Patient appointments are the gateway to your practice’s revenue. If scheduling and appointments aren’t managed well, you’re going to have holes in your schedule…and your bank account. The pitfalls of patient scheduling–no shows, forgotten appointments, and cancellations–negatively impact the smooth running of your practice and your bottom line. Getting on top of scheduling means you’re going to have to proactively manage your patient flow. With new technologies and expanded functionality, practice management systems for scheduling have the ability to keep your practice and your patients on track.
5 Key strategies to enhance your scheduling process, step 5 of 5
5. Keep a full schedule
Unfilled appointments are missed opportunities. Your practice can’t bill or generate revenue if it isn’t firing on all cylinders. Ensure your schedule stays full so you can see more patients with scheduling that lets you proactively and retroactively manage time slots. There are five key system functions that will help you lock in seamless scheduling: overbooking, waitlist, recurring appointments, reminders and a convenient patient portal.
Overbooking is good insurance
Overbooking is a good strategy that helps you plan for the inevitable no-shows and cancelations. Try to overbook between a Medicaid appointment or a follow-up patient; 25 to 50 percent of those appointment types cancel or fail to show up.1 Using a system that lets you double, triple, even quadruple timeslots is your insurance against downtime and interrupted workflow.
Waitlist management is a win-win
Offering your patients a waitlist option for scheduling is a win-win. Patients get in earlier than planned and you fill a hole in your schedule. With a scheduling system that lets you add patients to a waitlist, they’ll automatically be entered into the newest available timeslot when it opens.
Recurring appointments lock in revenue
Setting up recurring appointments before your patients leave the office helps establish a predictable schedule that also means predictable revenue for your practice. Train your front office staff to schedule the next appointment to lock in the time and the revenue that comes from proactively managing your practice schedule.
Reminders head off no-shows
Invest in a scheduling program that can automate patient reminders and confirmations. Automated reminders by phone, email or online in a patient portal are going to keep your patients on track and make forgotten appointments a thing of the past. Systems that have confirmation tracking will let you attach notes and mark scheduled appointments as confirmed during two-day out schedule checks. Tracking will also give you a history of patient cancellations, no-shows, and moved appointments so you can see problems and patterns to get on top of future scheduling issues.
Patient portals: The future of scheduling
New digital patient relationship platforms are the future of patient care. Patient portals give patients a secure, convenient platform to download, complete and update their medical records. They have easy access using their own device and can login through a secure, password-protected patient portal from the privacy of their homes. Patients can request appointments, ask questions, pay their bills and view their records at their convenience. Your staff is immediately notified of any appointment requests and can securely communicate back and forth with patients through the patient portal.
If scheduling and appointments aren’t managed well, you aren’t operating at maximum efficiency. There are also serious legal risks if follow-up appointments aren’t made in a timely fashion. Avoiding the pitfalls of patient scheduling–no shows, forgotten appointments, and cancellations–is going to help you ensure the smooth running of your practice and protect your bottom line. With new technologies and expanded functionality, practice management systems for scheduling give you the ability to proactively manage your patient flow. Scheduling software with intuitive calendaring and appointment management functions is going to help you better manage your practice and your patients by ending frustrating gaps and no-shows.
The scheduling experts at AdvancedMD have the solutions you need to get your practice running on all cylinders to keep your calendar and your bank account filled to capacity. Learn more about how AdvancedMD scheduling and appointment capabilities can work for you. Schedule a live AdvancedMD demonstration catered to your practice today.