What Is Patient Scheduling Software?
Patient scheduling software is a necessary tool for any healthcare organization focused on patient-centered care. Offering multiple user interfaces, integrating with patient health data, streamlining appointment reminders, and reducing calendar errors are key elements of high-performing patient scheduling software options. Healthcare organizations face growing clinical and administrative tasks and must find opportunities to streamline operations to deliver patient-centered, effective care. Patient scheduling software allows the operational and administrative processes in healthcare settings to operate smoothly and efficiently without interruption.
Administrative tasks like managing appointments, patient admissions, and billing and claims processing are critical to operations but can be time-consuming and complex. Scheduling software simplifies administrative tasks, reduces staff time needed to support these processes, and improves overall efficiencies.
Patient scheduling software integrates with healthcare CRM solutions and automations and serves as a communication channel for providers, administrative staff, and patients. Patient scheduling software has transformed historical appointment scheduling, patient registration, and billing and claims processes, improving the patient experience and reducing the staff resources needed.
Features a patient scheduling software should have
While there are many patient scheduling software solutions, the best choices for healthcare organizations should have a few features in common. An easy-to-use interface, sophisticated data integration capability, multi-user and provider scheduling options, built-in reminders and notifications, and two-way synchronization should all be included.
User interface customized for the person accessing the software is essential. Multiple interfaces within a patient scheduling software solution ensure the user can seamlessly navigate the tool, provides a good user experience, and makes the scheduling process more convenient.
Within a patient scheduling tool, offering patients the ability to choose a “booking option” allows a patient to select the appropriate appointment type. Whether a patient is scheduling an annual well-visit, a check-up for a chronic condition, or an urgent sick visit, this functionality lets the patient know they’re scheduling an appointment that will meet their needs. The booking option also provides additional information to the clinical and administrative staff so they can plan with clear insight into the patient’s needs and purpose for the visit.
Customized experiences for clinicians, administrative staff, and patients make certain that all users experience the benefit of an easy-to-navigate user interface and that the healthcare organization is able to deliver streamlined, patient-centered care.
Electronic health records (EHR) are essential to a healthcare organization’s operations. Any patient scheduling software must integrate with an organization’s EHR. Connecting patient scheduling software and the EHR streamlines office scheduling and cancellation practices. It provides additional context for a patient’s contact information, health status, and recent updates to the medical record.
Healthcare organizations focused on delivering patient-centered care are served by having a comprehensive view of the patient at their fingertips – ensuring that scheduling software and EHRs operate in sync makes it easier to provide this level of care.
Multi-user / provider scheduling
Most healthcare organizations and provider practices have multi-specialty teams and multiple providers within one office. The patient scheduling software an office selects should be agile and offer the flexibility to schedule for all providers within one module. Patients often see multiple providers within a practice and may need to switch providers based on appointment type or available times.
A well-designed user interface should offer the ability for patients, administrative staff, and clinicians all to be able to navigate multiple providers, schedules, and appointment types within the software.
Reminders and notifications
While streamlining the administrative and operational processes within a practice is an important benefit of patient scheduling software, the impact on reducing ‘no shows’ and canceled appointments is the most significant opportunity for healthcare organizations. Patient scheduling software can offer patient reminder and notification options using the modality patients prefer – whether by email, text message, or automated phone call. Healthcare organizations can lose significant revenue through missed appointments and cancellations.
With automated patient scheduling software, patients are reminded of appointments, can reschedule appointments, and are automatically engaged when an appointment is canceled and not rescheduled. Clinicians and administrative teams can use patient scheduling software and automations to provide high-quality individual care and meet overall population health outcome goals.
The right patient scheduling software should seamlessly sync with the clinician’s and patient’s calendars to avoid double bookings or errors. Patients using an appointment scheduling platform benefit from the ability to import appointment information directly into their calendars, resulting in fewer missed appointments.
Clinicians have busy calendars, and software must integrate into their scheduling tools to efficiently manage and plan their schedule and avoid double bookings.
Benefits of patient scheduling software
Patient scheduling software can play an important role in streamlining a healthcare organization’s administrative and operational processes, especially when it includes the above mentioned components. What benefits can the successful implementation and use of patient scheduling software offer healthcare organizations?
Improved patient satisfaction
A self-driven appointment booking process offers patients autonomy and flexibility in managing their care. Patients can easily book appointments from anywhere and choose times, providers, and appointment types that meet their needs. Patient scheduling software can also reduce appointment waiting times and help patients manage their schedules more effectively. Appointment reminders and easy-to-access appointment rescheduling options increase patient engagement and awareness of upcoming appointments. This customized, patient-centered approach improves the overall quality of the patient experience, resulting in improved patient satisfaction.
Improved staff satisfaction
Clinical and administrative staff also benefit from the convenience of patient scheduling software. Self-scheduling software enhances efficiency in administrative and operational tasks in a healthcare organization and reduces staff time needed to manage patient appointments and provider schedules.
Patient scheduling software also reduces the pressure on staff, allowing clinical and administrative staff more time to engage with care team colleagues and patients. There is evidence to support that patient scheduling software also decreases the occurrence of no-shows and call volumes. It also allows providers to exercise control over their calendars, gives administrative staff clearer insight into clinician availability, and provides more opportunities to engage with patients needing more support to manage their care and appointments.
An automated and streamlined patient scheduling system lowers costs on certain administrative processes and time-intensive scheduling tasks. Automated reminders and appointment modification options reduce the number of no-shows and cancellations.
Healthcare organizations can minimize lost revenue due to missed appointments and reduce overall healthcare costs by ensuring continuity of care.
Historically, scheduling processes could be extremely time and resource-intensive, requiring multiple staff to navigate patient and clinician scheduling. Integrated patient scheduling software streamlines the administrative and operational functions of scheduling and frees up administrative and clinical staff to focus on more critical tasks and urgent cases.
Centralized information within a patient scheduling software system allows clinicians and administrative staff to have a comprehensive view of each patient and even allows for more patient-centered engagement. Clinicians and administrative staff are provided with the information and resources they need to support patients, secure access to care, and promote good health outcomes and patient experience.
How does Welkin support patient scheduling?
Welkin Health’s unified care management platform allows healthcare organizations to bring their care delivery strategy to life. Welkin has a built-in calendar that allows you to schedule patient visits, encounters, or non-patient events, like trainings. Multi-user views show team availability and ensure shift coverage.
Welkin is fully customizable and supports healthcare teams by integrating tools and APIs to deliver whole-person, patient-centered care. Welkin supports custom-built integrations with scheduling software like Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar, and Acuity Scheduling.
Welkin’s capabilities and integrations make streamlined care coordination across clinical teams possible. Welkin offers unique features to help log every encounter, provide synchronized care, and deploy scheduling strategies customized to each patient. Welkin allows healthcare organizations to schedule and track a variety of encounters, including individual appointments, group sessions, and recurring appointments.
Patient scheduling software is necessary for any healthcare organization focused on patient-centered care. Easy-to-navigate user interfaces, seamless data integration, multi-provider scheduling capacity, automated reminders and notifications, and two-way calendar synchronization are all essential features of a highly-customized and high-impact patient scheduling software.
A robust scheduling tool allows clinical and administrative staff to reduce the time spent on easily automated tasks and invest more time in patient-centric tasks. The time saved on scheduling reduces costs, improves staff productivity and satisfaction, and contributes to better patient experience and satisfaction.
Scheduling patients should be a seamless process. Learn more about how Welkin can help streamline your processes for scheduling and patient encounters.