People can do almost anything online these days, and patients are increasingly demanding the same convenience that they get from hotels, airlines, and restaurants from their medical practice. If you don’t have online scheduling for patients yet, now is the time to implement it. Here are some tools to help you successfully incorporate online scheduling as part of your practice no matter how big or small your clinic is.
Evaluate Software Carefully
The first step to getting online scheduling for your clinics is to find the right software programs that enable patients to see what’s available and select a time slot. Your clinic will need to evaluate all the various software programs to determine which is going to work. Before you settle one on, look for:
- Ease of use, both on your end for staff and on the patient side
- Intuitive interfaces that people can quickly navigate to find available time slots
- Integration with other components of your medical practice management software, like your EHR and medical billing software
- Ability to customize the program based on the unique needs of your clinics and providers
- Simple setup without cumbersome installations or implementations
- Affordability for a small practice, and scalability as you grow
Educate and Train Staff
Once you decide on the right software, the next step is training. Some staff and providers may be more resistant to changing from a phone-based scheduling system to one where patients can schedule online, but it’s important that everyone become familiar and comfortable with the new system so people don’t immediately look for workarounds or avoid using the system as intended. Ask your software provider for a range of training options, including in-person or web-based training as well as on-demand training that people can complete as they have time.
Educate Your Patients
Finally, it’s important to educate your patients about this new feature and inform them of the convenience and benefits that it will provide. You can send out information electronically through a patient portal, text message, and email to patients who have that information on file, as well as good old-fashioned mailers to all your patients with instructions on how to schedule online.
Allow a transition time when many of your patients will likely continue to schedule appointments by phone (the way they have always done), but gently nudge them in the direction of online scheduling as they are comfortable to streamline workflows and reduce phone calls for your staff.
Patients are increasingly demanding online scheduling and want the convenience that it can provide. If you’re not sure where to start, contact AdvancedMD to see a demo of our online scheduling portal and learn how easy it can be to get it for your clinic.