The Benefits of Patient Scheduling Software

If your practice is like most others, scheduling is a significant pain point. Cancellations, missed appointments, and no-shows can quickly impact your revenue and physicians’ workdays. Can utilizing the best patient scheduling software close these gaps?

Most Medical Practices Struggle With Scheduling 

Imagine opening your doors at the crack of dawn, prepared to handle a fully booked calendar day — only to spend your morning desperately trying to contact patients. This is the story of one county medical practice that had five missed appointments — all before 9:30 a.m.

The practice owner took to social media to implore people to reach out whether they no longer want the appointment or can no longer attend, suggesting they are at a point where they prefer same-day cancellations over no-shows.

The social media post went on to note the practice’s schedules were nearly fully booked, revealing they had lost an hour of clinical time that could’ve gone toward improving patient outcomes and earning revenue.

The reality of the traditional patient scheduling process is that it doesn’t meet the needs of modern practices or patients. In the digital age, the general public craves convenience. If they can’t easily cancel their appointment, they’re more likely not to show up — and give no warning.

Why Do You Need Patient Scheduling Software?

If your practice operates like most traditional practices, patients contact you over the phone to make an appointment. This process is outdated and time-consuming, as the scheduler has to navigate the schedule and enter information manually.

The traditional scheduling process is just as inefficient for patients. After they reach your scheduler, they wait on hold for available times. When they finally get presented with a small selection of times, they go through a lengthy back-and-forth to find one that meets their needs.

Even if both parties quickly agree on a time, the process is still prone to inaccuracies because your staff isn’t immune to human error. One instance of forgetfulness or misinterpretation can lead to scheduling conflicts, costing your practice potential revenue.

Consistent process-related cancellations and rescheduling can negatively affect satisfaction over time. Additionally, it can drive away prospective patients. In fact, over 41% of people say appointment availability is their biggest challenge in finding a healthcare provider.

On the topic of cancellations, your same-day cancellations likely aren’t backfilled effectively enough if you have a traditional scheduling process. If this issue occurs consistently, your practice stands to lose tens of thousands — potentially even hundreds of thousands — in potential earnings over the course of a year due to productivity decline.

Clearly, the traditional scheduling process still leaves much to be desired. Patient scheduling software closes these gaps, resolving your most common pain points.

Key Features of the Best Patient Scheduling Software

The best patient scheduling software provides a single centralized management platform to view, change and oversee all appointments. On top of giving you a calendar view of your providers’ schedules, it offers numerous features to optimize your workflow.

Rectangle Health’s scheduling software can waitlist patients if there are no open slots, ensuring future last-minute cancellations don’t impact your providers’ workdays. It also makes the end-user experience more convenient, potentially improving their perception of your practice.

If your practice is like many others, the majority of your cancellations are process-related — meaning most patients are willing and able to make another appointment. Software with an automatic rescheduling feature can detect missed and canceled visits to offer them your practice’s next available open slots.

Suppose patients don’t respond to reschedule requests. In that case, scheduling software can automatically contact others who haven’t been seen in a while and are due for a visit to backfill the cancellation and fill open slots.

When your scheduler reschedules, cancels or makes new appointments, the calendar sync feature ensures the entire practice knows about it. When everyone is up to date on the latest developments, human error decreases and job satisfaction increases.

Patient scheduling software enables connectivity to other technology platforms and systems, giving you more functionality to meet your business-specific needs. Whether you want to track analytics or improve your electronic health record (EHR) system, you’ll have the option.

The Benefits of Using Patient Scheduling Software

When you utilize the best patient scheduling software for your practice, you experience process improvements and improve your business outcomes.

1. Increased Return on Investment

Scheduling software helps ensure patients attend their scheduled appointments and streamlines medical billing, increasing the chance your practice will receive payments. For example, Rectangle Health ensures a 47% reduction in outstanding accounts receivable.

2. Improved Medical Billing

Medical billing becomes much easier when you can access a digitized, shareable archive of patient information on a single, centralized platform. You can view an up-to-date, accurate overview of outstanding accounts receivable anytime.

3. Fewer Cancellations 

Your practice can prevent 74% of day-of-surgery cancellations, according to one estimate. You can send patients appointment confirmations and reminders with the help of patient scheduling software, improving patient show rates.

4. Increased Patient Satisfaction

Most patients value convenience. In fact, six in 10 people say a complicated process discourages them from making appointments with a provider. Scheduling software lets them book and confirm an open slot with the press of a button, increasing their satisfaction levels.

5. Improved Compliance 

Patient scheduling software securely stores payment and health data in a digital database, streamlining compliance management. This way, you have an easier time setting access controls, editing information and auditing for non-compliance.

6. Reduced Scheduling Mishaps 

With scheduling software, you can avoid common errors like overbooking, underbooking and not communicating updates since you can set most processes to happen automatically on a trigger-based system.

How This Technology Improves Patient Scheduling 

Patient scheduling software primarily improves the typical scheduling process by providing a secure, shareable calendar on a centralized platform. Digitally transforming your manual operations allows every staff member to view updates in near real time, reducing the number of miscommunications and booking mishaps your practice experiences.

Another one of the main improvements scheduling software provides is streamlined patient registration. Integrating this technology with your EHR system lets you pre-register individuals, making check-in and appointment confirmation faster.

The last way scheduling software improves upon the typical scheduling process involves the patients themselves. Considering three in 10 patients say convenient hours is the most important factor when searching for a new health care provider, the ease of use and simplicity of interacting with a digital system is valuable to them.

How to Know If You Need Patient Scheduling Software

Scheduling software is for any medical practice — regardless of whether they experience unusually high cancellations — because it simplifies most related functions. When your calendar is digitized and integrated with other systems and technologies, processes like medical billing, information archival and patient engagement become streamlined.

Having said that, your practice might be an ideal candidate for this kind of software if you routinely experience scheduling mishaps and no-shows. The same concept applies to drawing new patients — if you’re experiencing challenges in this area, digitizing the appointment booking process may attract more people to your practice.

The Bottom Line on Patient Scheduling Software

Utilizing the best patient scheduling software gives your practice a better chance of securing a higher patient show rate, a positive return on investment, and increased physician job satisfaction. Whether you experience booking issues or not, this technology can be helpful.

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