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Written by Vijay

An increasing number of healthcare practices are moving towards appointment booking and scheduling systems. There is a greater need to understand the systems' functioning and its potential benefit to the clinic and its patients. Bookings, cancellations, reminders, notifications, and other activities can be managed efficiently through the system and without the tedious workload related to manual appointment scheduling systems. Doctors can assess the various options available in the market and decide the best system that works for their practice.

Do not get bogged down by traditional appointment scheduling methods

Burdensome, time-consuming, and manual management of appointments is inefficient and often results in a frustrating experience for the users. Clinics that have gone through the traditional appointment scheduling process will identify with the problems quickly. The clinic staff will have to continually monitor new bookings, re-bookings, and any cancellations. Again, they have to handle a steady flow of phone calls. Any appointment booking based on paper will result in multiple calls over the phone to avoid booking many patients for the same slot. It can be cumbersome for the practice in terms of the number of resources needed for manual appointment management while also reducing its operational efficiency. Mistakes are unavoidable and information tends to be skipped. When the process cannot handle the multiple updates, it results in unhappy patients.

A medical practice must be tech-savvy and quickly make the transition to an appointment booking system, even as they adopt a Medical Records Management Software. These systems save time, generate revenue, deliver operational convenience, and foster improved patient relations. The benefits of using a system are numerous and often interrelated. 

Do look at convenience and accessibility

Customers across sectors are using booking systems for services and the healthcare sector is no different. In other words, any service offering through a booking system indicates convenience, ease of use, and accessibility. Patients will continuously be seeking an efficient practice that provides system based appointment scheduling. Accessibility to doctors online enables patients to be better connected and makes them have a sense of control of their time. The same applies to doctors as well. Hence, it is a natural progression towards a healthcare communications system's most fundamental – scheduling appointments.

Do consider avoiding no-shows

No-shows can lead to revenue loss, impact workflow, and increase costs. It can also result in inconvenience and frustration. Appointment booking systems significantly decrease no-shows and saves considerable revenue. If a patient does not attend a scheduled appointment, the medical practitioner does not receive payment for that particular time slot. Eliminating no-shows also indicates eliminating overbooking, which can result in unhappy patients due to stretched waiting times. Usually, patients do not show up because they forget appointments. Sending automated reminders would help.

In the absence of an appointment management system, staff in the clinic will have to communicate individually and remind/re-confirm appointments. Through a booking system, phone calls are substantially reduced and this process ensures the doctor’s schedule is appropriately managed.

Do not purchase systems that cannot be used round the clock

With the traditional booking method, a patient has to call the clinic during working hours. However, with an appointment booking system, patients can monitor the doctor’s availability and book appointments, irrespective of whether the clinic is open or closed. It is very convenient for the patients since they can book the slots at a time they prefer.

Do consider information management

Patient management is simpler with booking systems. Some systems also offer Medical Records Management. The clinic can establish a specific point for managing patient information, including updates on checkups and medical tests. Doctors will be in a better position to make decisions pertaining to the patient’s health. Avoiding documentation also results in decreasing the time taken to access files. Unnecessary data entries related to the patient can also be avoided.

Do not buy a system that cannot match the high demand

Once a clinic establishes an appointment booking system, it will witness a rise in new customers. The easiness of appointment booking through a system ensures that most people can access the service. There is a possibility of a massive influx of demand. The system must handle a significant volume of bookings and most often, it can be overwhelming. If the system faces technical issues in managing increasing demand, it would result in an adverse patient experience and have a revenue-bearing.

Do not buy a system that creates uncertainty

All patients need not understand medical information clearly and may not book an appointment based on specific questions that doctors could ask about their health. For instance, is the patient consulting the doctor for a regular checkup or experiencing something emergent.

A booking system can create uncertainty based on the kind of services being provided by the practice. A doctor may offer an option for patients to select the service they would want from the clinic. If patients are not clear about the type of service, they might book the incorrect appointment type. The best way to avoid this is by providing a detailed explanation of the services being offered. If the system does not have the same provision, it would be advisable not to procure the same.

Do not consider a system that compromises data security

Patients would be nervous about their shared data externally and its safety when stored and managed through a system. Adequate security and encryption technology would ensure the safety of web-based schedule platforms. A system has to be compliant with the existing regulatory requirements.

Understanding and using appointment booking systems is a critical aspect of nurturing an optimized clinical presence. Patients can experience more significant control of their schedules. Perform research on the various options and finalize the booking system that would best suit your clinic’s business. It is essential to take into consideration concerns regarding an appointment booking system. Over some time, the software's improvements would enable promote the effectiveness of practices and their utility in the existing healthcare environment.

Every forward-thinking doctor would integrate their Healthcare Software with appointment booking. Please get in touch with us to book a free demo and gain insight into how Genamet's appointment booking system supports doctors in delivering consultation. 

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