A medical practice has many patients each day and the staff has to deal with many appointments in the process. The doctor and staff are kept busy all throughout the day with more phone calls being received for scheduled appointments at future dates. The staff has to be careful not to overbook appointments or the physician will be overwhelmed and some patients may not receive the care they normally would in the ideal situation. In some cases, the medical office will take walk-in patients.
When a patient walks in for a major illness, the doctor and staff doesn’t usually turn them away. So, you can see that there are several variables to consider when handling the scheduling appointments. If a patient seen by the doctor has to do a follow-up visit, the staff handling the appointments has to stop and check the appointment book to see which future dates are available.
If proper scheduling is not the focus, then everything could be in disarray and become quite chaotic and much disorganized. This could cause a lot of stress inside the office and the patient will quickly notice. How can medical practitioners fix this problem?
Effective Appointment Scheduling System
There is a way of scheduling appointments that has proved effective for doctor’s offices and other professional services. If you want to have an organized medical office as it relates to appointment scheduling, here are some recommended tips:
- Give the patient options for different time slots during scheduling
- If the patient made the appointment on spot after a visit, make sure you give a reminder card to the patient upon leaving
- If the appointment was made at an early date, call, text or email reminders before the appointment date
- Call the day before to confirm that the patient will show up
- Quit using manual appointment books and use software
- Solicit help from an appointment scheduling company that provides online or automated scheduling, follow ups and reminders
Patients are important to a medical practice and if you are not getting them in and out the door efficiently, then you are not doing something right. Patients would welcome the idea of scheduling their appointments online instead of over the phone since there may be a long hold time when they call the doctor’s office; only because the office is busy. Patients can even use the online scheduling service to cancel appointments or reschedule. This would prevent too many no-shows.
Moreover, the online systems will automatically call or text patients to send reminders. It frees up the staff and unburdens them from this task so they can concentrate on providing patients with extraordinary customer service. It also makes the office much more organized.