In 2021, the healthcare industry is advancing leaps and bounds in terms of technology. The Healthcare software market has witnessed some significant developments in different categories of services. Healthcare Scheduling Software is one such solution that’s quite on demand among telehealth or mHealth providers.
Healthcare Scheduling Software is the easiest and most convenient way of fixing an appointment with clinicians. If you are still using manual means to schedule patients, then you need to rethink. Healthcare Automation in patient appointment scheduling transforms the complete process of fixing an appointment into a simpler, user-friendly way for providers as well as patients. Basically, healthcare provider scheduling software has multiple features wherein the patient can select, schedule, consult, and even pay the doctors.
Moreover, scheduling software technology isn’t just limited to patient scheduling but also medical staff scheduling software, nurse scheduling software, and more. You’ll also find physicians scheduling software. Such software is great for providers/physicians following integrated care management.
We, at OSP, were approached by a client who aimed for an integrated telemedicine application. However, the client’s practice had multiple challenges, including time-consuming manual appointment scheduling, no secure payment options, and no online appointment facility. We undertook these challenges to develop a HIPAA compliant mobile app that offered healthcare scheduling solutions and telemedicine services. The app offered:
- Easy Patient Registration- A registration module that creates EHR for storing patient health data
- Video/Text Appointments- Healthcare scheduling solutions to ensure hassle
- Teleconferencing- Video consultation with physicians for efficient mhealth
- Consultations with Experts (Chatbot)- Uninterrupted chatting with expert providers for health information
- Secure Online Payments- Reduces manual payments invoices to minimize losses
Challenges Providers Experience in Non-Automated Appointment Scheduling
The Healthcare Scheduling Software market is predicted to expand exponentially at 13% CAGR by 2026. However, many practitioners are still stuck with manual appointment scheduling, which imposes a myriad of challenges. The major challenges are-
High Expense Rate and Cost of Resources- Manual appointment scheduling is an uphill task. Not just staff and doctors are burdened with monotonous paper-work, but the manual process also costs more. On the other side, Healthcare scheduling software automates the entire process from finding the right doctor to payment. With healthcare scheduling software solutions, providers will face no burnouts and attain more flexibility in workflows. Also, you’ll save majorly on resources’ costs.
Time Consuming Process- Manual healthcare scheduling is a long process. No doubt it takes too much time in every step of taking an appointment. From patient scheduling to payment, providers require mostly one week to schedule inpatients/outpatients consultation. However, automated scheduling systems reduce the time from one week to just a few hours or at max. 24 hours. If you’re still using a manual healthcare scheduling solution, then problems like too many appointments or unfair distribution are quite common. So, the scheduling software for hospitals also allows practice management to distribute the cases equally to ensure doctors get an adequate number of cases without spending too much time on one patient.
No Solid Track Record- Providers using manual appointment scheduling systems often experience critical errors in scheduling doctors and no show-ups by patients. Here, errors in scheduling doctors often result in low patient retention rates and physician burnouts too. Quite contrary to the traditional healthcare scheduling, Healthcare Scheduling Software keeps records and ensures accurate substitution, reminders, and alerts to physicians. Also, healthcare scheduling solutions assure providers with a high rate of patients’ show-ups. Further, providers use EHR drawn patient data for appointment scheduling, which also improves the electronic data exchange process.
Staff/Provider Burnouts- Prior to EHR and Practice Management Solutions, administrative work was the primary cause of staff burnout and loss of revenue. Manual appointment scheduling of inpatients and outpatients often leads to increased workload without any flexibility. Several hospitals have reported staff and physicians quitting due to increased administrative burdens. However, scheduling software for hospitals or clinics has changed the scenario. With such healthcare automation, doctors need not bother about missing appointments or wasting their time waiting for patients in case of no show-ups. Also, the physician can focus completely on treating the patients.
Important Features In a Standard Appointment Scheduling Software
Like any other integrated healthcare solution, healthcare scheduling software is also integrated with several specifications. A scheduling software solution has advanced features by deploying Clinical Informatics. Besides, some of the basic features of any standard healthcare scheduling software are-
Two-way sync calendar- Medical appointment scheduling applications or software must have a two-way sync calendar. Once the appointment is fixed, syncing the calendar will ensure that patients and doctors get reminders. This reduces no show-ups and staff burnouts.
User-friendly Interface- Not every user is tech-savvy. So, healthcare scheduling software development companies or professionals must consider user-friendliness. After all, if the patient can’t access it, then the software is useless.
Work Time Settings- Missing out appointments can cost providers millions of dollars annually. Online healthcare scheduling software must include work time settings. This allows flexibility to doctors, as the availability of certain physicians will show according to their work timing. And patients are also satisfied with a complete and timely consultation.
Telehealth/video consulting- Since Covid-19, virtual consultations have increased rapidly. So, healthcare scheduling software includes video consultation, text and audio messaging features for patient-doctor convenience and better care.
Alerts/Reminders- One of the essential features that a health scheduling platform should include is alerts/reminders. Doctors or patients can’t always remember their appointments. But with alerts and reminders on scheduling software, patients and doctors will have a better track of appointments.
Payment Option- Another important feature for healthcare scheduling software is the payment option. Such a feature makes it easy to collect advance payments whenever patients book their appointments.
Cancel/Reschedule Option- Of all the features, the health care scheduling software is incomplete without a cancel/reschedule option. It benefits providers and patients in saving time and money.
Benefits of Incorporating Appointment Scheduling Software
There is no debate about how beneficial it is to incorporate Healthcare Scheduling Software. Patient engagement systems also highlight the benefits of healthcare scheduling solutions. Here are some of the benefits-
Low Rate of No Show-ups, Higher Inflow Rate- Automating healthcare scheduling will positively impact the patient inflow rate and staff retention. It will eliminate no show-ups too. The incorporation of healthcare scheduling software will even benefit medical record management
Timely Payments- Healthcare provider scheduling software also helps providers with timely payments on every appointment booked. So, providers would benefit from the reduced loss of payments or errors.
Flexibility for Doctors- Deploying appointment scheduling software, the most benefitted is doctors. Most of the tasks, including consultation with the patient become easier, so physicians can balance their work and personal life too.
Boost revenue- As online scheduling software collects the payment right after appointment booking, there is just a slight chance of payment denial or loss. And such software, just like healthcare interoperability or healthcare analytics solutions boosts the providers’ revenue over time.
Patient Satisfaction and Improved Patient-Provider Relationship- When patients get timely appointments without any papers, call or messaging hassles, the patient is satisfied. Healthcare scheduling software ensures that patient is satisfied and physicians are also contented with workflow. Besides, the outcomes are much better when both entities can easily interact without any work burden or long wait time. Also, providers extract patient data from EHR to help doctors with patient basic information when an appointment is booked. So, through clinical data analytics, providers can decide on the vital information to use. And enable doctors to deliver accurate treatments. .
Healthcare Scheduling Software applications available have a plethora of features and specifications. While healthcare scheduling software applications are available ready-made, a customized product with HIPAA compliance is a much better option. By developing HIPAA-compliant scheduling software, providers can opt for a cloud-based solution for the security of clinical data. Besides, healthcare scheduling applications benefit providers on multiple levels. So, leveraging customized appointment scheduling software will eliminate the challenges of manual scheduling and boost the practice. Moreover, you can follow the above pointers to develop successful online scheduling software.