You know your practice needs an online scheduling system.
But do you know which one is best for you?
Did you know?
- In 2007, about 35% of patients said they could not get an appointment soon enough — up from 23% in 1997…
- By the end of 2019, 66% of US health systems will offer digital self-scheduling and 64% of patients will book appointments digitally.
- Non-attendance rates for online appointments were much lower (6.9%) than non-attendance rates at dermatology clinics through traditional means.
The success of your practice depends on scheduling appointments – and on managing them efficiently. That’s why the old “receptionist/pen/appointment book” scheduling method doesn’t quite cut it anymore. But lucky for you, healthcare has recently met digital media – producing a whole range of patient communication tools and appointment scheduling systems to help you improve your office procedures.
Keep in mind though, it’s a relatively new space and there are literally hundreds of software providers out there promising to automate everything from scheduling to coffee making. So how are you supposed to know which online scheduling system offers the right features for your practice? Here are 7 things you should look out for to help you decide:
- Know what you want – Break down in detail the specific areas where you want this solution to help your practice. Many of the different solutions have similar features, but nearly all of them specialize in certain areas. Determine which features are absolute must-haves and which are nice-to-haves. Just like with any investment, it’s important to be clear on the goals before you dive in.
- Check for reliability – Before you sign on the dotted line, you want to test-drive the system. Therefore, choose a provider that offers a free trial that will give you enough training and time to test the waters. You want to get hands-on experience with the software’s features and functionality and make sure that it delivers consistent performance over time.
- Make sure it’s user-friendly – Does your staff need a doctorate in software engineering to use the system? Do your patients need to be tech-savvy? Does the system work with all platforms and get the job done with as few clicks as possible? An appointment scheduling software should be designed for simplicity and ease of use, because if it’s simple, people will use it.
- Choose only a Web-based software – If it’s not available online – and accessible to your staff and patients wherever they may be – then it doesn’t serve your intended purpose of having patients schedule their own appointments or your employees processing them efficiently. Nuf said.
- Look for security protocols – Appointment scheduling systems may give you convenience, but they also bring into focus privacy and confidentiality issues. Make sure the system is HIPAA compliant, and that it can safely store your patients’ personal information, including financial data if applicable.
- Seek calendar manageability – Will the system let you have total control? For example, will you be able to manipulate provider availability and procedure details hassle-free? At the same time, will the calendar be tamper-proof, with features that will mitigate scheduling errors and prevent appointments from falling through the cracks?
- Test customer support – Accurate and efficient appointment scheduling is critical to your practice. And investing in a software provider is serious business that demands nothing less than top-of-the-line customer service. Select the provider that can give you high-level technical and other support from software setup to post-sale service.
So do your homework.
If you want a good place to start, check out Patient Communicator’s Online Scheduler and what it can do for your practice – risk-free! Or contact us for a live online demo or to get started on a 30-day free trial.
Patient Communicator provides a first-in-class online scheduling and automated messaging solution especially designed for medical and dental practitioners. A win-win system for both your patients and your practice, its sophisticated features include Automated Confirmations & Reminders, True 2-Way Texting, Online Scheduler, Reviews & Surveys, and Marketing Tools. The solution drastically reduces no-shows, makes it easier for patients to book appointments, and for providers to build stronger relationships with their patients, and grow their practice.
About the author: Meir is the founder and CEO of Patient Communicator, a simple but feature rich platform that helps medical and dental practices of all kinds to better communicate with their patients. Meir is passionate about helping practices grow by enhancing the patient experience and improving practice efficiency. Learn more about Meir and Patient Communicator here.