their fee from the healthcare organizations, regardless of whether patients show up for their appointments. The loss, ultimately, has to be borne by the healthcare organization in question.
Traditional scheduling systems in healthcare face the complexity of balancing clinical criteria, critical care, patient needs, organizational resources, medical professionals, and population culture. Without using automated tools toward evidence-based analysis, patient scheduling management remains complex. With system complexities such as these, administrative staff can be quite a burden to undertake efficient appointment scheduling. This results in an uncoordinated system that can cause frustrations for patients and providers alike. Bottlenecks in the system go unchecked, and healthcare organizations struggle to stay alive around the competition.
What Patients Want from a Patient Scheduling System
Dynamic Caregiving: Within the new patient-oriented care-based approach, there is an increasing emphasis on the quality and safety of patients while decreasing the overall costs involved. The new motto of healthcare organizations remains to be better population health, better care experience, and lower prices. Patient scheduling software should offer improved efficiency and higher patient convenience by accessing electronic health records, superior care management, and healthcare automation technologies. To drive patient satisfaction, online appointment scheduling systems must perform a dynamic analysis of the patient’s needs and the specifics involved in their caregiving process. For example, critical care patients should be given priority; follow-ups should be undertaken promptly; patient appointment reminders can be automated, etc.
Easy Accessibility: A medical appointment scheduling software that increases accessibility between patients and providers is bound to achieve success. Naturally, an online appointment management system that reduces hassles for patients will be a welcome change from the traditional system laden with hurdles. Through integrated healthcare and electronic data exchange, healthcare appointment scheduling and patient communication can increase patient satisfaction. Easy accessibility also involves eliminating long hold times and the need for multiple calls from the healthcare organization to confirm the appointment.
Advantages of Patient Scheduling Software
Improved Patient-Provider Relationship
Patient-provider relationships stand at the forefront of the patient experience. A robust medical appointment scheduling software bridges the gap between these two healthcare entities through automated appointment scheduling. The automated process of scheduling systems in healthcare improves practice efficiency and positively impacts the patients. Conflicts between patients and providers are mitigated through efficient bookings of available blocks that satisfy the patient and optimize the medical professional’s time. Healthcare providers’ software solutions and patient engagement solutions can be fused through healthcare scheduling integration to enhance patient-provider relationships.
Improved Workforce Management
Unlike traditional systems, healthcare staff scheduling software is designed to automate most previously manually undertaken tasks. Interoperability and medical records management solutions match patients with relevant medical professionals based on diagnosis and treatment. Applying physician scheduling software for hospitals reduces workforce time and aligns patient needs with the clinician best-suited. Automated systems in the physician scheduling system reduce the need for manual processes and ensure optimization of the workforce within the healthcare organization. Freed from the burden of appointment scheduling, administrative staff can focus on other requirements within the healthcare organization.
Improved Strategic Design
A strategically designed appointment scheduling software in healthcare uses healthcare analytics to provide a seamless end-to-end experience for the patient. Healthcare organizations can track patients right from their point of check-in until they end their caregiving process. Cloud computing in healthcare can be applied to track multiple metrics through color-coding and other design tools. Emergency protocols can also be deployed within the EHR appointment scheduling software to mobilize professionals to specific locations. Finally, changes and cancellations are easy to undertake, with minimum wastage of provider time, maximum convenience to the patient, and reduced loss to the healthcare organization.
Improved Wait-time Metrics
A distinct advantage of scheduling systems in healthcare is the automated phone call and text service that goes a long way in reducing no-shows. With automation in healthcare staff scheduling software, available appointments are easily visible in the system. Mobile access to online appointment management systems allows providers and patients to remotely access the system and receive updates and notifications on scheduled changes. Patient portals in healthcare can be merged with the physician scheduling system to allow patients to enter and manage their appointments. This reduces wait times through interactive updates on cancellations, freed up time slots, etc. Incorporating the physician scheduling software with population health management will provide a detailed analysis of health parameters within the geographic area.
Improved Supply and Demand Capacity
Through medical scheduling software for healthcare, time management is a critical component toward maintaining the equilibrium between supply and demand capacity in healthcare. With intuitive and easy-to-use features, patient requirements are easily matched with medical providers through intelligent patient portals in healthcare. Health informatics and HIPAA compliance are essential considerations to include in medical scheduling software systems. The balance between supply and demand is further maintained through the reduction of no-shows. This reduction can be attributed to reminders within medical scheduling software systems.
Choosing the right medical software providers requires careful consideration. The right medical software providers will ensure that they offer cost-effective, all-in-one healthcare supply chain software towards patient-centric scheduling systems. Centralized patient information, demographic analysis, and medical history analysis are part of successful scheduling software that offers improved patient and provider experience. A tailor-made solution to address specific scheduling needs of organizations may offer added advantages. Transitioning to an automated system may be the key to advancing along with the evolving healthcare panorama. Upon implementation, healthcare organizations can instantly benefit from decreased costs, wait times, no-shows, increased efficiencies, patient satisfaction, and optimized provider management.
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Written by Riken Shah linkedin
Riken's work motto is to help healthcare providers use technological advancements to make healthcare easily accessible to all stakeholders, from providers to patients. Under his leadership and guidance, OSP Labs has successfully developed over 600 customized software solutions for 200+ healthcare clients across continents.