Regulatory transformations, along with progress in technology and changing patient demographics, are a few attributes that have impacted the healthcare system. A doctor’s appointment booking system is vital to schedule patient consultations in such a robust healthcare environment. Clinics are increasingly implementing booking systems to accomplish measurable results pertaining to patient care and revenue generation. A doctor's appointment booking system is a substantial investment for health systems as well as doctors. Selecting the correct one could enhance patient contact, save time, and increase doctor’s revenue.
Security and regulatory compliance
The most advanced doctor appointment booking systems must be compliant with regulatory requirements. A clinic must verify compliance with the appointment booking software. Getting a written confirmation from the vendor ensures you have the legal answers that are required.
Integrated appointment booking system
If the clinic has existing electronic health records, the doctor must see if the appointment booking system would integrate with the EHR. A clinic’s scheduling is complex. A significant challenge in the case of an independent appointment booking system is the integration with the EHR. The ability to work with scheduling templates is a crucial question from potential customers. Doctors would prefer to interpret their appointment booking scheduling settings in real-time to ensure that the correct visit category goes in the appropriate slot. The best appointment booking system integrates with the EHR, which results in quicker setup times.
An effective doctor appointment booking system must not remain static. You must ensure a commitment from the vendor to keeping the application updated frequently. The longer the vendor has been in business and the larger the existing client base, the greater the chances of keeping it updated, not being a problem for the vendor. Also, ensure that updates and version improvements would not be charged but are covered as part of the existing agreement.
Training for the staff
Get clarity from the vendor on the type of training they have to offer for the staff. Understanding new software and mastering its features can be a challenging task for most people. All the concerned personnel in the clinic should use the software entirely and comprehensively work to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Effective time management is correlated with patient care and revenue generation.
The system must have a reporting capability
Automation is an outstanding tool for effective data management and the system must allow a doctor to export the data in various reports. A doctor would prefer a system that generates reports on a need basis to monitor the clinic's performance and the patient flow over a specific period. A capability to go into particular reports for details is crucial, as it empowers end-users to control customized report parameters. Managing reports should be restricted to specific personnel in the clinic by login since not everyone is permitted to view reports.
Accommodate specific requirements
The most optimal appointment scheduling system must be customizable. Customization is much more than just settings. It must adapt to behavior. Every practice would have a unique requirement and some features would be needed irrespective of the scenario. Other than generally-required abilities, there are other variables in what a practice needs, in terms of specialty, the number of medical practitioners, or locations involved. If any of these factors have to be increased in the future, will the system accommodate them? It would be prudent to ask the provider questions on these lines.
Selecting a vendor based on reviews
When selecting the most appropriate appointment booking system, check the reviews. Verify the authenticity of the reviews and also seek answers to the following questions:
- How much time did the provider take from the contract being signed to the scheduling software going live?
- Does the staff have to handle extra work because of the software?
- Ask for details of the common issues that were solved?
The software must be web-based
A vital aspect of a great user experience is managing a schedule from a specific device. The appointment booking app must be accessible through a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
The method of sharing schedules with users
The system must be able to generate an optimized schedule as per the defined rules. Another critical factor is the time taken to create a schedule, which must be synchronized with calendar applications like Google, Outlook, among others. Once the schedule is adjusted, the users will be able to view updates in real-time. Doctors can describe rules for shifts to ensure staff does not pick up a shift resulting in overtime pay.
Ease of use
The end-users must be comfortable in operating the system. A doctor can also consult the staff and involve them in the decision-making. They must not face any issues while handling the system. Identifying what is suitable for your practice is vital for a smooth transition.
An advanced appointment booking system is only as good as your capacity to use it efficiently. The features are vital, but the amount of support that the vendor can provide is also crucial. Support is a “hidden cost” when procuring any solution. Hence, ask the right questions to the provider. Find out the average response time from tech support and if it is possible to modify details pertaining to shift, users, locations quickly, and if the system will meet a growing practice’s demands.
The cost of the system
While considering the appointment booking system's cost, it is vital to assess service delivery costs without the software. A comparative analysis would help in arriving at the correct decision. The clinic must pay only for the actual features and the benefits derived from using the software.
It is important for clinic owners to look at the purchase of scheduling software holistically. Does the software allow for different doctors to use the system across multiple locations? Scalability is important as otherwise the workload in using the application will increase manifold. Doctor software should be easy-to-use and set up.
If you have any questions regarding an appointment booking system, please call us for a demo. Genamet is always willing to support doctors in delivering quality service.