How to Fix (and Avoid) the Top 5 Medical Appointment Scheduling Mistakes
No-show patients cost the US healthcare system an estimated $150 billion every year, which averages out to $200 per unused time slot for a provider. That can easily add up.
Is your healthcare organization looking for a way to maximize efficiency and cut costs? Schedule management software may be the perfect solution.
Both patients and medical providers lead busy lives. This can often affect how easily your staff can manage complicated scheduling. When mistakes happen, appointments are lost and patients are left feeling less than cared for.
This year might be the best time for your organization to invest in automated software that can improve patient access and optimize resources. Automation in health care is helping to improve the way organizations function.
What Are the Costs of Frequent Scheduling Mistakes?
Maintaining a health system requires a sufficient amount of time, energy, and money. Every detail – from how well your patients feel taken care of by their provider to how easily they can reschedule an appointment – matters if you want to keep both patients and staff happy.
When you have medical scheduling mistakes, however, it can cost you hundreds of dollars every day.
Why so much? Each time a patient fails to show up for their appointment, it means your provider’s time is not being used as efficiently.
When a patient experiences a scheduling difficulty more than once, they will no longer trust the reliability of the clinic. This is when you start losing patients and, in the end, money.
Fix and Avoid These Five Medical Appointment Scheduling Mistakes
Recent trends in health care spending show that numbers have risen to over three trillion US dollars per year.
But although these numbers are rising, it’s a slower growth from previous years. What does this mean for health care organizations? It’s now more important than ever to use resources as effectively as possible.
To maximize the use of resources and improve the patient experience, health care organizations need to boost their efficiency. The best place to start is by fixing and avoiding these five medical appointment scheduling mistakes.
1. Not Gathering Enough Information
An important part of scheduling a patient to see a provider is to gather information about the patient.
Are they a new patient? Do they have pressing health concerns? Is it time for an annual check-up?
Knowing the answers to these questions can help your staff gauge how long the appointment might take. It also tells them how well it fits into the provider’s schedule.
What happens if you don’t gather enough information? You might end up scheduling an hour-long visit into a 30-minute time slot.
When detailing your scheduling process, it is important that you give careful consideration to the nature of your specialty and appointment types. Sometimes the smallest changes to the early stages of the process can yield big improvements to your schedule’s optimization.
2. Failing to Give Appointment Reminders
As mentioned before, appointment no-shows are very costly to an organization. It might feel like no-shows are malicious, but what’s actually happening most of the time is that the patient forgot.
Whose fault is it when the patient forgets to show up for an appointment? Blame can sometimes be placed on both parties. However, it’s often because they didn’t have a sufficient reminder at the right time.
One of the best ways to both fix and avoid this mistake is to optimize your scheduling software to send out automated text reminders.
What’s even better is that these text reminders can read and write to your EMR, which gives you the ability to confirm an appointment. If the patient ends up cancelling, you can capture and report their reason for cancellation and offer them open appointments to reschedule.
3. Over-Booking Appointments
This is one of the biggest mistakes that health systems make. When schedules aren’t managed properly, it can be easy to overbook appointments.
Overbooking isn’t ideal for anyone – provider or patient. To avoid this mistake, medical scheduling software can help organize your providers’ busy schedules.
4. Entering Inaccurate Information
Health systems are busy. This means office staff may sometimes have to multitask while working with a patient. When this happens, it’s easy to make mistakes and enter inaccurate information into the computer.
Another common mistake is relaying the wrong information to the patient while multitasking. Your staff might type in the wrong health concerns while speaking to patient #1 and then write down the wrong appointment date for patient #2.
5. Not Using a Scheduling Software
To wrap it all up, ultimately the biggest mistake a healthcare organization can make is to not make use of automated scheduling software. Not only can AI software streamline the scheduling process for patients, but it can also optimize the efficiency of staff time.
With medical office scheduling, patients can easily remember, cancel, book, and reschedule appointments. If appointments are bumped, scheduling software can be automated to give the patient an option for rescheduling – right from their phone.
Why You Need Medical Appointment Scheduling Software
While the satisfaction of patients is a top concern for healthcare organizations, it’s important to ensure the happiness of your providers as well. The better they’re taken care of, the better the service and care they can offer to all patients.
This is why a medical scheduling service is essential to the success of your organization. It can not only streamline the patient’s experience, but it can also ensure that providers aren’t overworked or overlooked.
Manages Your Provider’s Time Well
Unscheduled Provider Capacity is when your provider is available to see a patient, but there is no visit scheduled. These empty spaces mean wasted resources instead of revenue.
At the same time, a provider will feel overworked when they are constantly being booked for the most persistent and conflicting assignments. To manage a healthy balance between patient assignments, scheduling software can use AI to distribute appointments out fairly.
Your providers will feel that their time is being utilized well. They also won’t feel overlooked or overworked by an ill-managed schedule.
Takes Less Time out of Your Patient’s Day
No one likes wasted time. This is especially true for today’s busy patients. When they go to schedule an appointment, they expect to be seen as soon as possible and not have to deal with excessively long wait until their appointment.
But with all busy organizations, the overlapping schedules can often result in mistakes and stress. This is why automated health care scheduling is vital to the health of any organization. It removes pressure from staff while improving the patient experience.
Patients can schedule the right type of appointments faster than ever. They can also receive reminders in a way that fits in with their hectic schedules. If they need to reschedule or want to be seen sooner, all solutions are accessible from their phones.
What does this mean for both patients and medical staff? There’s less to worry about and more time available to spend the way you want to.
Streamlined Scheduling for Medical Providers
Even if your healthcare organization has been around for generations, transitioning to a modern scheduling software doesn’t have to be scary. The best aspect of a medical appointment scheduling software is that it’s easy to implement and use.
Most medical teams will experience common mistakes like overbooking or constant no-shows. But the good news is that automated scheduling software helps streamline the scheduling process while making it easier for staff to manage.
QueueDr is Here to Help
Is your organization ready to make a change? Last year alone, automation helped our clients save 102,991 hours of administrative time while improving patient access and physician utilization.
Request a demo of QueueDr today to see how we fill missed appointments, reduce patient no-shows, and increase patient access.